How I Learned to Sew Zippers

Well, I did it! I learned how to sew zippers. It was a BIG accomplishment for me because for whatever reason I felt like it was going to be difficult. Just goes to show sometimes you just have to do it! Honestly, I have been able to sew buttons (not very well) for a while now. If I had known that sewing zippers were going to be easier than sewing buttons, I would have started with them a long time ago!

For me personally, I have just submerged myself into patterns that interest me and, therefore, I have been learning new skills throughout each project I complete.  So, if you are here for all my zipper info, then scroll on down to that section, but if you are interested in learning about the whole dress, then start right here!  


I adore the patterns at Violet Field Threads because they are all so beautiful. I joined in with their Sew-A-Long community to complete this Reese in January. The Reese has a retro feel that brings a smile to my face. You can make it into a dress or a top.  It includes a half circle skirt and three different sleeve options, flounce short sleeve, 3/4 length bell sleeve, and long bell sleeve.  The Reese pattern uses a zipper closure. DO NOT be scared. It may have taken me a few days of watching videos and reading tutorials to work up the nerve to sew the zipper on; however; I was able to do it with ZERO issues.

Keep in mind: I am here to help you with your journey by sharing some tips, advice, and tutorials that helped me learn so much along the way.  My sewing is not perfect yet, but my skills are a continuous work in progress and get better every day.  I am enjoying the process so very much.  My products will only improve the more I practice, right?


For starters, if you haven’t joined The VFT Gathering Place: {Sew-A-Long} Central group yet, you really should! You can still go back and check out the albums even though this sew-a-long is over. The albums contain a lot of valuable information. FYI: I  am not an affiliate for them, so this is an honest review of their patterns from a newbie sewer. I have learned so much from the women in that group who have many years of experience! 

Disclosure: Keep in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a small commission. I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The choice is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is entirely up to you.

Sew Many Pins is also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This post contains affiliate links.

 What Will You Need? 

Well,  purchase the dress pattern of course.  You can find the Reese pattern here. Read over the directions several times, and write down the amount of fabric you will need based upon the size you are making (all of those directions are in the tutorial). Also, jot down any other notions/materials you will need, and take it with you when you shop. Stumped? Check out these posts:

The Best Sewing Supplies for Beginners
The Most Important Sewing Supplies for Beginners
The Perfect Dress Patterns for Girls
The Perfect Dress Patterns for Girls

Measuring Your Child

Measuring your little lady is key to getting the absolute best fit. You can even mix different sizes if you feel that will be best. Violet Field Threads have a video that shows the best way to measure your child. They also have a beautiful printable on their website for keeping all your child’s measurements organized.

P.S. Violet Field Threads offers a lot of getting started video tutorials on their website and YouTube channel. Check them out, because you may find answers to many of your questions there.

Preparing the Pattern

Print out the pattern pieces, tape together, and cut out the size you are going to make. Save some money and ink by following along with colorful instructions on your computer, tablet, or phone, rather than printing out all the pages.

Fabric and Notions

There are endless possibilities for which material to use for this dress. I used two different cotton woven fabrics. They have been the easiest for me while I learn to sew.

Main Fabric

The main fabric I used is from Free Spirit Fabrics, and it is called Fairy Garden – Primrose by David Walker. I found it on Etsy! 

I also found a very colorful version of this fabric here! Check it out, because it is super cute, and I think I love it even more than the one I used.

The Lining

The lining fabric was from a polka dot pillowcase I found on clearance somewhere along the way.  It is bright pink with white polka dots. It is adorable and matched the main fabric so well.

Here are some more great places to buy fabric:

  2. JOANN Fabric & Craft Stores
  3. Hobby Lobby

2. Thread

Violet Field Threads suggest using this thread: Aurifil Cotton 40W Thread in a coordinating color  You can find a large variety of it here! 

Of course, there are plenty of options out there. I used this thread.  Remember to match the appropriate color thread to your fabric.  I used a light pink for the whole project.

3. Zipper 

I used a 9″ light pink zipper from JoAnn Fabric. 

Keep scrolling for tips on how to sew it!

Tracing and Cutting Out the Fabric

Wash and iron your fabric before anything else. Yes, you should prewash!

After your fabric is clean and pressed, you will want to make sure your fabric is straight.  The wrong cut can change the way your fabric drapes among other fit issues. Check out this post on how to prepare your fabric for cutting. 

Once you do this, you are ready to trace and cut out your fabric. Follow the instructions that came with your pattern.

Follow the Detailed Instructions

*Here are some tips and tricks I learned along the way.

Take your time and follow each step one by one.  Also, if you are a member of The VFT Gathering Place: {Sew-A-Long} Central group (and you should be), then please go into the albums and you will find videos and even more information on sewing the Reese. These women have SO many great tips!

Sleeves: There are three different sleeve options for Reese: flounce short sleeve, 3/4 length bell sleeve, and long bell sleeve.  I used a flounce and ended up lining the sleeves so that the pink with white polka dots peaked through the dress. Free Projects, Tutorials and Webinars 


So, here is the part that most of you are probably waiting to read!

Please know that there are several types of zippers and a few different ways to sew each of them. I created a hidden zipper (which is not the same as an invisible zipper).  Although, I do think that an invisible zipper would look very pretty on the back.  My hidden zipper peaked through just a tiny bit.

I watched a bunch of videos and read a lot of tutorials. You can click on the link to see all the pins I saved to my Pinterest Board: How to Sew Zippers.

Zipper Foot

How much do you know about a zipper foot? I didn’t know anything until I watched this video. It is the same zipper foot that came with my machine. It seems to be quite a handy little tool and will be great when I want to try out piping or sewing other bulky trim.

Back to Sewing the Zipper

I followed step 36 in the Reese pattern to prepare for zipper insertion, but I changed up the directions for step 37. Sound confusing? I promise you it is not. The directions in this video helped me so much. It made it incredibly simple to insert my zipper (I used the second option in the video).  The finished zipper also looked so lovely.

First, I marked the spot where the zipper would end. Then, I sewed a regular stitch using the given seam allowance starting at the bottom skirt and stopped when I reached the pin. Next, I went over the pin and continued up to the top of the dress with a basting stitch.  After that, I ironed the seam allowance open. Once that was done,  the zipper was sewn right on top of where I put that basting stitch (the video will help explain that).

Another Zipper Tip

Instead of using pins to make sure my zipper was placed perfectly centered, I used Wonder Tape to help keep it in place as well. This helped me so much as my zipper did not move at all. The outcome was a cleanly sewn zipper on the back of my daughter’s dress. I seriously cannot wait to sew another one!

Here she is in her “pretty new dress!” She was such a ham while I took pictures of her.

I KNOW you can do this too and I cannot wait to create SEW Many More amazing things with you!


Well, I did it! I learned how to sew zippers. It was a BIG accomplishment for me because for whatever reason I felt like it was going to be too difficult. Just goes to show sometimes you just have to do it! Honestly, I have been able to sew buttons (not very well) for a while now. If I had known that sewing zippers were going to be easier than sewing buttons, I would have started with them a long time ago!

2 thoughts on “How I Learned to Sew Zippers

  1. Good for you. I’m not super experienced with sewing clothes. Somehow quilts seems easier to me. 🙂 I want my daughter t learn though, so I’m going to have to get brave one of these days. 😉

    Visiting from Sew it, cook it, craft it.


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