A perfect zip every time

 Although I have been sewing for something like a quarter of a century (aggh!), I still feel pretty unqualified to give sewing advice. However, I passed on a tip about how to insert a zip the other night at my patternmaking class that everyone thought was really handy, so I thought I would share it with you.
The pictures below are all of the skirt that I made for the first “block” in the patternmaking class, just a basic straight skirt with a zip in the centre back. Here’s how I inserted the zip.

1. Sew the centre back seam using the longest stitch on the machine until you get to where the end of the zip will be (I’ve used white thread so you can see this). Leave a long thread to finish off this seam. Sew a new seam down to the hem, using normal stitch length. 

2. Press open the centre back seam (you can see the white thread coming out to the side from under the seam, showing you where the zip would finish).

 3. Pin the zip so it is lying directly under the centre back seam. The pinning should be done from the outside.

 This shows you how the zip lies under the seam on the inside of the garment (ie the wrong side of the skirt). You can see the underside of the pins too of course.

 4. Using the zipper foot, sew the zip on from the right side of the garment. You can hardly see anything in this photo – but that’s as it should be! You might just be able to see the white stitches at the very top of the seam.

 5. Pull the long stitches (ie the white thread) out using an unpicker.

 Ta da! That’s all! This is how it will look when it’s open…

 … and closed. It’s only slightly wrinkly at the centre because I was opening it out a bit to show you. Otherwise, it’s pretty much perfect, if I do say so myself!

 My grandma’s friend taught me this technique and it is probably the handiest thing I have ever learned in all my sewing years – it guarantees a perfect, practically invisible, neat zip every time. ACTUAL “invisible zips”, on the other hand, send me into a panic. Anyone got an easy tutorial on them?