Doll zippers may be the perfect garment fasteners for many small doll clothes, such as for Barbie and Fashion Royalty. They are also great for 16-inch dolls such as Gene, Tyler, and Alex.
You can use tiny snaps or hooks and eyes to fasten doll clothes, but small doll zippers are a nice addition to your sewing notions. Tiny zippers for dolls are available that come in sizes beginning with 4-inches and up. If you buy the 12-inch doll zippers, you can cut them down and have three to five separate zippers. Of course, you will have to order some extra zipper pulls when you order your zipper in order to do that.
For 16-inches and up, you can also use invisible zippers. They are sewn into a seam in such a way that they don’t look like a zipper from the outside—just a regular seam. So they are totally invisible! And since they don’t show, they are perfect for dolls. Get the smallest size available—about 7 inches—that will be more than adequate. I find they work best in larger dolls, starting with about the 16- to 17-inch size. They tend to be stiffer than dedicated doll zippers. But if it is hard to get supplies for doll sewing, I've made good use of these regular size zippers.
Invisible zippers require a special sewing machine foot. You can buy one at any sewing store. They come in a kit, with adaptations to fit any sewing machine - just follow the directions to adapt it to your machine. Instructions to apply the zipper are on the foot package—just follow the instructions to apply the zipper to your doll’s dress.
These days, many newer computerized sewing machines come with a dedicated invisible zipper foot just for sewing in invisible zippers. But if your sewing machine does not have a dedicated invisible zipper foot and you would like one for your machine, it is still possible to find one at any place that sells attachments for your sewing machine. Just check to be sure that the foot will fit on your exact sewing machine before you order.
Doll zipper application is similar to applying a zipper to human clothes, just smaller. Sew the seam closed with a basting stitch on your sewing machine. I would strongly suggest you hand baste the zipper in place before sewing the final stitches on your machine! Just pinning will give you a sloppy seam. Plus basting will make it much easier to apply the zipper in such a small scale. Unpick the machine basting you used to close the seam and there ya go - your zipper is in. I like to put a hook and thread look at the top to keep the zipper closed. And it looks more professional!
For invisible zippers, as I said, follow the directions on the package. You usually apply these types of zippers with the seam open. The specialized foot guides the zipper tape along the seam line. I find this type of zipper very easy to apply and it looks so nice, since you can't even see there is a zipper on the outside of the garment.