Yes, it is possible to put in a zipper without too much angst, and it's possible to finish with great results.
I can help you out with the first two of these... the foot is up to you.
People often ask what they're doing wrong, that they can't get a sharp finish on their zippers. Having seen lots of machines and presser feet in action, and having demonstrated zippers on other people's machines in classes, I've come to the conclusion that the style of zipper foot is a big player.
You see this style of snap-on zipper foot...?
Especially when making bags, with all their enclosed spaces, bulky fabrics and bulky zips, that big lump on the back of the foot just gets in the way and causes trouble.
The two pictures above are current model generic zipper feet, and are available in long or short shank fittings. These particular ones are from Sew Much Easier (a YOU SEW GIRL stockist).
The two pictures below are from my 1980's model Singer and my 1960's model Janome machine. They both fit current model Janome, Singer and Brother machines. Check any old machines you have about the place, you might just have one!
The foot can slide either side of the needle so that you can sew as close to the edge of the zipper as you like. They're also good for sewing piping and getting close to other lumpy things that might be on your fabric (magnetic catches, beads and whatnot).
This is another adjustable zipper foot that I have. It's a snap-on for another 1960's Singer machine of mine.
Really, it doesn't matter how your machine handles the arrangement between needle, foot and zipper, as long as the effect is that you can always sew as close to any sort of obstruction as you like, without a great big lump of presser-foot getting in the way.
Sort that bit out, and you're a third of the way to better zippers!
Now... for the good instructions, tips and hints, we have the newly-revised extended-dance-mix version of my old Coin Purse Kit .... I've added lots of extra full-colour photos to completely explain the whole process and I've tweaked the instructions substantially. Best of all, it's now a PDF that you can find HERE and download immediately.
I use these little purses as my go-to gift for kinder and schoolteachers (and for staff Christmas presents one year), combined with inkjet fabric and my girl's artwork. They're always a hit!