During sprouting angiogenesis in the vertebrate vascular system, and primary branching in the Drosophila tracheal system, specialized tip cells direct branch outgrowth and network formation. When tip cells lumenize, they form subcellular (seamless) tubes. How these seamless tubes are made, shaped and maintained remains poorly understood. Here we characterize a Drosophila mutant called ichor (ich), and show that ich is essential for the integrity and shape of seamless tubes in tracheal terminal cells. We find that Ich regulates seamless tubulogenesis via its role in promoting the formation of a mature apical extracellular matrix (aECM) lining the lumen of the seamless tubes. We determined that ich encodes a zinc finger protein (CG11966) that acts, as a transcriptional activator required for the expression of multiple aECM factors, including a novel membrane-anchored trypsin protease (CG8213). Thus, the integrity and shape of seamless tubes are regulated by the aECM that lines their lumens.