zipper mania in full effect! after years of avoiding zippers at all cost, i finally braved it and sewed my very first zipper a few days ago. the first one was a test run. a simple centered zipper. i looked at instructions online and in a book and went for it only to find, that it's ridiculously easy, just takes some care, preparation and i guess, guts.
the next day i felt ill prepared but motivated for the big performance. birthday present for my cousin who had asked for a pencil case. i followed this wonderful tutorial and was extremely pleased with the result. but i did make a few mistakes that i could've prevented if i were more the type who reads directions well and maybe if the tutorial had focused a little more on the zipper part.
so here's my addition. the pictures are unfortunately not the most beautiful because late night lighting in this room is difficult. hope they'll do the job though.
~two cuts of fabric of equal width each of the outer fabric and the lining, so four cuts total
~zipper at least a few inches longer than your fabric cuts are wide
~masking tape (not a must have, but i find it to be helpful)
~seam ripper (also not a must)
~sewing machine with a zipper foot
1. take your lining fabric and baste (using the longest straight stitch) the seam where your zipper will be installed. i sew at 3/4". you'll rip this seam open again in the end, that's why you're using the long stitch.
2. press seam allowance in lining open.
3. fold over and press seam allowance on both pieces of outer fabric on the side which will hold the zipper.
4. place closed zipper on lining fabric. the middle of the zipper should line up on your seam.
you should be looking at the wrong side of the fabric but the right side of the zipper. make sure you have a good couple inches between the zipper's pull and your fabric.
if you're using a recycled zipper, secure the top with a safety pin to keep the zipper pull from falling off while you're working on it.
5. masking tape! woo hoo! use it instead of pins to keep the zipper in place on your lining.
try not to get the tape too close to the zipper as it's preferable not to sew through the tape. easier cleanup. ;)
6. you're still looking at wrong side of lining and right side of zipper. now place the folded edges of your outer fabric along both sides of the zipper and pin in place.
i'm a sloppy pinner and you'll see further down, that my fabric moved too much on this project. what can i say, i was in a hurry and i really hate pinning. if you need this to be neat, use LOTS of pins. and pin them perpendicular to the seam. that helps, too.
7. with your machines zipper foot, sew along the zipper starting at the side with the zipper pull. (switch stitch length back to regular if you haven't done so already.)
now, i made the stupid mistake of sewing too close to the zipper on my second zipper project. not a good idea, especially if you're using a bulky zipper. i couldn't get the dang thing to open in the end, had to rip it all apart and do it over which took at least half an hour. learned my lesson though.
so make sure you give the zipper pull lots of space to easily move, but stay close enough to keep it looking clean and sturdy. how far away you should be really depends on how bulky both the zipper and pull are.
8. when you come to the end, just turn the fabric 90 degrees , stitch across the zipper, turn again and stitch down the other side until you reach the end. do NOT stitch across the zipper at the pull's end.
here's what it should look like. no really, it shouldn't look like this. your fabric ends are probably neatly matched because you're not a lazy slop like me.
9. open the zipper a few inches. feeling accomplished yet? i know it's exciting! but you're not done yet...
10. now that the pull is within the area you'd like zipped, stitch across the zippers end to secure it all.
11. turn it over and carefully rip open the seam in the lining without damaging the stitches at both ends of the zipper.
12. remove the masking tape from between your layers, stick it on your ripped seam to quickly pull up all those yucky little thread bits which could get your zipper stuck later on.
taaaah-daaaaaaaaaaah!! you did it! right?