Keeping it Simple: Zippers {Melly Sews}

Friday, March 8, 2013

Zippers {Melly Sews}

how to sew in zippers by Melly Sews

 Hello Keeping it Simple readers! Today we're going to talk zippers and how to install them. I know many new to sewing are scared of zippers and buttons, but there's really nothing to be scared of! Tools: Two tools I find indispensable for zipper installation are my seam ripper and Scotch tape. Surprised? Keep reading.
  how to sew in zippers by Melly Sews

You'll also need a zipper foot for your machine. Most new machines come with one - the zipper foot is on the right in the picture below, and the regular foot is on the left. You'll notice that instead of two "toes" it only has one, and it has a slider so that you can position the needle on either side of the foot. This is so that you can have the needle stitching right next to the zipper teeth without the foot getting in the way.
  how to sew in zippers by Melly Sews

On Seam Application This is how I install my zippers 90% of the time. Start by sewing the seam you're going to put the zipper in with a basting stitch. Backstitch at the bottom of the zipper length, and then continue stitching the seam with a regular stitch length.
  how to sew in zippers by Melly Sews

Pres your seam open flat.
  how to sew in zippers by Melly Sews

Lay the zipper face down over the seam, lining the teeth up with the seamline.
  how to sew in zippers by Melly Sews

Use a few pieces of scotch tape (no more than 1 every 4 inches or so) to hold the zipper in place.
  how to sew in zippers by Melly Sews

Carefully turn your fabric right side up and stitch 1/4" away from the seam down one side, stop with the needle in, turn, stitch across the bottom of the zipper just above the zipper stop (you may want to mark this with a pin) and then stop and pivot again, then sew up the other side. Don't worry about the top part of the zipper where the pull makes it hard to keep your stitching straight - we'll get to that in a minute.
  how to sew in zippers by Melly Sews

Remove your tape.
  how to sew in zippers by Melly Sews

Use your seam ripper to remove the basting stitches.
  how to sew in zippers by Melly SewsUnzip your zipper and pin the top part of the zipper tape to the fabric, keeping the seams folded under.
  how to sew in zippers by Melly Sews

Stitch the top part of the zipper to the fabric.
  how to sew in zippers by Melly Sews

You're done! That wasn't so hard, was it? Front side:
  how to sew in zippers by Melly Sews

Back side:
  how to sew in zippers by Melly Sews

Lapped Application If you want to get all fancy, then you can do a lapped application. Warning - this won't work with less than a 5/8" seam allowance. Sew your seam as you did for the on seam application, basting, backstitching, then regular stitch length below the zipper. Then press one seam allowance out and the other flat, as shown below.
  how to sew in zippers by Melly Sews

Lay your zipper face down, with the teeth just to the right of the seam line. Stitch the zipper tape to the seam allowance that's sticking out - on the right in the picture below. This is just a basting stitch and won't be seen later, so it's OK to curve your stitching around the zipper pull.
  how to sew in zippers by Melly Sews

Tuck the zipper under, so it is face up and the seam allowance folds right next to the teeth. Stitch the seam allowance and zipper tape together right next to the teeth. If you need to, you can unzip the zipper to sew the part next to the pull, then stop with your needle down and zip up the zipper (you may have to raise the foot to do this) then continue stitching.
  how to sew in zippers by Melly Sewshow to sew in zippers by Melly Sews

Press the seam flat. With right side up, sew down the unsewn edge of the zipper, securing it to the fabric and other seam allowance, then pivot and stitch to the seamline. Backstitch here.
  how to sew in zippers by Melly Sews

Remove basting stitches and reveal your lapped zipper!
  how to sew in zippers by Melly Sewshow to sew in zippers by Melly Sews Keeping It Simple

6 comments:

Suzanne Winter said...

I never thought of using tape - GENIUS!!!!

Beverly said...

Thank you, Melissa! I was taught how to put in a basic zipper, so I am usually okay with that (although I like your tip with the tape!) But I recently made a skirt for my daughter from a commercial pattern and I couldn't figure out how it was telling me to put in the zipper. Finally, I gave up doing it their way and just put it in the regular way, which was fine. I realized later that the instructions were for a lapped zipper, but made no sense to me. Your explanation for the lapped zipper made the light bulb go on! It makes perfect sense to me now! Thanks!

Emilia said...

Your instructions are always so clear! Thanks bunches!

Rhondda Mol said...

Thank you so much!

nest full of eggs said...

I like your Scotch tape idea !!!

Thanks for sharing :)

jaetomk said...

Thanks for sharing. Such a great technique and as a result I finally finished a skirt project that had been waiting on a zipper! Jaie :)