Monday, March 4, 2013

Zip It! Lesson I


Zip it!
Riley Blake Designs ' Chevron Laminate Cotton

Have you ever been terrified by a zipper??  Ever found yourself using velcro, buttons, snaps, duct tape, anything to avoid having to install a zipper?

I have to admit, there was a time when I felt mocked by a zipper's little teeth and sticky-outie-tongue, but there is really nothing to fear.  The snarly little beast can be tamed with a couple of slick tricks and little practice.

Zip It!Zip it

Class:  EASY ZIPPER INSTALLATION (Exposed Zippers) for Riley Blake Designs' Cutting Corners.


Supply List:
* 7" polyester zipper (or two)
* 2 @ 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" rectangles of fabric (I used laminate, but any fabric will work!)
* Fabric for pocket lining (optional)
* Zipper Foot for your sewing machine
* Glue Stick (optional)
* 48" Shoelace

If you have never sewn with laminate fabric, here are some TIPS.
With right sides together (zipper face down; fabric right side up), center and align the edge of the zipper tape with the short edge of one 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" rectangle of fabric as pictured; Pin.  You could use binder clips in place of pins.

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The zipper should extend beyond the length of the fabric, making it easier to get the zipper where you want it without having to deal with the zipper hardware.

Stitch to baste in place.  If necessary, serge or zig-zag stitch to keep the fabric edges from fraying.  The laminate cotton doesn't fray, so I was in good shape.

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Once that step is complete, flip the fabric back and fold right along the edge of the zipper teeth; pin into place.  You can press laminate fabric, just be sure to use a press cloth.

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Using your zipper foot, edge-stitch about 1/8" from the teeth.

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Repeat the same steps on the opposite side.  Unzip to top-stitch if necessary.

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See how easy that was, with the zipper hardware out of the way?

Secure the ends of the zipper by stitching carefully with a couple of zig-zag stitches for new top and bottom stops, making sure the zipper pull is un-zipped and lies within the bag.  Then trim off excess zipper ends.

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I wanted to add a side pocket, so here's how to install a zipper without stitching into a seam. I use this method mostly for pockets:

Mark a line where you'd like your zipper, then stitch a rectangle slightly larger than the width of zipper teeth, about 3/8" x length desired.

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Clip center line and clip "Y" to corners as pictured.

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Press under to form opening along stitched edges.  Use a glue stick to keep in place if necessary.  Center zipper, pin, and TOP-STITCH along the edges through all the layers.

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You may need to stop and scoot the zipper pull out of your way as you stitch.  Backstitch carefully over zipper coils at each end.

To create a pocket, stitch another layer of fabric to the top edge of zipper tape.  Since this pouch is so small, the edges can be stitched into the side seams to finish the pouch construction.

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Pin shoelace ends into place.  
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Push the shoelace out through the top zipper opening and trim edges even.  Pin right sides together.   Be sure to leave your top zipper open for turning!

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Stitch three sides, backstitching at the shoelace straps, and stitching carefully over the zipper coils.  Zig-Zag or serge raw edges to finish.

Turn pouch right side out and use a dull chop stick to push out the corners.  Trim shoelace ends and add a nice zipper pull or ribbon to finish.

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Ready to stow your checkbook, coin purse, cell phone, sunglasses, etc.; sling over one shoulder and go.

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Here's a sample of a decorative zipper with exposed teeth.  Larger plastic teeth/coils would make it difficult to trim off, so it's necessary to use the exact size zipper. Adds just the right touch, don't you think?

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Laminate Sewing Kit ~ I'll be teaching this at Fabric Fest  
(It's one of the FREE Make & Take projects included with your registration!)

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I also like the look of a zipper with the tape exposed too.  Yeah, that's me, Halloween, 1999.  Feelin' groovy in an old polyester dress made in the 1970s.  And yeah, it was a metal separating zipper that ran the whole length of the dress.  Stylish!

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I have to admit, it took me back the other day at a little fashion show when I saw the entire zipper TOP-STITCHED on the outside of the back of a skirt, dress and shirt as a design feature!!  Let's just say it works if the fit is right and the zipper is not too heavy for the fabric it's applied to.   It works for bags, but with with more and more zippers making a reappearance as fashion details, you may love it!

I think that about covers "Exposed Zipper" intstallation.  Basic zipper intructions for centered application are usually included in the zipper packaging.

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Nancy Zieman (Sewing With Nancy) has a couple of great tips for this, including a pinless technique to save time and effort. Here's that link: CENTERED ZIPPER.

This is the first in a series of Zipper tutorials.  Next time we'll look at Lap or Fly Zippers, then we'll tackle Invisible Zippers (my sister's favorite)!  Meanwhile, you can find more tips and other tutorials HERE.
Happy Sewing!

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