Following right along then, let's tackle a lapped zipper.
This is the type of
application you are most likely to see in a side skirt. The same principles can
be seen in fly closures of some garments.
So once again check the width of the zipper and make any adjustments to your seam allowances. Fig. 1
You will machine baste the seam closed and press the seam open.
Switch to a zipper foot and adjust it so the needle will be stitching between the foot and the teeth of the zipper.
Open the zipper.
Lay the zipper face down onto the seam allowance only and attach regular machine stitching. Machine stitch down the middle of the tape width. This first step is usually done on the back garment seam allowance. Fig. 2
Now turn the zipper face-up. Make a narrow fold in the seam allowance and finger press.
Adjust the zipper foot to the other side so you can stitch the length of the
zipper next to this new fold. You are
still stitching through the seam allowance and zipper tape only. Fig. 3
Spread the garment out
flat with the zipper face down on the front seam allowance. A small pleat will
from at the bottom of the zipper placket. To be sure you are stitching
straight, draw a line ¼” from the zipper teeth on the tape to keep your
stitching straight and evenly spaced from the zipper teeth. Fig. 4
Stitch across the bottom
of the zipper and up the other side.
Check the stitching from
the right side. If all is well, take the threads at the bottom of the zipper
placket to the wrong side and tie off. Fig. 5
Use a press cloth and
steam to press from the right side.
Remove the basting thread
that is holding the placket closed. Fig. 6
Finish the seam allowances, incorporating the
Hope you are seeing how easy these types of zipper applications can be.
Do you ever shrink from a
pattern because it requires the insertion of a zipper? I confess I have but
really, they are not hard to do if you just take a bit of care and don’t hurry!
Better to do the job right than have to pick out and do over….
So what type of zipper
application does your garment require? I can think of several possibilities.
There’s the centered inset, the lapped, the invisible, the hand applied – for an
amazing designer look, the separating zipper and now designers have added the
exposed zipper. Wow bet you didn’t realize there were so many.
The Centred Zipper Application
Let’s take a look at the
centred inset style. It is what you are most likely to see in the back of a
dress or skirt. It isn’t really difficult but this is the kind I’ve always had
trouble doing a good job.
Be sure you have the right
length according to the pattern. Measure the width of the zipper from the edge
of the tape to the other edge. Your seam allowance needs to open to that
measure if not a bit wider. Make any adjustments to your garment.
Stitch the seam closed but
use a basting stitch for the length of the zipper. Press the seam closed and
Open the zipper and lay it
face sown on the seam allowance only with the teeth snugged up to the seam
Switch to your zipper foot
and adjust it so you are stitching on the left side of the foot – the needle is
going into the fabric between the foot and the zipper teeth. Stitch the length
of the zipper tape. Fig. 1
Next, be sure that the
zipper pull is turned up as if you were about to close it. Reverse the position
of the zipper foot and start past the zipper pull to stitch through the tape
and the other seam allowance only. Position the teeth of the second side up
against the seam again. Stitch to the top of the zipper. Fig. 2
Close the zipper.
Turn the garment over so
you are working on the right side.
Now you can take advantage
of a fading marker and draw a line on either side of the seam ¼” away from the
seam. No matter how straight you think you can stitch, this little step will
make your work neater! You will also want to mark the end of the zipper so you stitch
across the zipper tape not into the metal end. You can stitch through the nylon
teeth if you need to but in most cases you will end the placket just a couple
of stitches below that metal stopper.
If the fabric is slippery
or stretchy you might want to pin the two sides so they stay the same size or
do not stretch.
Begin at the top of one
side and stitch to the bottom. With the needle in the fabric, lift the foot,
pivot and walk your foot across to the seam. Count the number of stitches it
takes to get to the seam and stitch the same number on the other side. You
should be on the line you drew. Leave the needle in the fabric again to pivot
and then stitch to the top of the zipper.
If it is a difficult
fabric, you may wish to stitch both sides from the top down or use a narrow
piece of thin iron-on interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric to stabilize
Carefully remove the
basting stitches that hold the seam closed. Wait for the facing marker to
disappear before pressing. Your zipper should be perfect! Fig. 4
I have not mentioned a seam finish for the seam
allowances. You can serge or overcast the raw edges after inserting the zipper,
incorporating the zipper tape into the finish.