Monday, June 24, 2013

Lapped Zippers

Following right along then, let's tackle a lapped zipper.
Fig. 1
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

Fig. 2
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
Fig. 3
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
Fig. 4

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
Fig. 5

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.
Fig. 6
Remove the basting thread that is holding the placket closed. Fig. 6
Finish the seam allowances, incorporating the zipper tapes.
Hope you are seeing how easy these types of zipper applications can be.
Till next time then......


Friday, June 14, 2013

How many zippers....


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.
Fig. 1

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 then open.
Open the zipper and lay it face sown on the seam allowance only with the teeth snugged up to the seam line.
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
Fig. 2
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.    
Fig. 3                                                
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.
Fig. 4
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 the seam.
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.
Soon to follow, next installment - Lapped Zippers