Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hand Applied Zippers

The Hand Applied Zipper

This method is sometimes call hand pricked or handpicked as the stitches look like little prick or pick in the fabric.

While working in a knitting shop a few years ago I often inserted zippers into hand knit garments for customers. This led to doing hand applied zippers in regular garments. They are so easy and amazingly strong but not suited to garments where the zipper will be under stress – like a skin-tight stretch knit.

Machine baste the seam closed and press it open. Remove the basting. With a fading marker, draw a line ¼” from the seam line into the garment, the length of the zipper.

One more thing while you have the ruler out, dot along each line every ¼” starting and ending so the dots match from side to side.
Thread up a needle with matching thread and put a good solid knot in the end of the thread.
Open the zipper and position one side (right side up) under the zipper ‘placket’ as it will sit when the zipper is inserted. The zipper teeth are right against the fold of the fabric but not showing. You may wish to place a pin or two to hold the zipper in place. When you have some experience you won’t even need the pins.


Bring the needle to the surface at the bottom of the first dot. (The dots are pretty small but they still have width.) Take the needle to the back at the top of the dot and bring it to the top again at the bottom of the next dot. You are doing a back stitch but the surface of the stitch is just a pinprick! Be sure the tension is the same for each stitch on both sides. Using the dots and lines makes this so much easier to get straight and evenly spaced stitches.
When you have one side done knot off and repeat the process for the second side.

Finish the seam allowances as suited to the fabric.

Now to give this method more punch, you can use three strands of embroidery floss to match or coordinate with your fabric. These stitches are a bit bolder.

Next try making a French knot on the surface of the fabric with each stitch you take.

If you want some bling, try using a fine needle and adding a reflective bead or seed bead on the needle with each stitch you take on the surface.                                                                         

In the next photo you can see different types of stitches or applications. On the bottom row of stitching, back stitching has been used.    

On the top side starting at the right  you can see French knots, seed beads and then bolder gold beads. The purple line from the facing marker will disappear and you will be left with a good straight line of stitching!
With a hand applied zipper, you can really add a special touch to a simple garment without overdoing the glitter!

Two more types of applications to go....  
Keep stitching!