Stitching Life Together: Sewing Zippers, Intimidated No More

8 years ago

Are you intimidated by sewing in zippers? I am.

I have been working hard at reducing my "needs some repair" pile of clothing. You know that pile: a shirt looses a button, it's thrown into a pile. A hem needs repair, it goes in the pile. A zipper has broken, it goes in the pile. Someday, we promise to tackle that pile and get those clothes back in use. Often, I would give up on it and simple donate everything to charity.

One of my goals is to make sure our clothes are cleaned, working and available to wear. So I've sewn on buttons and fixed hems. Several items were just given up on. I'm down to the 3 things that need new zippers. Now I'm scared.

The last one I put into a hoodie was off on one side by 1/2". Not to mention the rippled stitching running up one side. The zipper has been ripped out (again) and I'm starting the process over. And, like any good consumer of social media, I'm checking out the blogs, the websites and YouTube for help before I stitch again. My first stop is check at delicious to find saved bookmarks on Zippers.

I begin with ModHomeEcTeacher's basic: How-to Insert a Zipper. Good basics, great close up pictures. Still feeling uncertain.

That's why I was thrilled to read You SEW, girl!'s Zipper tutorial on moving the zipper foot out way. Such a simple idea: stop part way down the zipper with the needle in the fabric, and zip the up, moving the bulky foot out of the way of sewing. Brilliant!

But the most helpful tutorial is Green Kitchen's Glue-Set Zipper tutorial! I never imagined that a little glue stick held such promise for a perfectly pretty zipper.

The most difficult part of zipper installation is making it look good.
With the glue-set method you eliminate most of the challenges. The
process becomes quite easy. The idea behind the glue-set zipper
installation is to use adhesive to hold the zipper in place, while
sewing, instead of pins. This allows you to top stitch the zipper
without having to wrangle with the pins. And, since you are top
stitching it into place, you have more control on how it looks on the
outside, thus, more chances at zipper success.

Check out this ThreadBanger episode. About 3 minutes in, Kate McFaul does a great demonstration on sewing in a zipper.

Ok. I think I'm armed with enough ideas that I can deal with these zippers. What challenges to repairing your clothes do you have? (besides finding time).

Related Readings:

Laura of Pickin' and Throwin' shared instructions for sewing a zipper into a knit cardigan. Laura offeres another temporary stay technique that I can add to my resources.

Home Made Originals blogged a href=""> a list of resources (why couldn't I find this FIRST?) for installing zippers. My delicious tag for this idea is getting larger...

But in sewing zippers on my her small pencil cases, PataPri - cute as can be, check them out - still thinks sewing zippers is hard.

Debra Roby blogs her creative life at A Stitch in Time and her journey to fitness at Weight for Deb.

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