Zippers radically changed how we managed ourselves in dressing up every day whenever we were on-the-go. Have you ever thought of how bothering it would be if these zippers were not invented? We would probably get late at work, school and the like more often for we still have to fasten dozens of hooks and eyes on our clothing every time we go. Dressing up before only gave us more hassle and wearing clothes uncomfortably as well. But nowadays, we just simply zip up our clothing – and now we are ready to go!
Most novices in sewing fear the patterns involving zippers. They often avoid patterns with zippers for they are scared not to do it correctly, for it seemed to be a very difficult job. They find it hard to sew zipper tabs successfully and neatly. But the fact is that it is definitely not as hard as most think as long as you take time to learn the basics in order to do it right.
Here are some of the tips and tricks in sewing zippers:
The most common zipper opening is the centered zipper. It is sewn centered down the back or front of a garment. This type usually used in sewing purses, pillows, and other pieces that requires a centered application. Centered zippers are best suited for everyday clothes, most especially for heavyweight fabrics that have a thick pile or those which need to be matched at the seam, like denim.
The zipper in a centered closure is concealed by two equal flaps of cloth running along on either side. When done, two lines of stitching zippers are readily seen from the right side.
When the use of zippers has grown into popularity, most were sewn in a pattern of a lapped closure. In a lapped zipper, the zipper’s teeth are better concealed. This is often the preferred application for dressy clothing or when the zipper does not perfectly match the fabric used. It is also the best choice for delicate fabrics or pile fabrics that can catch in the zipper teeth. And with this preference, you are assured not to damage your garment from getting caught by the zipper teeth.
A lapped zipper is covered by one fabric flap only and a single stitching line that is visible from the right side. These are often used in the left side-seams of pants and skirts.
Using a standard sewing-machine foot is not convenient in sewing zippers since a standard foot’s “toes” prevent it from stitching close enough to the zipper teeth. A zipper foot typically has a single toe thus it can come very near to the zipper teeth which aid you in sewing the zipper successfully.
If you do not have a zipper foot, you may check with your local machine dealer. The zipper foot need not be specifically made for your machine, as long as it can be attached properly and is centered evenly on fabrics.
When using a zipper foot, you may adjust the position of the sewing machine needle if it requires you to do so. In most cases, the needle should be positioned to the left of the zipper foot’s toe. And when unsure about the right thing to do, just read along with your sewing machine manual for reference.
Sewing neatly around the zipper tab is a common difficulty to most. The best answer to avoid sewing around the zipper tab is to buy a zipper that is one to two inches longer than you required. The excess length will extend at the opening of the top edge and just trim it to the desired length after insertion.
Oftentimes, zippers pucker when sewn on lightweight fabrics. To avoid such a problem, consider interfacing the seam allowances before inserting a zipper. In this way, it will provide a neat and crisper look that is less likely to pucker.
If you do not like basting, you may use wash-away basting tape instead. Basting tape is a thin, double-sided tape that works in place of pins to hold the heavy and stiff fabric in place accurately until zippers can be properly sewn to the seams of your garments.
You can now sew a zipper on your own garments with confidence. Bear in mind that practice makes perfect – so keep sewing!