When I first started sewing I was pretty intimidated by zippers. I felt like so much could go wrong. There was the awkward zipper pull that always seemed to get in the way. And I was never quite sure how to get the whole thing to stay put while I was sewing.
- zipper teeth are the metal/plastic section going up the middle.
- zipper pull is the part you pull (too obvious?)
- zipper tape are the two sections of fabric on either side of the zipper teeth
And here’s the finished product. Not too bad, right?
Keen to flex your skills? Check out all the posts in the Total Beginner's Guide to Sewing a DIY Skirt series: The pattern Cutting your fabric Easy pockets Sewing up Adding pleats and a simple waistband Perfect zipper in 8 steps The easy 3 step hem
the perfect zipper in 8 steps
You will need:
1. Find the spot at the back of the skirt where the zipper should go hint: it’s where we left a hole last week 😉 . With the right sides together put one panel on top of the other, matching the raw edges.
Pin in place.
2. Set your sewing machine to it’s longest stitch length. Sew up the back hole of your skirt, sewing 1.5 cm from the edge of the skirt.
You should now have the whole back of the skirt closed shut, with the last section made up of looser stitches (these will come out later, so we want them nice and loose).
3. Iron the seam open. You want both seams to stay nice and flat.
4. Place your zipper about 2 cm from the top edge of the skirt.
Using a bright coloured thread that you can see clearly, hand sew the zipper tape to the seam allowance using loose stitches. This will all come out later, so don’t worry about being tidy. Keep those stitches loose and long.
5. Now it’s time to get that zipper really attached. Start from the bottom corner of the zipper (doesn’t matter which bottom as long as it’s one of the ends furthest from the top). Sew up the zipper following the line of the hand stitching you made in step 4.
6. You’ll get to a point where the zipper pull will get in the way. There’s an easy way to get around it.
When you get close to the zipper pull, leave your sewing machine needle in the fabric and pull up the foot. This makes sure the skirt won’t go anywhere (it’s locked into the fabric by the needle).
Now using your hands, push the zipper pull down past the needle towards the bottom of the skirt. This should clear it from the area you’re sewing. Put the foot back down and finish sewing up this side of the zipper.
7. Starting from the corner where you started in step 5, sew across the bottom of the zipper and up the remaining side. Repeat the zipper/sewing foot trick when you get to the awkward zipper pull.
8. Pull out those loose stitches you used to keep the skirt back closed (in front of the zipper) and the stitches you used to keep the zipper in place (at the back). Voila! One, professionally inserted zipper. You prostar, you.
Note: the closer you sew to the zipper in step 5 – 7 the more ‘invisible’ the zipper will be. I wanted my zipper to peek through so I sewed about 1 cm from the zipper teeth.