Monday, November 17, 2008

Zips don't have to be scary!

Cars can kill you, people can kill you... but zips just open and close. Apart from a few recorded minor mishaps, they are known to be relatively harmless. I've yet to hear of any fatalities.... and yet people continue to be needlessly fearful.

One thing I've found myself explaining at least six times this week is this simple technique of MOVING THE ZIPPER HEAD OUT OF THE WAY when you sew in a zip. Those of us with a bit more sewing experience may think it's standard practice, but you'd be surprised how many people have never been told....


How to Sew around the Zipper Head....

1.Place the zip as directed by your pattern instructions (in this case it's face down on the right side of fabric). Open the zip, and then start sewing.
2. STOP when you're about halfway along the zip. Use the hand wheel (or whatever electronic gizmo your machine might have) to lower the needle into the fabric.

3. Lift the presser foot and move the zipper head past (or under) the foot to close the zip.

It can be a bit of a squeeze with some zipper feet, but it's usually easily done.4. Lower the presser foot and keep sewing the rest of the zip.

Small things can make a big difference. This is one of those small things.

22 comments:

BigCat said...

Oh, I'm one of those terrified people. Zips are at the top of the scary list. I'm feeling ready to overcome my fear soon though.

méri said...

:))) Me too, bigcat!
Next year i have as main purpose to sew zippers!!!

ferne said...

Great pictures and description. I have conquered my fear of zippers, but I did have one in the past. I am admiring your sturdy looking zipper foot. Is it something someone can buy or is it a specialty foot of some kind. Many these days are made of plastic so it looks kind of like an antique. Where did you get it?

Daffodil Daze said...

I have the zips, I have the patterns but still I resist - WHY OH WHY am I so scared :-( Next time - next time I will attempt it!
Thanks for the tips!

Hoppo Bumpo said...

Fantastic description and pictures. I must have been lucky - was shown to do this on my very first zip. Consequently I've felt quite calm inserting zips (.... unless it happens to be putting an invisible zip into a garment with a facing .... now that makes me break out in a sweat every time!).

Jenny said...

Thanks for another handy tip:)

CurlyPops said...

Now that's something that I've never been told. I've sewn one zip in my entire life but I have a very large collection waiting in the wings!

9crafty11 said...

Good on you for stating the obvious..you think it wouldn't be hard eh. But if you don't know this, you wonder why you break so many needles or have wonky seams. I learnt this after many failures, but I never gave up..& it finally twigged. It would be nice if they could place a little statement regarding this on all zippers though!

Handmade said...

I borrowed the Sew Basics book from the Threads people that you recommended, and I noticed that they use a fusible strip of interfacing to the seam allowance where the zip will go - this is mainly applicable for garments, but I think it makes great sense. In clothes, the thin flimsy nylony type zippers need some reinforcement. Then I noticed on some commercially made formal dresses lately that they too have a sneaky piece of interfacing sewn in. WOW - the things you learn!

frog said...

Now that I know, it seems blindingly obvious (smacks forehead). And if I'd know 16 hours earlier there wouldn't be a pair of trousers with a stop/start stitching overlap sitting on my ironing board. Ah well, next time...

Meg said...

Thanks for such a clear and easily understood lesson. What I need real help on is the invisible zipper, I get it so perfect except for the end when I have to close the zipper and can't get underneath the coil as closely as I have been sewing when the zipper is open. HELP!

tcarole said...

I have the same problem as Meg with the invisible zippers and how to get it right at the end. Tutorial???? Pretty please? With sugar on top?

Roseanna said...

You are so right...simple little tricks can make all the difference! Thank you for your tutorial.

Mags said...

Thank you!!
Tomorrow my hope is to fearlessly zip!

Anonymous said...

I was afraid of the zip thing too but thought I'd give it a go. It was easy (even though my machine is a bit temperamental at the besat of tmes). The only issue I have is when you are sewing the zippered lining onto the outside of the bag aqnd it's difficult to get inside to unzip the zip. Any hints?

diystylecindy said...

Easy to follow tutorial! It's so much easier to stitch a zip this way. We just did a Centered Zipper vodcast that shows how to use transparent tape for holding it in place! You can watch it on our website at www.diystyle.net. Thanks for sharing your method :)

Bellgirl said...

Moving the zipper head out of the way- pure genius! I'd never heard that tip, which sounds super-obvious once you mentioned it. I've printed out your tutorial and I'm off to find a zip to sew right now!

Triya said...

Omg! Thank you so much.. This totally made my life soo much easier... :)

Emily said...

thanks soooooo much, I just attempted doing my son's costume for the first time and my first zipper attempt and I definately suffered from that issue. I knew there was some help out there somewhere.

Hannah said...

I agree, zips are scary and I still havent got it sorted. I have done a fair few zips (a lot of them hand sewn because I'm scared to mess it up on the machine!) and I still have trouble. I think I need more pratise!!

Hannah
Handmade Jewellery
http://surfjewels.000space.com

Claire Gale said...

oh my god, you're a genius, that's the best thing i've heard for a long time. can't wait for my next zip. thank you so much:)

Tam Kruger said...

I am an experienced sewer - but still find zips daunting. Thank you for this simple reminder!!!