Archive for the ‘Zippers’ Category
When sewing in a dress zip, I find it easier to sew the lining onto the zip first. Then I bag the tops, and finally top stitch the dress zip.
Conversely when I sew an invisible zip, I attach the zip to the fashion fabric first, then attach the lining, making sure that the lining is around 1/2 inch or so (1 cm) tighter than the fashion fabric. That way when the zip is bagged at the top, the lining sits perfectly at the top.
Judith aka genie
If you happen to lose a slider from a zip, you can always replace it. On the back of every slider there should be a number. For example on a jacket slider you may notice something like “5C” or 5D”. This is the size of the slider. So if you lose the slider on a jacket, you must replace it with the same size slider, else it will not zip up.
All sliders must be put back on FROM THE TOP. Most people try to replace from the bottom.
What I usually do is unpick the top of the zipper, use some pliers to take the metal section off the top of the zipper, slide the new slider on, reattach the metal stop at the top, and resew the top of the zipper back onto the garment.
If you have an old jacket which you are thinking of throwing away, use it to practice on.
When a zip breaks, save the sliders. I have the small plastic filing drawers, and there one of the drawers has zipper parts, such as sliders, the little metal stoppers and such for repairs.
Judith aka genie
I bought your book a couple of years ago and have been receiving your emails ever since. I just wanted to share this little something with you.
Although I have been sewing for a long time now and I have put zips in items that I have made. I have never replaced a zip in anything as it scared me (that’s funny I know but it did). This week I got sick and I was unable to do anything not even look after my family. So I got my copy of your book out and two pairs of pants that needed the zips replacing, my quick unpick and started to take out the zips. I have to say that I never thought that unpicking anything could be theraputic but I loved the whole process of taking the zip out.
Yesterday I was feeling a bit better so I got my trusty little Janome out and along with your book right beside me I proceeded to replace the zips. I loved they went in beautifully and your instruction in the book was wonderful it was like having someone talking me through one step at a time. I have to say that one pair of the pants the zip I put back in was better than the zip I took out.
I’ll never be afraid of replacing zips again. In fact a friend has asked me to replace a zip in her husbands pants and she is going to pay me for it.
Judith, do you think $15 is alright to charge for replacing a zip? I also wanted to ask you about your 2nd book is it just the same as the first one or is there extra information in there that is not in the first one? (I suggested she charge AUD$25)
So thank you for an excellent book and giving me the courage to try something new.
These zips will take the most time to replace. As you all know I am in Australia and I charge my customers up to $65.00 to replace a jacket zip in a lined garment. Because I work on AUD$44.00 per hour, by the time I unpick the old zip, and put the new one in it takes over an hour. Some people will be in shock when I give them to price, but I always do this BEFORE I take the job. That way there are not shocks AFTER the work is done. If you explain why it will cost this much money, they can decide if the jacket is worth it or not. Some people will say no, but others will have it done, because they love the jacket and they can’t get another one like it. Remember that if you under charge for your work, you are going to become resentful and if you become resentful you will not love what you are doing. If you know that you will be paid for doing the job, you will do a good job.
When you unpick the jacket, have a look at how it is done. Not all jackets are done the same, but there is a common method to them all. With the zip unpicked you will be able to put your hand through the inside of the jacket lining from one side to the other. Attach the lining to the back side of the zip on both sides. Make sure that they are even. Now pop one side through to the other side and sew the front of the zipper onto the jacket. I do not mean the top stitching here but rather the right side of the outer to the right side of the zipper. You probably should pin into place first. Sew with the fabric at the top so you can sew back into the same stitch holes. When finished bag the top and the bottom of the zip on this side. Pop it back through to the right side. Now you need to open a seam in the lining so that you can pop the side not done through the lining to do the work. Follow the same procedure as the other side, bag the top and bottom then close the opening in the lining by sewing a row of stitching close to the edge.
Judith aka genie
Open ended invisible zips are not like the normal invisible zip, because it is very hard to sew close to the teeth. These zips are usually put into tops that need to be opened completely. You could use one of these if you wanted to get some extra room out of a top that became too tight. Just like above with the Dress zip, some tops have open ended dress zips in them. By converting to an open ended invisible zip you will use less fabric, therefore get some more room out of the garment.
Judith aka genie
I remember my first invisible zip replacement – I was nervous like you would not believe. But what I did was unpick one side only. The left side facing you is the best to do, then insert the zip using the other side as the guide.
Always insert an invisible zip beginning on the left side with the outer facing you. Make sure that you have a little bit of room from the top of the garment to the top of the zip. Most zips have a small plastic or metal lock at the top. This lock should be positioned about 3mm (1/8 in) below the top. Push the teeth across with your finger and sew down right next to the teeth. Close the zip and pin the opposite side in place making sure that the bottom and the top are even. Open the zip and begin to sew from the bottom of the zip up to the top. Close the zip and begin to sew at the seam below the zip, up to the zip and BESIDE the teeth just up to and past where it is joined to the fabric. This stitching must be close to the zip and the stitching must be straight otherwise it will not look right on the right side of the fabric.
In the past I have had some clients ask why I have not sewn to the bottom of the zip. With an invisible zip, it is not possible to sew to the very end.
You can buy a kit that is called an Invisible Zipper foot attachment. There are a few in the kit because they are designed to cater to all the different types of sewing machines, but I prefer to use my normal zipper foot that comes with the domestic sewing machine.
Judith aka genie
To be honest I don’t like putting dress zips in dresses. They are ok in trousers, but I always convert to an invisible zip when I have an alteration such as taking in when there is a dress zip or replacing a dress zip with an invisible zip. You might ask “why would I do that?” The reason is because the flap that folds over the dress zip sticks out even when it has been ironed flat. Usually the zip is in the side or back and this means the small flap adds more bulk to the body. Also as the garment gets older the fabric tends to fade or get worn in sections around the flap, particularly at the top.
Zips areas can give more room, particularly from a dress zip converted to invisible.
Letting out – With a dress zip if the garment is too tight, the stitching will get pulled on the outer fabric, which means you want to fix the problem before it gets to this stage. If you come across this problem where the weave of the fabric has opened, try laying it on the ironing board (once the zip has been taken out) and give the area a light iron just to warm it up. Use your finger nail to ease the weave back together. Work from the top down to the bottom. I have on occasion used the end of my nippers or the end of tweezers to ease it in. It depends on the fabric. There is a lot of fabric used in a dress zip so by taking this zip out, ironing the fabric flat, then inserting an invisible zip you will usually get an additional 2.5 cm or (1 in).
Taking in – When taking in the sides is not an option on a garment, take a look at the zip in the centre back. Pin the centre back even though there is a zip. When a garment is made the panels are laid on the fabric ensuring that the centre back would be on the straight of the grain. A dress zip will lay reasonably flat on the straight of the grain, but if you are taking in at the zip area, then fabric will more than likely be off the grain. That means some bias will be involved. If you put a dress zip back in, there will be a twist in the flap over. An invisible zip WILL NOT have any twist in the fabric. And it sits very flat against the body.
If you have to put a dress zip in and the garment is lined, attach the zip to the lining first. Bagging the top of a dress zip is more time consuming than it is bagging an invisible zip. If I have to put one in, the last thing I do is topstitch around the zip. I prefer to attach the fabric to the zipper first, making sure it is sitting at the same position at the top and bottom.
If the garment is lined, I would attach the zip to the lining first. Then do the outer.
Judith aka genie
When washing a garment, ALL zips should be ZIPPED UP before going into the washing machine. If the zip is left open, and the garment gets caught with another garment, the zip could be placed under a lot of pressure and the zip could easily break. But also the slider could get tangled with another garment and put a hole in the garment, but if it is zipped up the chances of that happening is less.
Judith aka genie
There are going to be times when you can’t find the right size zip. One of my pet hates is to see someone replace a zip with a zip that is longer but they cut the excess off at the top of the zip, rather than the bottom. Zippers have stoppers at the top, and this allows the zip to stop and lock. Sloppy work on the replacement of a zip can mean that the slider will come straight off the top. Rather than shortening from the top, put the zip in properly at the top and cut off from the bottom, but rather than a rough stitch across the zipper (which I have seen a lot) cut some bias binding or fabric and BEFORE you cut the end off, stitch the bias across the bottom, then cut the zip and WRAP the bias around the bottom of the zip and fold the sides in, then stitch across the top of the bias. You are basically encasing the end of the zip in fabric or bias. The zip will never break open.
Judith aka genie
Shortening a pair of joggers with a zip can be a monumental job if you are going to unpick the zips, shorten and put the zips back on. I have only done it once for someone and I charged her $85.00 to do the job. My hourly rate is AUD$44 per hour. (AUD$40 + GST which is 10% of what you charge)
So after my first experience, I decided to find another way. I don’t find doing the work, but generally the customer doesn’t want to pay that much for the work.
I found a way to shorten without unpicking the zip. Most joggers have what I term a Turn Twice hem allowance. So I would put a 2.5 cm + 1 cm (1 in + ½ in) turn twice hem allowance. For those of you with the book you know that you measure UP the amount you are shortening the joggers by, and then measure DOWN for the hem allowance.
So let us say the joggers are being shortened by 5cm (2 in) your measurements would be:-
Metric = UP 10 cm DOWN 3 cm DOWN 1 cm
Imperial = UP 4″ DOWN 1 ¼” DOWN ½”
Remember to have the tape measure on the edge of the existing hem allowance. For example the 5 cm line would be on the existing hem allowance and the end of the tape is pointing up the leg.
Mark around the leg, and then PIN the lining and the outer together ABOVE your cut line. Have the pins pointing down. Open the zip so that the slider is up the leg.
CUT on the bottom chalk mark from one side of the zip to the other. Make sure that the zips are cut even, but DO NOT lower the zip or the slider will come off.
Fold the hem up turn the smaller section under and pin in place. With the zip section, tuck in inside turning the corner over slightly and under, so that it is away from the teeth of the zip. It’s a little tricky with the two ends of the zip but it works. Just have the zip tucked in a little at the side so you can’t see it.
Turn the joggers inside out, and sew your first row of stitching right on the edge of the hem. If the joggers are tapered you may have to open the inside leg seam. Then do a second row of stitching underneath so you have double stitching. Most track suit pants or joggers have two rows of stitching. If you have a cover stitch machine, then it will overlock underneath and give you the two rows on top. Or you can use a twin needle.
Judith aka genie