January 2003 Sewing Q&A Index
From Our January 2003 Issue
How do I put an exposed zipper in outerwear?
Wheat Ridge, CO.
Exposed zippers are easy to install and can add a decorative accent to outerwear if a contrasting color zipper is used. Use this method for separating zippers, zippers in the neckline of pullover garments, or even zippered pockets. If you can't find the zipper length needed, buy the next longer one and shorten it.
Note: These directions are for outerwear that has a zipper extending to the top of a stand-up collar.
- If necessary, open the zipper and shorten it from the upper end, leaving about 1,4" extra tape beyond the desired finished length. Close the zipper, but be careful not to slide the zipper pull off the cut ends.
- Stitch one edge of the collar and lower band (if any) to the garment but don't finish them until the zipper is installed. If there is an elastic or drawstring casing at the lower edge, finish it after the zipper is installed. For a drawstring casing, place the zipper lower end ½" above the casing foldline.
- With right sides together, pin or baste the closed zipper along one opening edge. Fold the excess tape at the upper edge at an angle away
from the zipper teeth.
- Using a zipper foot, stitch down the center of the tape, allowing enough room for the slider to move (1). Trim the excess tape at the upper edge.
- Finger-press the seam so the garment and zipper right sides are facing up. Mark the remaining zipper tape at areas that need to match the other front edge (2).
- Open the zipper, and with right sides together, pin or baste the zipper along the remaining garment edge matching the marks. Stitch down the tape center to secure. Finger-press the seam and trim excess tape at the upper edge.
- To finish the collar and lower band, fold them with right sides together, encasing zipper between the layers. Stitch over previous stitching, catching zipper in the seam (3). Trim the seams, clip corners and turn right side out.
- If desired, edge- and topstitch along the folded front edges through all the layers finish.
Create a zipper opening by stitching a facing to the garment front.
- If the zipper is too long, shorten it at the lower end. Create a new stop by sewing across the zipper teeth several times. Trim the excess 1" from the stitching.
- To determine the opening length, measure the zipper between the upper and lower stops and add the pattern seam allowance. For a zipper that measures 5" between the upper and lower stops, the opening length will be 5 1/2".
- Cut a facing from lightweight fabric or sew-in interfacing 2" wide and 1" longer than the opening length. On the facing wrong side mark a line down the center. Draw stitching lines 1/8" away on either side of the centerline. Note: The distance between these lines should be equal to the zipper teeth width. Measure from one short end the distance equal to the opening length and mark a line across the lower end (4).
- On the garment, mark a line equal to the opening length where the zipper will be installed.
- With right sides together, match the facing centerline to the line on the garment; pin the facing to the garment. With the facing side up, sew on the marked stitching lines, using very short stitches at the corners.
- Slash through both layers along the centerline, stopping 1/4" from the end. Cut diagonally to the corners (5).
Turn the facing to the wrong side and finger-press the edge.
- With the zipper closed and both the garment and zipper right side up, place the zipper under the opening with the lower stop at the opening lower end; hand baste in place just catching the fold along the opening edge.
- Fold back the garment, exposing the lower edge of the facing seam. Using a zipper foot, stitch across the facing triangle through the fabric, facing and zipper (6).
- Turn back one side of the garment and stitch the garment to the zipper along the previous stitching (7). Repeat for the other side.
- Optional finish: Topstitch from the right side around the opening through all layers.
This procedure is similar to the pullover insertion, but both opening ends will need to be finished. Cut the facing 2" wide and 2" longer than the opening length. On the facing wrong side, draw a stitching box along the centerline equal to the opening length (8). Mark the opening length on the garment right side. With right sides together, match and pin the facing centerline to the line in the garment. Stitch around the box. Slash the centerline, clipping into the corners. Turn the facing to the inside and finger-press the edges. Position the zipper under the opening and baste the edges to the zipper tape. Turn the garment back and sew the triangles and edges as for the pullover.