Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Invisible Zippers - how to

So we've had a few busy days, and I'm back in the sewing groove.
I cut out all of the other pieces for the lining of the dress, and I am now madly constructing.
I thought I would go through an invisible zipper.

Invisible zippers are a bit of a fiddle, but not as difficult as people make out. The first thing you have to do is measure your zipper. You want the space for the zipper to be a  tiny bit shorter than the zip.

You then mark the length (minus a little bit) on the seam with chalk or a pin. Most commercial patterns have a 1.5cm seam allowance, and it doesn't need to be any wider for an invisible zip.

You will want to finish your raw edges as this is going to be an open seam. I have a new overlocker so my edges look pretty spiffy. But if you don't have an overlocker, you can use a zigzag stitch. If you are using an overlocker, you might want to finish the raw edges after you sew the seam, as the overlocker trims a little off the edges. But I think its up to you. I did mine before.

Sew the zipper line to the mark with a large tacking stitch. You will remove it later. Then when you reach the mark, change to a regular (smaller) stitch, backtack and sew the rest of the seam.

(This fuzzy mess is a backtack at the point where the zipper stops)

Next you will press this seam open.
Since you already have the iron out, you may want to unzip your zip, and press the zipper inwards to open it up. This was suggested to me in my sewing classes, and seems to make the zip a little more co-operative under the zipper foot.
I am pushing the teeth over as I lightly press.

Now we need to line the zip up with the seam. So we zip it back up and roll and pin, checking under the zip as we go...

I've pinned across the zip, so I know the zip and the seam are as nicely alined as I can reasonably manage.
Now I need to rearrange the pins so that I can actually sew it.
Without letting it shift, re-position the pins so that they goes through the zipper tape and seam allowance only.

Now we turn it over and removed the tacking stitches.

The fabric may open up a little, but this is ok! Just don't move any of the pins. You should have a nice pressed fold.
Now we unzip the zip.
Ready to sew!
You will need to put an invisible zipper foot on your sewing machine.
This is what mine looks like on the top:
And on the underside it has two parallel grooves:
 So, we put this on the machine and then sew down the edge of the zipper. First on one side...

...then on the other side...
If your space for the zipper is slightly shorter, you won't have to deal with the lumpy bit.
Instead, you will have a little bit left at the end that you can't really sew to:

So you tuck the zipper pull through, and zip it up.

And it magically dissapears into the seam!

Where did it go? Oh its worth the trouble!

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