Adding a zipper to a sewing project can be intimidating. I was planning to do a post on how to sew an invisible zipper with the invisible zipper foot but, as I was researching and gathering information for this post - and I like to be thorough - my introduction kept on growing and soon became a whole article.
There is a lot to explain and discover about zippers. I promise you, the invisible zipper post will be one of my next posts. Today, you’ll get some information about zippers, zipper feet, and ways to install zippers in different projects. With this intro you’ll be more confident when choosing your zipper, using the right tool, and choosing the look of the zipper on your project. In addition, you will be able to find good tutorials about the different techniques more easily because you’ll know how to use the zipper terminology.
I’ve learned a lot while researching for this article. I have never sewn a lapped and a centered zipper, ever, really! I hope you - like me - will also learn something from this post.
First the material, weight, and colors. First, it is important to choose the best zipper for your project, depending on what you are making. A metal (brass, nickel) zipper is better for jeans, a plastic one for a lightweight sweater. You’ll need a stronger zipper for a winter coat than for a little girl’s summer dress. Zippers are made in a wide variety of colors, and you can choose from many different zipper pull styles.
Choosing the length. There are many, many options. Zipper lengths range from 3 inches to 100 inches. The sizes are measured from the top stopper to the bottom stopper, so don’t measure the length of the cloth tape the zipper is attached to. You can also buy zippers on a roll and cut to the exact size you need. If you’re not sure about the length, it is better to buy a zipper that is too long rather than too short. You can always shorten a regular zipper. However, for open-end zippers, this is harder.
About the separating style. There are open-end (or separating) and closed-end zippers. If you’re making a coat or a jacket, your zipper needs one end with a box and pin mechanism to separate the zipper and easily reassemble it. If you’re making a bag or installing a zipper in pants or the back of a dress, the zipper only opens at the top.
Visible or invisible? If you don’t want your zipper to show, you have to buy an invisible zipper. An invisible zipper is a zipper with very fine teeth. It's sewn into a garment in such a way that it makes the zipper invisible, hidden in a seam. Invisible zippers are available in fewer sizes and colors.
There are many different techniques to install a zipper
How you install a zipper can depend on your project, function, or a particular aesthetic. Here are 7 common ways to install a zipper.
Installing a zipper requires a zipper foot. Most machines come with a zipper foot to sew a conventional zipper. There are 2 other feet that you can use: an Invisible zipper foot, and an adjustable zipper foot.
All 3 feet allow you to sew really close to the teeth of the zipper.
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