Sew, What's New?

Curating sewing and quilting talent, techniques, and tutorials, since 1997.

* cringe* I've never installed a zipper - there, I admitted
it, along with all my other sewing shortcomings in previous posts. Not only have I neglected installing a zipper, I've avoided it like the plague. I keep old zippers I've cut out of a variety of discarded clothes, in a jar
for looks in hopes that I'll take the plunge one day. It seems so difficult, so
complicated, so bothersome, even though I've never (before today) inquired as to how it's done. Just writing about it makes me feel all knotted up.

I have a kind of Birkenstock-ish, free spirited hippie's approach to sewing - "nothin' too hard, maaan, make your own pattern, do your
own thing" and it has served me well until now. Now I want to make a zippered skirt. I'm making a skirt now, which is based on a skirt I bought at a store, but it will have a drawstring because I'm a noob...a zipper chicken. Learning to add a zipper would be like a flower child asking "the man" to show her how to make a presentation at a board meeting, right? *shudder* So I have gotten away with it up to this point.

We all have to grow up sometime and leave our simple flower child ways if we want anything that looks professional. I figure I'm getting too mature to avoid invisible zippers any longer. I must grow up, drop the flower child pose and turn into "the
(wo)man". If you've used the same zipper avoidance techniques I have, no doubt it's left you, and your unsuspecting children perhaps, with elastic or drawstring waistlines. We must admit that no matter how easy those are to pull off, it doesn't look as good. Perhaps it's time
you branched out into the grown up world of sewing...........while I watch to see how it turns out!
: )

Want a tutorial? I did!

I found a few on Youtube to put in this post. Here's a quick one where the narrator sounds like an instruction manual, similar to the way we write down a recipe when we're in a hurry, lacking prepositions...I have the feeling she might be leaving some things out of the process, but then again I'm a zipper virgin so you can't take my word for it.

Here's a real snorer of a tutorial, but it got the job done quickly I suppose. I love, love, love the sound of her sewing machine, which looks like it must be some kind of industrial model. My trusty, old Kenmore sounds like rush hour traffic, but it works.

Here the last one and the one I'll probably follow. It's a tad on the boring and dimly lit side, but it seemed like it was a complete tutorial. It's a 2 parter, but I've only included the first. Now tell me if you know, Where on earth is she from? Her accent is a mystery. Also if you have a better invisible zipper tutorial, do share!

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Comment by Patricia on June 6, 2010 at 4:34pm
Hi Birdie.
I Love your site :-) You had the following question: "Now tell me if you know, Where on earth is she from? Her accent is a mystery." I am from South Africa, and English is not my first language, I speak Afrikaans. But sewing is a language we all understand, and I love to sew, and share some tips. Did you see the video I have on youtube on how to sharpen your scissors? The ladies I have shared this tip with really loved it. One lady sharpened all her scissors over a weekend :-) Let me know and I would share it with you as well. Take care & happy sewing.
Comment by Sue Kelly on June 4, 2010 at 10:34pm
When I learned to do a zipper, I kept the seam basted together, pinned the zipper face down on middle of seam, then sewed down one side, across the bottom and back up to the top. Then picked out the basting stich and it was done.
Comment by carole gahm on June 4, 2010 at 9:05am
Thanks for the links to the tutorials, Birdie!
I'm bookmarking your page so I can watch all of them when I've got time to pay attention! :D
For the moment, I just listened to a bit of the last one, as you'd mentioned the unusual accent of the lady doing it. My guess is that she might be Bosnian. We have a very large population of Bosnians here in my small town, & they have a wonderfully unique accent! This lady in the vid sounds just like my Bosnian friends, so that would be my guess for you.
TY again for the links; I need a good invisible zip tutorial, & will be spending time with this a bit later!
Comment by Mary Lou on June 4, 2010 at 7:55am
Its funny but I used to use alot more zippers in my sewing projects, but in recent years I am leaning toward the drawstring elastic waist mode you are trying to get out of. But I know the feelings u are battling, only mine are more for stuff like cutting into real velvet to make a cape
Comment by Melinda Sarpal on June 4, 2010 at 2:54am
LOL Birdie. You are too cute. I can tell you from my personal experience that there are 3 major things that are important to inserting a zipper - 1 - Pressing is super important, dont try to insert it without. 2 - Don't listen to the instructions that come with your pattern. They will tell you to finish the seam up to where the zipper will start before actually inserting it. NO NO NO!!!!! You want to sew the seam to the starting point of the zipper and then use a basting stitch to finish the seam for the length of the zipper. There are many tutorials on how to do it this way and it is the best. I can walk you through it if you need. and - 3 - Fear not the zipper. You must be strong and confident so the zipper does not own you. Think of them as super easy. LOL :P If you remember these 3 things you will have a successfully inserted zipper in no time. Also remember that practice makes perfect. I recommend making a bunch of samples.

Best of luck,
Comment by Sadie on June 3, 2010 at 5:40pm
I can soooo relate to what you're going through.. heck I went through the same not more than 4 months ago!! but I'm glad you took the first step.. which is searching.. Ask and ye shall get... lol and trust.. all you need to do is search and you'll most definitely have sewn in the most professional looking zipper not long after.. the tutorials although boring and dimly lit and all give a sense of the feeling that 'this is doable!!' Sometimes I guess that's all ti takes... lol
I started sewing about 6 months ago.. when you're a newbie.. everything seems dauntingly impossible!! (still does!!)

And Birdie.. knowing all your so very complicated and intricate and GORGEOUS creations... trust me you're way above and beyond anything close to the likes of me... So if I can do it so can you...

and.. I think SWN featured a tutorial on sewing invisible zippers... that was the one that made me thing it was not so bad.. of course I have sewn invisible zippers myself yet to be an authorative person to be commenting (you know why I haven't sewn them yet, right? YES!! They're scary!! seriously!)

Please complete your skirt as fast as you can and Tell us that the unbeatable beast of the Zipperland can be indeed be tamed... and we shall soon follow... Luck!

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