Thursday, March 11, 2010

Invisible Zipper Tutorial (after a bit of ranting and raving)

So, I've come to the conclusion that the makers of sewing notions are not people who sew. In fact, they don't even want US to be people that sew. In fact, I think they are evil henchpersons of a Secret Society dedicated to the OPPRESSION of SEWERS EVERYWHERE!!!!


Anyway, moving on.

Last December, on a visit out of state I was able to visit Gabriel Brothers. We don't have any locally, so I was VERY EXCITED (which I tend to get at times). (Gabe's is basically clearanced, damaged, left-over and otherwise cast-off goods from name brand stores. Lots of junk, but you can find some treasures for great $$$).
And I was really excited to find two adorable skirts from a label I ♥LURV♥ for only $3 apiece! I have no trouble saying these would be easily $35-45 in the store. Only problem? Their zippers were busted.
Their invisible zippers were busted. Da-da-duuummmmm....

For $3 I figured I'd give it a shot. I'd never done an invisible zipper--but, again, $3 people!!!

Today was the day. I'd avoided it long enough. Here's where we started (after I pulled out the old broken zipper)

(cute skirt, huh? $3!! Did I mention that?)

And seriously, they could not possibly make the directions for attaching the invisible zipper foot any more obscure. You're basically going on a wing and a prayer trying to decide which attachment is right for your machine. They don't even give you a picture of what the end result you're shooting for should look like once its attached to a machine! ANY machine!

So you're own your own here figuring out which color attachment to use. There's four different options that come in the package. For my Husqvarna Emerald 116 it was the red attachment:


Some advice they don't include: this isn't like a regular zipper foot--just a foot you clip on to the existing works. With this you have to strip the whole shank (the metal piece that comes down from the machine which your presser feet attach to). Get out your screwdriver and remove all the little plastic/metal bits that are attached. The invisible zipper foot has its own--that's what the multicolored pieces are.
    ***Sidepoint: Save or throw out the other pieces that don't fit my machine??? Sorry, Mom, I must throw out. Although it does pain me to do so. But it wasn't that expensive. 15 years from now when I get a new machine, I'll invest in a new invisible zipper foot. And I don't think I'll be kicking myself at having thrown away the other attachment pieces. :-) Grandma Millie would be rolling in her grave right now.

Also, you're not going to slide the foot left and right when you sew the left and right sides of the zipper. It stays in one spot for the actual zipper attaching part. Line it up so the needle goes cleanly through the hole in the center.

On to the zipper itself:

The first direction is to iron the zipper from the backside so the coils lay flat. Takes a little maneuvering, but not so bad.

Then we get to the next part:

Seriously? What in the world? I think the biggest issue here is someone didn't realize when sewing a zipper you're dealing with 'right' as in 'right and left sides', and 'right' as in 'wrong and right sides of the fabric'. Which is why I say these directions weren't written by an actual sewer.

So this is what it means in plain sewer's English (kind of the like the Queen's English):

***Remember, normally you do NOT finish the back seam first when installing an invisible zipper. I am replacing a zipper, so I just ripped the stitches out a little farther down.

Hold the zipper facing you unzipped. (Remember, the smoother side is the front of the zipper) Take the right 'leg' of the zipper and put it right side down on the right hand side of your opening, on the good side of the fabric--'raw' edge of zipper to raw edge of fabric.
Clear as mud, no? Play with it a bit, you'll get it.
Just remember: right side of zipper, right leg of zipper, to right side of opening on the right side of fabric in the right groove of zipper foot.
 Stitch that down with the coils running through the groove in the foot on the right hand side. Marvel at how close the stitches are to the zipper coils.

Now, flip that bad boy around and do the same thing on the left side--front side of zipper on to correct side of fabric, through the groove on the left side of the zipper foot. It's going to feel a little like you're sewing the zipper on backwards, but it's supposed to be invisible, remember?
Left side of zipper, left side of opening, CORRECT side of fabric, left groove of zipper foot.

Here's a photo from the wrong side after I'd sewn both legs of the zipper down:
***I had to do some maneuvering to flip the zipper around properly because I was working with a prefinished seam. I suppose this is why you're not supposed to sew the back seam shut until the end.

Guess what? You're almost done!
Now's the part where you slide the zipper foot over to the left--so the needle comes down at the little notch:


Turn your skirt (or whatever you're sewing) inside out and lay the back seam flat. Sew just a tiny bit to the outside of your stitches, from the bottom of the zipper down a few inches.

***Again, I was working with a replacement, so I just merged into the stitching that was already there.

And voila! Beautiful invisible zipper!


What's that? Can't even see where the zipper is, you say? How's this:


Seriously, once you get the hang of it, I think this is actually WAY easier than a regular zipper, and tons more professional looking. With the way the foot is made you're riding the coils when you're actually sewing the zipper down, so it's virtually guaranteed to stay nice and straight.

I'm so glad I took the plunge! I definitely be using ALOT more invisible zippers from here on out.
Pin It!


Related Posts with Thumbnails