Friday, April 22, 2011

Zip It Good

Word to the wise, peeps: Don't try to serge the outer zipper to your seam allowances in an effort to make things neater.

There seems to be no method to get to the top without the zipper stop getting in the way (wherever you situate it as you start to serge). So the intrepid sewist (at least this one) ends up with a reasonably tidy, if peculiar-looking, serged outer seam allowance (which includes the zipper tape) until she gets most of the way there - at which point the thread loops start falling off the edge of the fabric given that she's desperately avoiding running over the zip stop with the precious serger blade.

Upshot: Weird meets messy.

It's preferable, IMO, to bias tape the length of the entire seam allowance in question - from zipper top to garment hem. While this may be out of place with the rest of the garment (unless - while often impractical and unwieldingly time-consuming - every other seam allowance is bound the same way), at least it will be uniformly clean from top to bottom.

I suppose - and I think I'm totally making this up unless one of you has suggested it and I'm stealing your idea - one could:
  • cut extra wide seam allowances (like twice the required width),
  • sew in the zip, then fold the outer SA towards the zip and seam line (to create a turn under),
  • then fold it again over the outer edge of the zipper - and all the way down to the hem - creating a kind of binding that makes use of the fashion fabric itself.
In that case, presuming this could work, you'd have a clean edge all along the allowance, which would encase the outer zipper tape for its full length.

Why I care about this - given the numerous other glaring flaws I should probably turn my attention to - is beyond me. Just call it my public service.


  1. Would you be able to stop partway along, lift the presser foot, and unzip the zipper so the stop is past the foot? I have had some luck doing this on my regular machine...

    Good luck! I have to admit I don't care too much about this particular booboo---if RTW doesn't sweat it, which they don't, I'm not going to, either---as you do, but we all need our quirks. ;)

  2. I tried! It didn't work. There' wasn't enough room around the serger foot. Perhaps there's a special serger foot with which to do this - and my serger book does show a metho (which it would behoove me to look at today before I start my pants). I'll let you know how that goes.

  3. My solution is to cut a 1" seam allowance and then serge finish the edge before inserting the zipper. That's it, that's all I do, but you could then stitch (by machine or hand) the zipper tape to the seam allowance. For me, it's enough because the seam allowance and the zipper both have a finished edge. I thought I wanted lovely, Hong Kong finished seam allowances on everything like Amanda until I tried them. Now, I'm happy with a serger finish - co-ordinated or not - LOL - maybe I'm lazy.

  4. I can't get my mind around using a serger for any part of zipper installation!

  5. Myrna: I don't even understand the HK finish - so I don't think I'm there yet. What you do is what I do. I just don't like the way it looks.

    Susan: Just don't go there.