Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Zipper Dentata

For the woman who doesn't understand zips, the lapped jeans zipper is a special kind of anxiotic. Otherwise having come quite a way with the Jalie jeans - at the regrettable, frustrating, pace of a snail, I might add - I have spent the last week contemplating its many potential pitfalls. I've read Peter's tutorial, I've read Debbie's. And, seriously, it just scares me more.

Don't get me wrong. Debbie and Peter are awesome instructors and their instruction is well-thought out and beautifully presented. So have at it, Jeans Sewists of the Future.

To me, it just looks really fucking hard.

By the end of today, I couldn't handle the suspense any longer. While, arguably, I should be knitting (more on that soon), I just had to hit the sewga room (aka lair) as soon as I got home from work. Note: Mid-week sewing is a rarity in these parts.

I brought every tutorial I could get my hands on. Combined with the (thankfully) useful Jalie technical drawings - the directions are a bomb IMO - I got with the job.

Within an hour I had sewn the zip neatly - that tape Debbie mentions is SO useful - but when I turned the whole thing over, it occurred to me that I can't tell the difference between it and a regular invisible zipper. Have I done something wrong? I'm sure I followed the combined direction to a T. There does appear to be a slight overlap on the left side (if you can call it that) but it's not very pronounced. Does one create the lap by sewing the left fly front in that ubiquitous rectangle-meets-oblong top stitch shape? I haven't done the top stitching yet. I figure I should determine whether I need to rip the whole thing out first.

I guess my problem is that, despite all I've read and the many pairs of jeans I've reviewed, I just don't know what it's supposed to look like at this point.

I would welcome any feedback.

PS - I know this would be easier to judge with photos but I just don't have the energy for snaps tonight.


  1. How frustrating! I was totally scared of fly fronts until I dived in and made some. Topstitching does make a huge difference to the look of the jeans. In a fly front, the overlap usually finishes (folds) on the centre front line. The lap is because the zip is offset a cm or 2 in the underlap - depends which instructions you are using. The fly look is due to the topstitching on the overlap. Can you check out some RTW jeans?

  2. No advice, but that's a pretty funny title! Good luck!

  3. Did you miss a step? I have had that happen on stuff where I simply had too many references that I was going off of and I lost track of what I was doing. Hope you get it figured out soon! :-)

  4. I just finished my Jalie jeans (my first pants ever, so excited) and the instructions are just wrong. There's not enough overlap and the top of the zipper pull shows. They tell you to line the zipper up with the center, but I think it has to be offset a little. Or something. I don't know. But if you used the Debbie Cook tutorial everyone says that one is great.

    I looked at Pattern Review and several of the reviews said the same thing, the top of the zipper is visible. When I compare mine to a pair of purchased jeans, mine doesn't have a wide enough flap coming over the zipper to fully conceal it.

    (Thanks for your help the other day; I located your old posts about adjusting the fit on your pants, very helpful)

  5. I am so glad to hear I'm not the only one intimidated by zippers - fly front in particular. I met someone who sews a month or two ago and she couldn't believe I occasionally sew bras. I was baffled that she thought pants were a breeze to sew, it's what her grandma started her with. Imagine that, pants as a starter project?

    It's all about perspective I suppose. One day I'll tackle pants, but as functional as they are, I'm just not drawn to bottom weight fabrics so the inspiration to try hasn't struck yet.

  6. Hmm, I wish I could help other than to reiterate Debbie Cook's tute. I look it up and go through it step by step every time (I just wish she covered the fly shield, too, that's where I usually get hung up). Hopefully everything falls into place when the topstitching is done---that really is what holds the zipper to one side, under the lap.

    Good luck!

  7. Love the post title!

    Another funny: I googled anxiotic and this post was the 2nd hit under the "new words and slang" entry at Merriam Webster.

    I always knew you were on the cutting edge.

    And by the way, I LOVE the wallet!

    I can't comment on the zipper, not there yet. Miss R's dress has an invisible one I'll probably sew by hand.

  8. K: I think it may just be enough overlap. I did follow Debbie's instruction (admittedly, I really didn't know what I was looking to end up with). So I'm going to try topstitching what I have.

    F: Thanks!

    CGC: I went back and followed it all along again to confirm I didn't miss anything.

    Choco: I'm glad to hear you concur with my opinion about the directions. They're practically unintelligible! I think this pair may suffer slightly from a less wide overlap than I would have liked. Or maybe it will all work out. I don't think that starting again is in order because I really did follow Debbie's instructions to the letter. More understanding about HOW I was trying to overlap (consideration, really, of the finished product) would have been helpful. But that's what one's first efforts are for.

    Chutchings: Bras are not as scary as zippers! Really.

  9. Button fly! Easier and better.