Monday, 25 April 2016

How to Sew an Invisible Zip and make it truly Invisible





How do you sew and make an invisible zip truly invisible?
 the best way to truly make it invisible is to use a zipper foot. There is a presser foot specifically designed for inserting invisible zips but the one that I have used is an ordinary  zipper foot. While searching for images, my search revealed that what I have is actually a piping foot or is it an elastic foot?
Whatever! This is what it looks like below. You can get it in a sewing machine repair and accessories place for around 500 naira.  It is useful when  sewing zips, when sewing against raised surfaces, when piping and when inserting elastic.  With the help of an inbuilt mechanism, the positioning of the foot is adjustable, that is you can either place the foot either to the left or to the right of your needle.


Below are what a regular presser feet from the typical black head, zigzag machine and piping foot look like. The attachment also works on both machines.





If your sewing machine is the fancier looking type or an Industrial, then you need a zipper/piping/elastic foot specific to your type/brand of sewing machine. That is that about presser foot.

1.For this tutorial you need an 8 inch zip (suitable for skirts), zipper foot then the pieces you need to apply the zip to. This tutorial assumes the zip is applied to the Centre back of a skirt and "Left" and "right" refers to your left and right of the back skirt as it would be worn respectively. Also, “Correct side” refers to the right side of the fabric,  that is the side seen from the outside, this is to avoid confusions.

2. ensure that the zipper allowance is exactly half an inch.
 I know people tend to favour zip allowances of at least an inch but this method is faster. Just try it. Also make sure the zip allowance edge is finished  (if you intend to finish it with zigzag, overlock stitches or other) before applying the zip. You then have to take into account the amount that will be taken in by the finishing operation. For instance, If I want an overlocked zip allowance edge and I know my overlocker trims of 1/4" distance off my seams, then I will make the zip allowance 3/4" of an inch, overlock it (which trims off 1/4") and be left with the half an inch that I require for the invisible zip application. The zip allowance in this tutorial isn't finished.

3. take the zip, letting the front of the zip face you, mark the zip tape on the left as LF (that is left front), mark the zip tape to your right as RF (right front). I have also  zigzag-cut the edges that represent the side seams  to differentiate from the zip allowance edge, I also labelled the wrong side of the fabric with "left" and "right". In the picture below, both the fabric and zip are correct faces up just like when worn.

4. Flip the zip and skirt pieces to the back, and label on the zip, directly behind LF as LB (that is left back) and label directly behind RF as RB (right back). This is done in red marker

5. on the zipper tapes (both left and right), mark how far you want to sew the zip from the top edge of skirt. I prefer to stop about I inch short of the lower zip stopper for easier sewing. Measure and mark this distance on the zip allowance of the skirt both right and left sides. This mark on the zip tape must align with that on the skirt when sewing and care must be take not to sew beyond these marks on both the left and right sides.
















NOTE: the left side of the zip sews to the left of your skirt while the right side sews to the right of your skirt.

6. align the left tape to the left side of the skirt with the LF of the zip facing the correct side of the skirt fabric. That is you are faced with the LB of the zip and the correct side of the skirt fabric.
 


7. Align the edge of the tape to the raw edge of the skirt, adjust the presser foot such that the foot is to the right of the needle. Use your left hand to open up the groove of the zip coil. Place your needle in the groove and start sewing.( you might have to derail a bit when you get to where the upper stopper is).

8. Continue sewing while you continue to use your left hand to open up the groove as you sew while you use your right hand to align the zip tape to the edge of the left side of the skirt. My right hand is not shown in the pix as I needed it to snap the picture. Do not forget that the sewing takes place from the correct side of the fabric. Make sure that you sew exactly in the ditch of the groove. If you don’t sew close enough then your zip would be visible. Take care that your needle doesn’t sink over or into the coil as you sew otherwise you won't be able to zip up.

9. Stop sewing and back stitch when you get to the stop mark on the zip ( which should coincide with the mark on the fabric)
.

The image below is of the wrong side when flipped. If you have aligned the edge of the zip tape to the edge of the fabric, then sew exactly in the ditch, you will automatically have sewn half an inch zip allowance. Yeah, the distance from the edge of the tape to the ditch is exactly half an inch, that is why we have used half an inch as our zip allowance, it makes it easier believe me. You can see the pix that I have two rows of stitching at the upper part, that’s because I didn’t sew close enough the first time, so I stopped and started again. We are done with the left side.


10. In preparation for sewing the right side, flip the left to correct side and zip up like below

11.Pick up your right skirt piece, and place it on top of the left side with the correct side of fabric facing each other. Align the sewing allowance edge of the right piece to right  zip tape (labelled as RF ). Pin with a single pin.

12. You can now unzip and then flip to the correct side of the right piece to sew the right zip tape. If you have done the above step correctly, the RF of the zip is facing the correct side of the fabric and you are faced with the RB of the zip and the correct side of fabric. Re-Align the zip allowance edge to the edge of the tape if necessary.


13. To sew the right side, adjust the presser foot such that the presser feet is to the left of the needle.

Ensure before you start sewing that the zip and skirt pieces aren't not twisted anywhere by stretching out the skirt pieces in opposite directions and as shown in the picture below. If it is in any way twisted, then you are wrong.


14. Use your right hand to open up the groove of the zip coil. Place your needle in the groove and start sewing. continue sewing while you continue to use your right hand to open up the groove as you sew while you use your left hand to align the zip tape to the edge of the left side of the skirt.
 

15. Again, stop sewing and back-stitch when you get to the stop mark on the zip (which should coincide with the mark on the fabric).

16. You can now pull the zipper close. Hopefully you didn’t sew over or into the coil.


17. The next stage is to finish off the rest of the centre back seam which until now remained unsewn.
 
18. Still using your zipper foot (with the presser foot adjusted to the left of the needle), align the two sides of the skirt as you would if you wanted to sew the centre back seam. Sew something like a short dart starting about 1/2" above the where the zip stitching stopped to about 1/2 " below. Starting as close as you can get to the zip seam (the truth is that you cannot get close so you start behind the original zip seam and then come back on track to continue to sew in the normal zip seam hence the dart)


19. Change your presser feet to the regular and continue sewing the centre back seam using the allowed 1/2".

     20.Turn to the correct side, Viola! Can you tell where the zip seam stopped and the CB seam started?
 Invisible (actually, if you zoomed well enough you might see)


The end. Hope you found this tutorial helpful.

10 comments:

  1. It was really helpful. Thanks alot.

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    1. You are welcome Yinka and thanks for stopping by.

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  2. Thanks a bunch

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  3. I'm happy to see this tutorial from a Nigerian. Hope to see more of this. Thanks a lot

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. Really am glad to see this n thanks for. Good work.I als hope ur patterns will include plus sizes.

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    1. Thank you too. The size range for the patterns will be from Bust-Waist-Hip 32-28-36 inches(Size 6)to 46-40-48 inches (size 20)

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