Facing my Sewing Fear of Zippers

I never thought I’d be saying this but there are some things in the sewing world that scare me – like full stress and panic, clenched teeth, sweaty palms. So what do I do? I avoided them like the plague. And the one that really sets me into a tailspin – ZIPPERS!! Who knew something so innocent as a zipper could cause such angst!

In the past, I would seen a cute jacket or sweatshirt and there it would be, staring at me with it’s shiny teeth – the dreaded zipper! So I would do what any logical person would (absolutely not logical!) and first buy the pattern, print, tape and grade my size, buy oodles of @pheefabrics to make said project and finally stash it away for a future date when I would miraculously no longer fear the zipper.

The time finally has come – too many patterns sit sadly waiting to be sewn. I have wanted to make a jacket with @pheefabrics Supplex for the longest time. With fall creeping into the Northeast, I wanted to make one more than ever.  So first I headed to the Phee Fabrics Facebook group for moral support and then to this blog post on installing zippers on knits. 

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I was armed and figured if I was going to try and learn a new skill, I might as well go all in and found a pattern that had not one, not two but THREE ZIPPERS! The Evergreen Jacket from Hey June Patterns has a plethora of cool add-ons, but I was most interested in having a two tone affect with the bias zip and collar. I love the look of black, red and gold accents  – so cherry and black Phee supplex were the answer. 

I have never sewn a jacket, or any top for that matter, in @pheefabrics Supplex and now I feel like I have really been missing out! Phee Supplex is not only a game changer for leggings but also the exact weight and look I wanted in a jacket. It has a sporty feel and great weight for a seasonal transition piece. And since it’s not bulky, I can wear it throughout the colder months under my huge “I live in a cold place and on’t care if I look fashionable so I don’t freeze” winter coat 🙂

So off I went with my pattern and fabric, zippers and seam ripper (that got used far more than I care to admit) but I was determined. 

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Happy mid project progress selfie

Here’s what I found from my experience with sewing this jacket and zippers:

  1. DO NOT RUSH! If you have an appointment or are tired or stressed that day, it’s not the time to start on this project. I think jackets in general require some care and attention – after all these are more involved in construction than many of the other patterns I have sewn.
  2. In the same vein as above, take it SUUUUPPPERRR SLOOOWWW when actually working with the zippers. The entire project can be made on a regular sewing machine using a basic straight stitch (if you are using Supplex which does not fray). Do you see that little slider for speed on the needle, move it all the way to the far left (or the slowest speed possible on your machine.) This may seem a bit excessive, but even with it all the way down, the zippers will only take a few minutes to stitch in. This helps to prevent breaking needles (none were injured in the making of this jacket) and straight stitching.
  3. IMG_20191010_115727Use a zipper foot (if one is available)  – here is a close up of mine on my machine. If you do not own one, it may be possible to complete this jacket since the seam allowance is ⅜” but I would highly recommend trying to find one that will fit your machine. It really makes life easier.
  4. There is no such thing as too many pins. This really helps keep things straight and prevents the fabric from stretching and bunching when you are sewing.
  5. Make sure to read through the entire pattern first (this goes for any time you sew) – you can see here where I sewed the zipper into the wrong seam and had to rip EVERYTHING OUT! No fun!

I hope this helps you feel less intimidated by zippers and encourages you to try out something a bit more challenging – the result, in my opinion, is totally worth it!

-Liz-

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