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November 03, 2022
Hi, I’m Emily.
I have a weird obsession that many sewists don’t have: I LOVE zippers and buttons. I’ve sewn many zipper jackets for my kids and absolutely love sewing them! So, I’ve decided to share a few tips on sewing a zipper jacket!
Today I’m using the new Maverick from Little Lizard King which is loaded with options!
When I asked my kid what she liked for the jacket, she immediately told me UNICORN.
Thankfully RCF has a lot of prints available in the designer studio and a great selection of solids that I can use to coordinate.
I chose the cotton french terry for the unicorn prints and solid cotton jersey for the cuffs and lining.
For sewing zippers on knits, I often like to add a thin strip of iron-on interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric where you’ll add the zippers. Although it does add some thickness while you sew, it provides stability and will be much easier to sew the zippers without worrying fabrics stretched out.
While you can most certainly add after you’ve cut out your fabrics, I found it easier for me to apply the interfacing after I traced the pattern and before I cut out.
Here I applied a 1” wide interfacing, so after the front side is cut into 2 mirrored pieces, it’ll be ~½” on the wrong side of the fabrics.
Like many things in life, zippers come in many sizes and shapes. While some patterns doesn’t include the size you should be getting, Maverick specifically mentioned #5 separating zippers.
So the number of the zipper is based on the teeth width. #5 zipper would be ~5mm width when the zippers are zipped. I usually like #3 zipper when making outfits for my kids.
The length of the zipper is referred to the actually zipable length of the zipper teeth. So if you order a 16” zipper jacket, chances are your actual zipper tape will measure slightly more than 16” since there’s the fabrics.
As of the zipper type (referring to the teeth), there are metal (not pictured), nylon coil and molded tooth. I think I like the molded tooth more than the nylon coil out of no reason, they’re equally great!
Just remember, you can always trim the excess length out of the zipper and you can add the top zipper stopper using kits or sew them in, but you can’t really work with a shorter zipper unless you’re willing the sacrifice to have a shorter zipper on your garment.
Tools I’ve used to hold the zippers onto the fabrics including washable wonder tape (double sided) and also glues. Fabric glues are great but just regular school glues would work too! I also use clips and pins a lot. The purpose of these are holding zippers to your fabrics without moving or shifting, so you can sew with ease.
One thing about sewing the zipper jacket that I think many people don’t enjoy is making sure your seams match. While many tutorials tell you to sew on one side then the other, I found it easier to position both zippers at the beginning, draw marking lines and check on the positioning.
After I have the zippers positioned, I would turn to the right side to make sure things all look good and adjust if needed.
The zipper foot allows you to sew the zipper from either side of it without hassle. You can also use this foot to sew pipings.
(image from Babylock.com)
Sewing zippers is not hard, just takes patience and practice. The more you sew, the more confidence you have.
For Maverick, you sewed most of the part and leave a gap on the zipper tape where your zipper pull lies. I really like this way cause this avoids you having to move the zipper pull out of your way while sewing.
Closing the jacket means that you topstitch and close the small gap you left for turning the piece. I used a short piece of the wonder tape again so it helps to hold things in place like basting stitches do.
And… voila! The zipper jacket is done with the beautiful fabrics from RCF.
A few more zipper projects that I really love including:
Hope this sharing helps some of you who were hesitant about sewing a zipper have some courage and try it!
If you want to see more of my sewing projects, head to my Instagram and I’m always sewing!
*The fabrics were sponsored by RCF*
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