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A Hand-Picked Zipper is Worth the Effort

A hand-picked, or hand-sewn, zipper is an easy-to-learn technique that calls attention to your handiwork.
A hand-picked, or hand-sewn, zipper is an easy-to-learn technique that calls attention to your handiwork.

A hand-picked, or hand-sewn, zipper is an easy-to-learn technique that calls attention to your handiwork.

by Susan Khalje
an excerpt from Sew Stylish

A hand-picked, or hand-sewn, zipper is sturdy and easy to master. It doesn't distort or pucker, is great for heavily embellished or delicate fabrics, and— best of all— calls attention to your handiwork.

1. Stabilize the zipper area with a strip of silk organza, chiffon crepe de chine or non-stretch, fusible interfacing. This prevents distorting and rippling over time. Gently tack in place along the foldline. Stabilize with organza
Pin from the right side View from the wrong side
2. Pin the closed zipper in place from the garment's right side. Starting at the zipper's upper right-hand side, center the folded edge of the fabric over the zipper pull and teeth. Lower the tape at the top to accommodate the pull; it will look right if you keep the stitches at an even distance from the fabric's folded edge.


3. Sew with a doubled thread. Starting at the top of the tape, stitch the zipper (unzipped) with a prickstitch on the fabric's right side. A prickstitch is a variation on the backstitch where you backtrack only slightly. The goal is to just barely see a bead of thread at each stitch. Stitches spaced 3D 8 inch apart and from the zipper's opening work well. Prickstitch

4. Make a stitch just below the open seam of the zipper and tie a knot; stitching across the zipper's base is unnecessary and only invites puckers. Next, stitch the zipper's other side. Start at the bottom left of the zipper and sew to the top. It's common to find a slight mismatch of the two zipper tape sides at the top edges, but it's easy to mask with the waistband or facing. If the mismatch is more than slight (if the fabric is distorted), take out your stitches and restitch. Stitch to the top
5. Add the final touch. It's easy to incorporate pearls, beads, or sequins onto your zipper placket. Pick up one or two beads with each stitch as you install the zipper, or go over the original hand-picked stitches once it's in place. Take one or two extra stitches to secure each bead. The final touch

More about Sew Stylish
This article has been excerpted from Sew Stylish, the first special publication from Threads. You'll learn sewing secrets, improve your sewing confidence, and create the latest styles.

Susan Khalje is a contributing editor to Threads.

Photos: Scott Phillips

Comments (9)

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woolgirl88 woolgirl88 writes: Thanks for this wonderful idea. I just made a wool blouse for the Oregon Make it with wool contest and did this technique and won the state contest and had great praise over my zipper.
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