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Learn a Standard Centered Zipper Application

Sew each side in the same direction
Threads #196, April/May 2018
When a centered zipper defines a garment’s back, it should be perfectly straight. A simple process ensures a zipper you can be proud of. Pattern: How To Do Fashion No. 6 København. Fabric: stretch denim, EmmaOneSock.com.

The standard centered zipper application never goes out of style. You may have studied garment construction in home economics class or followed the zipper’s package directions to teach yourself. However, you probably didn’t learn the fine details that make for a perfect application. Typically, a centered zipper is stitched down one side and up the other, but this can lead to zippers that curve to one side, even when the fabric is properly cut on grain. Patience, some basting and invisible tape, and directional stitching techniques all make the zipper lie perfectly straight.

Baste and stitch the zipper in place

Pave the way for a perfect centered zipper installation with preparatory steps. Basting is the key to holding the fabric and zipper in position. Invisible tape is your stitching guide. It is important to stitch both zipper sides in the same direction, ending in the seam at the tape guide bottom.

Mark and align garment for zipper location Pin zipper carefully in place.
1. Align the garment pieces right sides together. Mark the zipper’s bottom-stop location with a pin. Machine-baste the seam from the garment’s top edge to the pin. Remove the pin and adjust the stitch length to sew a regular seam. Back-tack, then sew the remainder of the seam. Press the seam allowances open. 2. With the garment wrong side up, center the closed zipper, right side down, on the opened seam allowances. Keep the top edge of the zipper tape flush with the top garment edge. Pin carefully in place.

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