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Zipper Problems

Kecia | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Hello Everyone,

I was wondering what to do when sewing in a zipper when you get to the bottom and there is almost a plastic substance at the bottom.  I am making a sporty jacket and it has a separating zipper up the front.  The last time I used one of these zippers I decided to use a larger needle (like 90 denim) and it did go through, but my sewing machine had to be repaired after that.  Something happened to the timing and the repair  was over $300 dollars.  My thought is just not sew right to the bottom, but I’m worried it might look sloppy.  This jacket is for my 15 year old granddaughter and you know how fussy they can be.  Does anybody have any ideas? 



  1. starzoe | | #1

    If you are hesitant about sewing through the plastic end, use an awl, large needle, or even a nail and make a few small holes in each side of the zipper end...place them in a triangle if you can arrange that. Now hand stitch to the jacket through the holes.

    I have always sewn right through the plastic and have never had a problem, but my machine is an older one and not cranky about things like that.

    1. Kecia | | #2

      Thank you so much for your suggestion. I think that's what I might try to do.


  2. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #3

    Your machine and needle (if the needle is sharp) should have pierced the plastic easily.  I am wondering how heavy the fabric you were sewing was.  Sometimes the heavier fabrics plus the equivalent of a heavy fabric in the plastic end was too much for the machine. 

    Make sure you have graded all your seam allowances enough to reduce bulk as well.  If your needle gets bent or pushed out of alignment, it can cause expensive damage to your machine, esp. the nylon or plastic parts in many bobbin compartments, and put the time out, if the machine is forced. 

    Try sewing through the plastic end of the zipper without any fabric first.  Try turning the machine by hand to see if it will work, rather than using your foot control at first.  If the machine resists at all, do not attempt to sew it by machine.  Just pierce it as the other poster suggested, and finish it by hand. 

    It is also possible that the one zip you used had an unusually heavy plastic end.  Check the ends of the zip on the new zip to make sure that it is not too heavy.  Flaws can happen.   The needle you were sewing your garment with should have been heavy enough to work with the end of the zipper.  Hope this helps you get your confidence back enough to try again.   Cathy 

  3. Teaf5 | | #4

    While I agree with the others that a heavy needle should have been enough for any machine to do this project, sometimes a project can be too heavy for a home-grade machine.

    In your jacket, I would interrupt the topstitching to the bottom of the jacket so that I could contiue it to the bottom of the jacket fabric while holding the plastic part away from the jacket edge; this would make the outside look like a continuous line of stitching. 

    Then, on the inside, I would use an upholstery or leather awl to punch holes into the plastic and use a upholstery/leather hand sewing needle to stitch the plastic tab to the inside of the turned-under fabric.  If you look at commercially made jackets, you'll see that the last 2" or so of jacket are not fastened by the zipper, even if the topstitching goes all the way to the hem.

    1. Kecia | | #5

      Thanks All,

      Thank you very much to all of you who answered my question about the zipper.  I have not been in my sewing room for a couple of days because I have been busy with other things.  I have lots of ideas to try.  I will let you know when it is done and how I managed.


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