Time for another Ladies Tailoring post, readers.
In our last class we learned how to insert a lapped zipper. You're probably familiar with these: a back (or side) zipper with a little covering (i.e. lap) over the top that covers the zipper itself.
To practice, our professor had us cut two pieces of fabric, 9" x 9". These will represent the two back pieces of our skirt between which the zipper will be inserted. Using tailor's tacks (trust me: they get easier the more you use them), trace a 1" seam allowance, stitching with the right sides of your fabric together. Pull the pieces apart and cut through the center of the thread loops. This leaves two identical sides.
Since this is supposed to be the center back seam of the skirt, we're going to stitch up about 1" to where there's a notch in the center back seam of the skirt. We will press this seam open.
Our zipper needs to be at least as long as the opening. Mine's about 10". Any extra length will be cut off when we add our waistband. NOTE: extra zipper length should stick out at the top, not at the bottom.
Now, with the fabric right side up, turn the zipper right side down. You're going to be stitching the left side of the downward-facing zipper to the right back side of the skirt.
Line up the zipper teeth to your tailor's tacks. Remember, the zipper is going to be folded back along the tacked line so that, from the front, it will be the right side of your zipper.
|When you fold the seam allowance under, the zipper teeth will be visible|
Place the zipper on your fabric, making sure the bottom zipper stop is just above the point where the two pieces of fabric are joined together. Again, the zipper is facing down and we're stitching only the left side of the downward-facing zipper.
Stitch with your zipper foot up against the zipper teeth, from the bottom edge of the tape to the top of your fabric. Again, the zipper is facing down. Don't worry about your stitches where you're stitching around the slider; we'll be stitching again from the top side.
When you've finished, fold the seam allowance under. The right side of the fabric faces up, and so does the zipper. Now edgestitch up along the zipper's edge, from the point where the zipper is visible to the top of the fabric. (Later this stitch line will be covered by the lap.)
|Second line of stitching: seam allowance folded under and zipper and fabric facing up.|
With the zipper closed, match the tailor's tacks on both sides of the skirt (i.e., on the two pieces of fabric). The line where they match up will be edge of the lap. Leaving your tailor's tacks in place, whipstitch the lap closed. (I used red thread so it would be clearly visible.)
You're now going to attach the other side of your zipper. Turn your fabric over, wrong side up.
Stitch down the unattached side of the zipper tape, along its outer edge, attaching it to the seam allowance on the left side of skirt. NOTE: make sure you are sewing only through the zipper tape and the seam allowance. All the other layers of fabric must be flipped out of the way!
Next, stitch along the zipper tape itself, a second parallel line of stitching.
Turn your work right side up.
With chalk, trace down a line 1/2" from the edge of the lap and parallel to it, and then across just beneath the bottom of the zipper stop. It must be below it or your needle will hit the metal stop.
|My chalk line extends past the bottom of the lap (the short heavy chalk line); it shouldn't.|
Now topstitch along the chalk line. Make sure you are clear of the zipper itself, which you should be able to feel beneath the lap. When the stitching is done, remove basting stitches and tailor's tacks.
Using a press cloth, lightly press the lap so that it lies flat over the zipper. The zipper should open and close easily and the lap should form a perfect rectangle.
You can also prick stitch along the edge of the lap rather than use a sewing machine as I did above. That gives a more handmade look to your finished garment.
And that's it. I hope you've found this tutorial to be helpful -- and clear.
Have a great day, everybody!