Saturday, July 5, 2014

Banish the fear of Zippers

If you have a fear of Zippers or just have not yet had the chance to sew something that requires a zipper,then this is a project to cut your teeth on!

Last week while sewing up all these sweet little vinyl pouches I took photos along the way,just in case any of you would like to make some of your own.

So here we go...

Supplies needed:

Normally I use Heat-N-Bond vinyl for this type of project however,my local Joann's does not carry that brand anymore.  So I purchased this brand instead.

1 Piece of vinyl fuse (any brand) 7 1/2" x 5"
1 scrap of fabric 7 1/2" x 5"
1 7" or longer zipper (if you have experience with zippers you can use a six inch,but it will be a tight fit)

pinking shears
bone folder (if you have one) I just finger pressed instead
zipper foot

This is my scrap of fabric,zipper and vinyl piece.

The first thing we will be doing is attaching the vinyl to our piece of scrap fabric.  I always start in one corner of the piece of paper backed vinyl and peel back the vinyl away from the paper.

After peeling the vinyl off of the paper carefully position it tacky/sticky side down,on the right side of your fabric.

Next place the glossy or slick side of the paper backing on the right side of your fabric.  On top of the vinyl.

 Note*in the photo above the paper with the grid is the Heat-N-Bond brand paper backing,while the plain one at the top is the Pellon brand) The nice thing about the grid on the back of the paper is that it makes it easy to know which side to place down.  Also it is very easy to measure and then cut on the lines as well.

 The next step is to fuse the vinyl to the fabric.  To do this place your iron onto the paper and press,holding the iron in each spot for 8 seconds,just like you are fusing an interfacing.
Turn your fabric over and press on the wrong side for 4 seconds.

Now we are ready start attaching the zipper to the fabric.  Lay your zipper right side up on your work surface,then lay your fabric wrong side up on top of the zipper. Making sure to center the fabric between the zipper ends.  (Mine is very close because I used a 6 inch zipper) Pin the fabric to the zipper to keep it in place.

Take your zipper foot and attach it to your machine.  Mine looks like this,different brands all look a bit different but yours should look similar to this.

Using a 1/4 inch seam sew the zipper to the fabric.  This is really very easy if you have a longer zipper,because there will be plenty of space between the ends and you will not have to try and maneuver around the zipper pull.

Lay your fabric with zipper attached back down on your work surface,with fabric right side down.

Flip the fabric down so it is now right side up.  Use your bone folder,or fingers to press along the top edge of the fabric.  Do Not press with your iron or you will Melt the vinyl!

Take the bottom of the fabric and fold it up even with the top edge of the zipper,pin and sew a 1/4 inch seam just like before.

Unzip the zipper 3/4 of the way and turn right side out.

Sit back and pat yourself on the back,you just inserted a zipper!

 Remove the zipper foot from your machine.  Before replacing with your regular foot you will need to place some tape (I use painters tape,but you can use masking or scotch tape too) on to the bottom of the foot.  This will make the foot glide over the vinyl instead of sticking to it.

Open up your zipper so that you can topstitch along both sides of it.

Topstitch an 1/8 inch from the edge of the zipper on both sides.

Turn wrong side out,and make sure that the zipper is only zipped about a quarter of the way from the end.  Meaning that the zipper is actually 3/4 of the way open.  Here you need to decide where the zipper placement will be on the pouch.  You can leave it centered like this and your zipper will be in the center of the pouch.

Or you can fold the pouch so that the zipper is closer to the top of the pouch.  Totally your choice.

Again using a 1/4 inch seam sew each end of the pouch closed.  Making sure to backstitch at the start and end.  Also make sure to sew back and forth over the zipper several times,so that this part of the seam is strong and will stand up to being zipped open and closed.

Take your pinking shears and cut both ends of the zipper off.

Now turn your pouch right side out.

Take your chopstick and gently push out the corners.

How easy was that?  Not nearly as bad as you thought right!  Enjoy your new little water resistant pouch.

I would love to see yours and hear about your first or one hundred and first zipper sewing experience!


  1. Darling little pouch! Are these for a craft show or gifts?

  2. Do you think it would be possible to put vinyl on the wrong side of the fabric for easy wiping? Your pouches are really cute!


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