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Mika Day 7

October 21, 2008

IMG_0837I know you all thought that this day would never come, but it has.  Be careful what you wish for…this is my first attempt at a zipper.  It turned out pretty well, but is by far not perfect.  I’ll slap my pride down and just show it to you.  Some of the pictures are horrible, too, sorry about that.  I’m still getting used to the lighting in my new house.

Today, you will need a zipper.  I picked a light colored one so that you could see it well against the dark pants.  I also chose a zipper that was too long so that I could show you how to shorten it.

Again, I have never, ever sewn a zipper before.  I used Nancy’s sew-a-long as a guide…hers was perfection, so what I do here will be a poor imitation of that.  She used labels and everything.

We need to prepare the things we are using.  First, we need to make a placket.  This piece will be what you see when the pants are unzipped.  It is in back of the zipper.  I cut mine the same length as where the zipper will go (actually a little longer), and I cut it slightly wider than the zipper.  I probably could have gone even wider here.  This is folded in half, so when I say wider than the zipper, I mean when folded in half.


Now, serge one short side and the long side opposite the fold.


My zipper is way, way, way too long.  That means we need to shorten it.  It is a very simple process.  The back of my zipper had directions for doing this, as you can see below.


Determine the length that you need the zipper to be.  I did this by holding the zipper where it will be placed in the pants.  You can mark this in some way…by pin or chalk mark.  I already had my needle and thread ready, so I just starting sewing where I placed my finger. 

Simply, sew 8 or 10 times around the teeth of the zipper in the spot that you determined.  Then, cut about a half an inch below this sewing.  It really is that simple.  I used a thicker quilting thread to make sure it was extra secure and durable.


Here’s what you will have when you have shortened the zipper.


Now, to get an idea of where we are going, it may be helpful to look at a pair of brand jeans that you have at home.  Keep in mind that we are doing the boys’ version…girls’ pants open on the opposite side.



Take your pants and iron the zipper spots…I don’t know what else to call them at the moment.  If you are looking at them, the left side will be ironed straight up the crotch seam.  The right side will be ironed overlapping the center seam a little.  Nancy said 3mm,but I did mine with a slightly larger overlap.

Here’s the shots of the ironed zipper sides.


The below shot shows that the right needs to overlap a little to cover the zipper…unless, you like for your zipper to show.


Take your placket piece (the one that goes behind the zipper.  Line your zipper up like the shot below. Make sure that you have your zipper foot on your machine.  Every machine is different, so make sure you consult your maual.

Now, if you are looking at it…sew down the left side of the zipper.  You can see my red stitching below.

You may have to open your zipper slightly, sew past the top of the zipper.  Then, keeping your needle down, raise your foot, close the zipper, and continue sewing down the zipper. 


Now, take this piece and line it up to the left side of the zipper spot in the pants.  Like the shot below, then, stitch in place.  Again, you’ll probably have to open your zipper to get past the first part.




Now, we need to sew the other side together.  This is what it will look like.  Test it before we begin…make sure everything is lined up correctly.


Here’s another shot before we begin stitching.  The right side should cover the zipper.


Now, pin the zipper in place with the fold closed like above.  Then, run a stitching line down the zipper and front.  I sewed this from the back so that I could see the zipper as I stitched.


Here’s what it looks like from the outside with the zipper open.



Let’s topstitch the zipper in place.  This will make the pants look a little nicer and help keep the side of the zipper from flapping about.  You can use a decorative liscense here.  The stitching can be whatever you wish…you can use whatever color you wish.  I stuck with the red and went flat across the bottom.

It isn’t perfect, but I think it will work.  I learned a lot while putting this in.  I’m not as scared of zippers anymore.  I think with practice I can get better.  I’m sure all of you out there will have a lot better looking zippers than this 🙂  As you can see my pants do a little funky thing in the crotch…maybe I can poke that out to look better.




Well, we are done with the hardest part of this sew-a-long.  I’m so sorry it took me so long to get you guys this day.  I’ll have the waistband done really, really soon.  That means our pants will be done!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 21, 2008 1:56 am

    Hi Melissa,

    You did a great job with your first zipper!!

    If you place the left zipper tape edge on the left edge of the zipper facing, you’ll later have more space for your button. It’s what experience has teached me ;O) Also I topstitch the edge of the right fly side and the crotch seam before stitching the zipper facing to the left fly side. That way it will look like a “professional” zipper fly from a jeans manufacturer.

    Greetings from Germany,

  2. October 21, 2008 6:46 pm

    How do you find time for it all? Nice work on the little pants–always a challenge to try something new. Good luck with the moving.

  3. wondermommy permalink
    October 21, 2008 7:04 pm

    It really is a challenge. My son being in school all day now really helps. My husband is really understanding. And…I neglect the housework sometimes 🙂

  4. Fledgling permalink
    October 23, 2008 9:32 pm


    I’m sorry I haven’t checked in a couple of days!

    Rome wasn’t built in a day, but a zipper fly can be learned in two pair of trousers. PROMISE.

    And you’ll have many more years to sew for that handsome devil (and repair the $100 jeans he just HAD to have when he’s even older…)

    Just awesome, dear Mellissa. You’ll get the hang of it.

    XOXO -N.

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