Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Week 14 Craft: How to Install an Invisible Zipper

Invisible zippers.  They're invisible, so it must be because of some ancient evil magic, right?  Well, that's what I always thought.  It turns out the magic is in the sewing foot you use.  I've always been lead to believe that you can put in an invisible zipper by just using your machine's zipper foot...WRONG!  If you already know how to install invisible zippers than read no further, but if (like me) have been stymied by them read on.

My father has been on a mission lately to get rid of all the "stuff" cluttering their house and his way of doing this has largely been by offering it to my sister and I.  Last week the "stuff" I inherited came in the form of a beautiful crocheted bedspread that one of my great aunts made.  Well, when I say made, what I mean was she was working on it...and didn't complete it before she died (about 40 years ago).  Somehow it passed from relative to relative until it ended up with me.  My guess is that everyone had every intention of finishing this work of art, but never got around to it.  One look at the amount of work that still needed to be done and the size of the teeny tiny crochet hook and I think everyone gave up.  Heck, for all I know it's what killed my great aunt!

It's beautiful, isn't it?  And that's why I couldn't just throw away this partially crocheted bedspread from 1948.  Long story short, I decided to make it into pillows.  Which is why I am doing this tutorial on invisible zippers.  Whew!  I knew the dots would eventually connect.

So here's what you need for a 15" pillow:
2 squares of fabric 16"x16"
1 14" invisible zipper
1 invisible zipper foot
1 16" pillow form
Sewing machine and thread

You can purchase an invisible zipper foot for as little as $5.99; no more excuses for not having one.  Below are a couple of photos that show you what they look like.  Word of caution: when you start to sew make sure your needle is set to go through the small hole!

This pillow uses a 1/2" seam allowance.  This makes life easy because you just line the edge of the zipper tape with the edge of the fabric.  If you are using a 5/8" seam allowance it makes life much easier if you run a row of basting 5/8" in from the edge of your fabric so you have a "marker" to easily line your zipper up with.  

Unzip the zipper.  You will notice the teeth roll in slightly.  With your iron set on synthetic iron this roll flat.  Place the top selvage of the zipper tape 1" from the corner an pin the right side of the zipper to the right side of your fabric.
I think a picture will be more helpful than a description.  The zipper coil is the rounded piece you see in the "right" channel of the zipper foot.  Sew in place.    

Sew as far as you can without running into the zipper pull.  Repeat for the other side. 

  Pull the zipper closed and place your two pieces of fabric right sides together.  Switch to your machine's regular zipper foot.  Sew the section from the corner to top stop on the zipper.  Pull bottom of the zipper away from the fabric and sew the bottom section starting where your previous stitching stopped and ending at the corner.

Zipper being pulled away from fabric

 Congratulate yourself; you have just completed an invisible zipper!

Open the zipper about 6" (so you can get your hand back through to turn the pillow) and sew the other three sides of the pillow together.  Clip the corners and turn right side out.

Insert your pillow form.  Hint: your pillow will appear fuller if you make your pillow cover an inch or so smaller than your pillow form.

I carefully cut a section of the bedspread and hand stitched it to the pillow.

Voila!  Gotta go; I have three more pillows to make for my sisters and sister in law.

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