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September 2010
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Zippers And How To Install Them

            Basically, there are three types of zippers – conventional, separating, and invisible.  Conventional zippers are closed at one end and sewn into a seam that is closed to the zipper placket.  Separating zippers are open at both ends and are sewn into a seam that will open completely.  The invisible zipper is constructed so it will disappear into a seam, and like the conventional zippers, it has one closed end.

HOW TO INSTALL ZIPPERS 

          Before any zipper is sewn into a garment, the placket seam should be seam finished and then, in most cases, basted and pressed open.  Preshrink the zipper to avoid puckering after laundering.  Immerse the zipper in hot tap water for a few minutes, roll in a towel to absorb the excess moisture, then allow it to air-dry.  If you expect a great deal of shrinkage from the fabric, preshrink the zipper twice (however we would highly recommend that you pre-shrink the fabric before cutting out the garment, to prevent any fitting problems that could occur from the shrinkage. 

          The use of a zipper adhesive eliminates basting and pinning, and it is excellent for fabrics that show needle and pin punctures.  It is basically a double-faced tape – for use, see the information accompanying the product.

            Shown below are three basic zipper applications and their uses – centered, lapped and separating.

          The centered application uses a conventional zipper, and can be positioned at the center front or back of a garment, at the edges of sleeves and in home decorating.

          The lapped application also uses a conventional zipper, and is most often used at the left side seam of slacks, skirts, and dresses. 

          The separating zipper may be sewn with either a centered or lapped application, and is used for jackets, vests and skirts.

          Next week we’ll begin the individual instructions on how to install the various types of zippers.

          These “how to” tutorials are an excerpt from our book “Basic Clothing Construction”.   This book is a handy addition to have in your sewing room, so you can refer to the various sewing tips and tutorials at any time

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Pattern Maker, Instructor & Author

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