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How to Prepare to Sew a Lapped Zipper with a Sewing Machine

Learn how to prepare to sew a lapped zipper with a sewing machine from designer Jennifer Wiese in this Howcast tutorial.


Hi. I'm Jennifer from Workroom Social, and today I'm going to show you how to install a left zipper. So, the first thing you want to do is take your fabric and take your zipper and mark the bottom of your zipper.

So, to do that, I'm just going to lay my zipper where I want it to go. I'm going to take my scissors and clip a small notch right below the end of the zipper stop. Now, if you're making a garment from a sewing pattern, this information will be on your pattern. So you don't have to measure the zipper to make this notch. It'll just come on your pattern pieces.

And then, what I want to do is I want to take my fabric and sew the seam below the zipper. So, I'm going to put my fabric in my machine, lining up the notch that we made in line with our needle. And using our seam guide at five-eighths of an inch, that's going to be our seam allowance.

So, we'll get that in place. Make sure that your machine is on straight stitch. And for this seam, I'm going to use a 2.5 stitch length and I'm going to sew my straight line. Now, I'm going to backstitch when I start because I want to make sure that this thread has no chance of unraveling. And then, you'll just continue down and sew the entire seam. Then when you're done, you can just clip your threads.

And now, before we start with the zipper installation, we need to take this fabric to our iron. So, now that we have our fabric prepared, we need to go ahead and do a couple of things before we actually put in the zipper. So, you're going to take your fabric and put it so wrong side is up facing you. And you're going to take one side of the seam allowance and press it back half of an inch.

So, our seam allowance for this project was five-eighths of an inch. And by turning under this half of an inch, we're creating an eighth of an inch lip to hide our zipper. So, you'll just press until you get to the notch that you made on one side. And then, if you flip your fabric over, you see now how this portion is kind of laying underneath this portion because we have this one-eighth of an inch line at the top.

So, now we can take this and put our zipper on and sew our zipper in. So, now that we've pressed our underlap side down, we're going to take our zipper and line it up with that seam. So, this pressed seam, we're going to put just to the outside of the zipper teeth. And then, we're going to take our zipper stop and place it just right where that notch is located. And you can go ahead and pin this in place.

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