Zipper Setting

Sometimes your zipper isn’t quite long enough for your project. Other times you don’t want the zipper teeth extending into the seams at the end. And still other times, you want to add a zipper pocket to what is otherwise a flat panel. This will do any of those things.

Setting the zipper and its ends

The first stitch “color” is the placement stitch, stitched directly on the stabilizer. (You can use the same color of thread throughout, but each color in the file is a different step.) Tape your zipper in place, making sure none of the metal stops or the pull fall on the stitch lines.

The second stitch color tacks the zipper in place. Unzip it far enough that the pull is inside the main placement rectangle.

The third stitch color will tack the zipper end pieces in place. Cut your fabric (and optionally lining) 1″ wide by the length you want (including seam allowance). Place the fabric over the zipper, face down, with the top edge overlapping the placement stitch by 1/8″. If you’re using a lining piece, put that on the bottom of the hoop with the right side against the stabilizer. After stitching the color, fold the fabric(s) over the stitching and finger-press in place. (Or iron it, if you can do that without removing it from the hoop. Tape it in place.

The fourth stitch color will top-stitch the zipper end pieces securely.

Repeat these steps for the other end of the zipper with the fifth and sixth colors.

If you’re just extending a zipper, you’re done now unless you want to baste everything together – in that case skip ahead and run the eighth and tenth (last) color. Now you can use the extended zipper in a zipper pouch design, or any other project you want.

Building a full panel

As you can probably guess, building a full panel is just more of the same. If you’re adding a zipper to a panel/pattern piece for another project, cut it with just a little extra in the dimension perpendicular to the zipper, since you’ll lose a little length to the fold (more with heavy vinyls, less with light cottons). Then just cut the panel where the zipper will go.

The seventh color will tack the left side pieces in place. Place the fabric face down on the hoop, aligning the left edge with the left edge of the placement stitching. If you’re using a lining piece, do the same with it on the bottom of the hoop. After stitching the color, fold the fabric(s) over the stitching and finger-press in place. (Or iron it, if you can do that without removing it from the hoop. Tape it in place.

The eighth color will top-stitch the left side pieces, as you have probably come to expect.

Repeat these steps for the other side of the panel with the ninth and tenth colors, and you’re done.

If you place another lining piece on the back of this (right sides together), you can use the whole panel in a project and end up with a fully lined pocket.

Modifying the file

As given, the file is set up for a 3.5″ zipper opening. You can use the SVG source file in Inkscape with Ink/Stitch to generate a new stitch file with a different zipper opening length.

The file also uses the full hoop length (for a 5×7 hoop) to extend the zipper ends, and to topstitch the panels down. If your work is smaller than this, you can just let it stitch past the fabric ends, but this means you’ll be cutting off the lock stitches. This is fine if you’re encasing them in a seam, but if you’re, say, using this to put an outside pocket on a mini-composition book cover, you might want to shorten those stitch lines as well.

It’s all just straight lines

Obviously, this is a super-simple technique, and there’s no reason you can’t just stitch straight lines on a conventional machine. It’ll save on stabilizer, and a conventional machine actually makes a more secure stitch (unless you adjust your embroidery machine’s tension to properly balance the stitches, at least).

This is copyrighted by Silver Seams in the year noted in its URL, and licensed under Creative Commons’ CC-BY-SA. This basically means you’re free to sell items you make from it, provided you give reasonable attribution, and that if you modify it you’re required to share your changes with the world under the same license (the actual legal bits are in the link).

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