Blind Stitch Centred Zipper – how to ….
This will be my first installment in a series of how- to- insert zippers into your garments. This first method shows how you can use a common stitch on your sewing machine to insert a Blind Hem Centred Zipper into any garment.
One of my students – Vicki P – was making Burda Skirt 7069 – and at first she applied an invisible zipper as the fabric was textured and given the sleek look of the skirt we didn’t want to have any top stitching on the garment.
The skirt itself was quite fitted, had a shaped yoke/waistband and intersecting CB seam line. The shaped band has to be interfaced(fused) so it was quite bulky and the invisible zipper was to fragile to handle both the fitted nature of the skirt and bulky seams.
So I had to think about an alternative – hence this Blind Stitch Centred Zipper application method.
CB seam is basted closed. The seam is then pressed open.
By closing the CB seam we can ensure that all seam junctions are matching perfectly.
Zipper is pinned to seam allowance only. Ensure that you are only pinning through the seam and not to the body of the garment.
Using your sewing machines zipper foot- stitch zipper tape to seam allowance only. You will have to stitch down one side of the tape. Cut your threads and then stitch up the other side of the tape. At no time are you stitching through to the body of the garment.
On the correct side of the garment (using a large basting stitch) – stitch down either side of the closed seam approx 5mm each side to approx 1cm longer than your zipper opening. This is a holding stitch that anchors the turned edge of garment to then use the blind hem stitch.
Select your blind stitch pattern on your machine. The above photo shows that I have a choice of 2 stitch patterns. No. 6 pattern is a blind hem stitch with a combined zig-zag formation ( that is suitable for hemming knits) and pattern No. 11 is a blind hem stitch with a straight stitch with zig-zag pick – this would be used for any woven fabric hems. For this blind stitch centered zipper method either stitch will work and in the photos below you will see the outcome for both stitch patterns.
Before you starting stitching you will need to un-pick approx 5cms of the basted zipper opening at the top. As you will be stitching very closely to the basted seam line the blind-hem presser foot will not go past the bulkiness of the zipper pull, so this allows you to un-zip the top part of the zipper to get past it with your foot.
Un-zip your zipper down the the 5cms mark. Working on the wrong side of the garment, fold back the body of the piece against the basting stitches. Fit your machine with the blind-hem foot and adjust your guide until the “pick stitch” only catches a small amount of your folded edge. You may need to try a sample piece of fabric first, and the “pick” or zig-zag stitch shouldn’t be too wide. You can adjust either the width of the zig-zag ( if your machine allows) or adjust the moveable guide. If you see my photo above, you will notice that I have a screw adjustment as part of my guide positioning.
Start stitching down one side for approx 3-4 cms and then stop with machine needle in the fabric. Raise your presser foot and pull zipper up closed. Then continue stitching down the side of the folded edge to approx 1cm past the zipper opening ( same length as the basted stitch line ) , cut your threads, turn the work around, and stitch up the other side.As you near the top of the seam you will have to open the zipper again to get past the pull.
At no time do you stitch across the zipper end as you may in a regular zipper application. Remember to utilize the 5 cms of open seam at the top of the zipper to allow you to un-zip the top part of your zipper to give your machine foot easy passage.
As you can see in the photo above I have used the “straight” blind hem stitch and the “pick” or zig-zag stitch has just picked up a small thread or weave on the edge of my fold. As the zipper is already basted to the seam line I don’t have to catch the zipper in this stitch. I am only catching the edge of garment to the seam allowance.
These photos show a sample piece with both variations of my machines blind-hem stitch. The one on the left is the “straight stitch” blind-hem (pattern No.11) and the one on the right shows the “zig-zag” blind hem (pattern No.6) Both work equally as well so for this zipper method.
Wrong side of the seam showing the blind-hem stitch formation. This is only stitched to the seam allowance, not through the body of the garment.
The above are samples showing the correct side of the fabric with the formation of the “pick” stitches. I have intentionally used a contrast stitch so you can see how they are formed. The photo on the left shows the seam closed after completion of the stitch and the photo on the right shows the basted seam starting to be un-picked.
And this is the finished product – A Blind-Stitched Centered Zipper application. The fabric that Vicki chose was quite an open weave with a contrast slubby texture and it was an ideal choice to use this zipper method. The zipper is fully functional and as the zipper was first stitched to the seam allowance and then “blind-hemmed” it is also firm and stable. As you can see from the photos you do not see any line of stitching on the correct side of the fabric.
And here is a picture of Vicki in her workplace proudly wearing her skirt.
I hope that you have learnt something new .
Cheerio and Good luck to you all. Ann from Designer Stitch School of Fashion and Design.