PDP Exclusives by Rebecca

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Brooke Van Gory Zipper Tutorial

 Here you have it, Merry Christmas. You all have been BEGGING me to do a tutorial on how to do a zipper, so I went all out, taking as many pictures as I could. Now, for the record, I am very non-conventional when it comes to zippers. I have been doing them for so long, that I don't really use pins on a lot of parts that most people do. So rule of thumb, if you feel like it is gonna slip, pin it! And if you pin it, GO SLOW and take the pins out when you come to them. Anywhoo, you are going to need 2 squares of an outer fabric, 2 squares on an inner fabric, and one zipper. Cut the squares in the width of the zipper itself, and the other direction whatever looks good. This pouch is 9x7 with a 9" zipper.
 Now, always remember when you are sewing most anything, that if you sew fabric together, the RIGHT SIDES NEED TO BE TOUCHING. Otherwise you are going to be inside out. SO sandwich the sipper in between one of the printed pieces, and one of the inner pieces. The RIGHT side of each fabric should be touching the zipper. The TOP part of the zipper (the part that would be on the outside of the finished pouch) should be TOUCHING the outside fabric of your pouch.
 On your machine, you need to have on a zipper foot. See the foot on the right side? That is a zipper foot. Your user's manual will tell you how to swap out your feet. TRUST ME. Zippers are always better with a zipper foot.
 Sew a straight seam so that you are attaching the inner fabric/zipper/outer fabric.
 See? That zipper is all nice and warm right in between those two fabric pieces.
 And this, my friends, is what it will look like after that seam is done.
 And if you flip the fabric over, this is what you will have! A zipper sammich!!!!!!
 Now take the other two pieces of fabric, and do the same thing on the other side of the zipper.
 See? This is what you are going to be sewing. Remember that the RIGHT sides of the fabric TOUCH the zipper.
 After you complete that seam, this is what you will have. Don't cry, I know it looks weird, but then you work a little topstitch magic.

 You spread the fabric sides and inners to their correct sides, and topstitch a seam alongside each side of the sipper.
 During this step, go REALLY slowly. Still, to this day, even after taking over 10 hours of intense classes on sipper sewing ad constructing, I sometimes have to seam-rip this step, because the OTHER side of the inner gets caught up in my topstitch.
 So now you have this! Good job, you! You are doing GREAT!!!!!
 Now flip the pouch so that the two inner pieces are touching their right sides together, and the outer right sides are touching. Where the sipper is, it should look like this. Pinch the zipper so that the lines you just made on the outer fabric with your topstitch are lined up and touching.
 Then stick a pin right alongside that sipper, close to the teeth, to hold it in place.
 Pin the squares so that they don't shift while you are sewing them.
 Start sewing around the WHOLE pouch. When you get to the zipper go REALLY slowly, and remove the pin before you sew over it. I STILL to this day cringe when I sew over the zipper part. And be careful of the metal parts of the zipper, you don't want to hit those, you light lose an eye from a broken needle. ;)
 Leave a little section on the INNER fabric part of the pouch, so you can flip it right-side-out.
 Here is my pouch flipped!! Now all you have to do is to stitch the opening shut, and press it if you want, and you are done!
I know a lot of this may seem really confusing, and a bit overwhelming. But be confident, go slowly, and practice. A LOT! GO to the bargan area of your local fabric store, and just pick up some old zippers for cheap, and sew them into pouches with old fabric scraps. When I first started zippers years ago, I think everyone I knew got a really badly sewn zipper pouch "just because" I was still perfecting my skills. And now, I admit, I have a bit of a zipper obsession. I love them.

I hope this helped, and I hope you all enjoyed this tutorial. Please ask any questions in the comments section, I can respond to them there!

Brooke is the owner and seamstress at Brooke Van Gory Designs. She lives in The Chicago suburbs with her two kiddos, and her rock star husband! You can shop BVG here, and follow her on Google+ here.


  1. Even though I don't think I'm gonna start sewing any time soon, this is still the kinda tutorial I'd need if I were! Thanks Brookers!