Exposed Zipper Tutorial

Now you see it….Back Zipper 13

Some zippers are not meant to be seen—they’re dutifully hidden under plackets that lap or meet at the center sewn purposely to keep them under wraps.

But, today’s Fashion Zippers are made to be seen!  Coats Fashion zippers are available in colorful tapes in fun print motifs and solids in bright rainbow colors, so why not show them off? You can do that in two ways, depending on your preference and the fabric you’re working with. Both methods begin with the same steps:

  1. Measure the zipper teeth length, including the stop. Add the seam allowance for the upper closure and draw a line along the zipper placement. Note that this could be a center back seam, center front or some other place for decoration. It could also be a pocket where both ends of the zipper opening are contained, making a window.
  2. Draw one line on each side of the center a scant 1/2″ away, and draw a line across the bottom. (Fig.1) Adjust the box width depending on how much of the zipper you want to see in the finished underlapped application.

    Draw box for opening
    Fig 1. Draw box for opening
  3. With right sides together, place the facing fabric under the project opening location.
  4. Stitch along the drawn lines. Cut down the center, stopping 1/2″ from the end(s). To make square ends, carefully clip into the corners. (Fig.2)

    Fig 2 Cut stitched box, lower point
    Fig 2 Cut stitched box, lower point
  5. Press the seams open and then press the facing seam to the wrong side, creating a faced opening to showcase the zipper. (Fig 3)

    Fig. 3 Faced opening, right side
    Fig. 3 Faced opening, right side

Now, comes the decision…do you want the zipper to sit on the top of the opening, showcasing the entire width of the tape, or do you want the zipper under the opening, showcasing a little less of the colorful zipper tape? Either way, the fabric edges are finished and the underside will be neat.

  1. For a totally exposed zipper, press under the lower zipper tape ends. Place the zipper over the faced opening and pin in place, just catching the faced edges. Topstitch the zipper tape in place, very close to the edges. (Figs. 4a, 4b) Use a matching shade of Dual Duty XP or you can also do this with Coats Transparent invisible thread.   A decorative machine stitch can be used for more embellishment.
    Right side of surface mounted zipper
    Fig 4a. Right side of surface mounted zipper

    Fig 4b. Underside of surface mounted zipper
    Fig 4b. Underside of surface mounted zipper
  2. For a zipper positioned under the facing, pin the centered zipper below the faced opening, overlapping the edges about 1/8″. Either edgestitch the zipper opening, or fold back the outer project to expose the facing and the original stitching line; stitch along the first stitching line for no-show stitching on the outside. (Fig. 5)

    Fig 5.Right side of under mounted zipper
    Fig 5.Right side of under mounted zipper

TIP: To hold the zipper in place for easier stitching with either application, cut a 1/8″ wide strip of fusible web tape and apply to the zipper tape edges (either the right or wrong side, depending on the application options above). Fuse the zipper in place before stitching.

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