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Machine Minute - Zippers made Easy

Discover the ease of sewing zippers with these great tips from Jennifer Keltner!

I'm Jennifer, here with another Machine Minute brought to you by Baby Lock and the Crescendo machine. Zippers: lots of quilters are afraid to sew with zippers. It brings back memories of sewing garments, and maybe it didn't go so well. But today I'm going to share with you a little zipper know how. Learning how to use your machine's zipper foot can make all the difference in the world. Now every machine has a zipper foot, and most of them look like this. There's some sort of bar where you can adjust the position on your machine, and we'll talk more about that later. But there's a center piece, and then there's a place on either side where the needle can go to the right or to the left and that's key to sewing your zipper. So let's talk a couple of zipper tips first. Every zipper comes with a stopper at the end and little stoppers at the top so that when you pull it up or down it doesn't go farther. But sometimes you wanna work on a project that's this size and you've got to zipper that's this size. What to do? Well most zippers today are made with nylon teeth so what you do is simply trim the zipper down to his size. Use your rotary cutter and ruler and simply trim off that stopper. That makes some people gasp because "Now what? I don't have a stopper at the end." But as long as I'm careful not to pull the pull beyond at the end, I can trim both ends, and I can just trim this off wherever I needed it to the length I needed it. And that gets rid of that extra little bump at the bottom so I don't have to sew over it and also the space at the top where the zipper pull doesn't go all the way to the end. I can make sure it goes end to end by cutting it to the size I need. So once I've done that, how to position my zipper on the piece that I want to sew it to. Well for this piece I've already turned back my quarter inch seam but you can see it's not sound. And I could pin it, but pinning it can sometimes cause lumps or waves. What I like to use is a product called Wonder Tape. And it's just a double sided adhesive tape that comes on a roll and it allows you to reposition your fabric and get it exactly where you want it just by holding it in place. It doesn't gum up the needle and it holds everything in place with no pins and I think that's important when I get ready to sew. So let's move to the machine now and I'll show you how to position your zipper foot so that you can get perfectly even stitching. So before we put the zipper foot onto the machine I want to show you a common mistake that people make. They think of the zipper foot going straight down the center of their zipper and that would make for a very uneven stitching line. So as you look at those two places, to the right and to the left where the needle can go in, you position your foot so the needle will be as close to his zipper teeth as possible. So in this case on this side of the zipper I would want to attach the foot here and have the needle go in here. To do the opposite side of the zipper I would attach the foot on this side of the bar and have the needle go in here. You always want your needle to be as close to the zipper teeth as possible. Now, I've positioned my fabric in place using not Wonder Tape that I told you about and the nice thing is I've got no pins so I've got a very flat, smooth area that I'm going to be stitching over and I don't have to remove that tape. It washes out. So I'll go to the machine and I'll position my zipper foot, and I'm going to sew this side of my zipper, which is the right-hand side as I've facing my piece. So my needle is coming out the left-hand side of the foot. I'll have my presser foot down and I also want to touch the needle down button so that I always stop with my needle down in the fabric. And that's going to be important when I get to the zipper pull. So I pulled the zipper pull down and out of the way, and I am ready to start stitching. And I keep my eye on the left edge of the presser foot and just keep it running right along the zipper teeth. But I always want to stop with my needle down in the fabric, and when it comes time to get closer to the pull, and I'll stitch just a little farther here. When I come to the pull I'll stop with my needle down, raise the presser foot up and then just slide that pull out of the way. My tape holds everything in place. I'll go back to putting my presser foot down because my needle has been in the fabric the whole time nothing shifts, and I am ready to just start sewing again. It really is just that simple to put in your zipper. Now to complete the other side, I'll remove my presser foot, slide it over, and use the opposite side. And I'll begin again to put my presser foot down. And I am ready to start sewing. It's just that easy to put in a zipper. Use your zipper foot and give it a whirl.