Thursday, November 10, 2011

Zip Phobia? Moi?

You know when everyone's doing something and you just have to join in... well it seems like buying crazy amounts of cute coloured zips is the new thing. Isn't that right Had, Ceri, SusieQ?

I sooo want in on it, not least so I can organize them into cute little rainbow patterns, but until last night I had a slight zip phobia. I say slight in that I have actually sewn a zip with some success before, but this was about 8 years ago, during my GCSE Textiles. I need to know if I can sew zips again, and if it would be worth my while buying into the zip craze! I want to be able to stick them in pillows and pouches and bags and other thingymabobs. But I needed a small project to dip my toe in, without the fear of mucking up something I'd worked hard on... you know.

Enter Ceri with her perfect timing. Amongst the beautiful bee blocks she returned to me this week (you'll get a full reveal when ALL the blocks are back!!), she also included a few zips.

Enter this tutorial, which I got stuck into last night and made this little number:

I used medium weight fusible interfacing on top of plain quilters cotton. I think I should have used lightweight, as it is a little to stiff for my liking (there aren't many times you will hear me say that), and the corners were a complete bulk-a-rama. And I hate the way it always crinkles up really bad when you are turning it through the right way. But. Its cute. And sturdy. And I'm fairly impressed with how close I got the zip to the edge of the fabric. And I didn't break anything. And its a good size, useful even.

All these photos were taken with my iPhone, impressive huh?
I had to cut down the zip an inch or so to fit the tutorial, which was nerve wracking to say the least! But I coped, eventually.

Then I sorta freestyled it a little bit, using the tutorial's directions but changing the measurements to fit the zip I had. On this one, because it was smaller, I didn't use any interfacing, and its a lot more...poofy.   

Probs should have used lightweight interfacing in this one too really. 

I like it, I LOVE the colour of the zip, but I'm not entirely sure of its purpose yet. It could be a cute little change purse. Or a card purse for all those loyalty cards you need to carry but don't want cluttering up your normal wallet. Or a miniature sewing kit. I'll have to give it a bit more thought. Or gift it to an unsuspecting relative for Christmas... problem solved!

I learnt quite a few important things about zips last night. 
  1. The length of the zip is the length of the whole thing, flappy bits at the top and bottom included.   It is not, as I originally thought, just the length of the teeth. This may seem obvious but I couldn't find it described in detail anywhere and it got me worried. *EDIT* A few have suggested this isn't right... And that the length is just the teeth. My reasoning behind this point is from the tutorial above. It shows a zip lying perfectly aligned with an 8" piece of fabric, it also says you MUST have an 8" zip. Ergo, the whole thing including the flappy bits is 8" long. I will happily stand corrected if anyone knows any different! *EDIT AGAIN* Helen has set me right. Turns out the industry standard for measuring a zip is from closed end to the top of the teeth. You can read more about this here.
  2. You can sew through a zip. Mental. 
  3. To cut a zip down to size, always cut from the bottom. If you cut off the little metal bar, you will need to sew another one in. just go back and forth across the zip a few times. 
  4. If you are using little covered end pieces like in the tutorial above, you don't need to do the bar thing. Ask me how I know.
  5. Zips are not that bad. Tricky to get your head around, but easy to sew. It took me about half an hour to make these 2 purses. And that includes a certain amount of faffing over fabric, cutting the zip and committing the tutorial to memory.  
  6. I'm buying in. I believe everyone uses zipit? Any other suggestions welcomed :-)


  1. Thanks for this post, Laura! I am definitely zip-o-phobic, but want to give it a try at some point (soon). Thanks for all your tips! I love the brightly colorede zippers you used-- I think the pouches look great. Congrats on venturing into new territory!!

  2. Very disappointed that you got the wrong sort of stiffy!! But love the zipper job you did. Look brilliant and seems you have aced it. Well done you! And Zipit was the way I went and I couldn't say nicer things about them - plus the order arrived soooooo quickly. Off you go now - order lots because you are going to need them!

  3. Yep zipit is the place to go! The pouches look great. I don't mind zips but I always seem to have an issue with the end cap bits - they always look like something has had a chew at them and sit all wonky!

  4. I'm tempted to say we're all sheep really arent we... as I'm sat here waiting for my (late) zippit order... But Oh! Its all such fun!
    Love your pouches!

  5. Cute pouches and great tips LJ (will keep your mum`s special name just for her)!

  6. So what you're saying is that you've got a stiffy for zip pouches now then ;o)

    Zip measurements are meant to only be the teeth though, so someone's doing you out of zip length if they're selling otherwise to you...

  7. Love the pouches and well done for tackling your zip phobia! Great tips - thank you! (I agree with Katy about measuring a zip length though.)

  8. These are so cute! You can only sew through plastic zips though, don't try sewing through a metal one!! Jxo

  9. Zippers are definitely something I want to conquer. I've thinking that pouches are a good way to get started. Your zips look absolutely perfect - thank you for the inspiration!

  10. Love them!! Great colour combinations! I will try this tutorial since I'm no longer afraid of zips either and I like the neat finish! :) xx

  11. They look fab Laura! Well done! I especially love the Hometown one.

  12. I've not tried Zipit although they've been mentioned everywhere lately. I've bought some zips at a good price online from RayStitch (think it's in the past and will do again when I pluck up some more courage (I have good days and bad days with zips). Your little purses look great by the way!

  13. What a coincidence.... I did my first zip using this tutorial just last week.... and tonight, I intend to attempt two more pouches, just to try and get the hang of the zip thing a bit more. I think everyone will be getting them for Christmas! :)

  14. Your pouches look fantastic! Congrats on tackling that you've got it figured out everything will be getting zips :o)

  15. Yeay! you did it! they look great, really neat ends and everything.. :) I cut all the metal bits off my zips...I've broken three needles recently, so prefer to work with them out of the vicinity. Giggling at the stiffness comment too...snigger x

  16. Lovely! What's the next zipper project you're tackling?


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