Sunday, March 3, 2013

Zipper Repair Option

The other day, one of my coworkers reminded me that I hadn't posted on my blog for a while. So when I ran into issues with the zipper on a denim jacket that I'm currently making, I thought it was the perfect opportunity for a blog post. This one's for you Pat.

The denim jacket that I'm making is based on pattern number 7582 by Burda Style.I thought that a denim motorcycle jacket would be cute using this pattern. I really liked the zippers on the sleeves. So I bought 3 yards of denim and a cute print of cotton for the lining and started working on the jacket. As I worked, I decided to leave the zippers off of the sleeves to save myself some zipper pain. I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about.

I started sewing the jacket and waited to look for the zipper in my HUGE zipper stash because, as a fool, I assumed that I had one. I only have probably 300+ zippers in my stash. Surely I must have a 24" denim separating zipper. Well...not so much. That was fine, I was hoping to find a longer zipper to use anyway, so I went to the store and found that 24" is apparently the largest they make denim separating zippers. That was fine too, so I bought it and brought it home.

So now I have a day off, zipper at the ready and I'm ready to move forward with my new spring jacket. I put the zipper in according to the instructions. I even double checked on the picture of the zipper placement. Every time I put a zipper in, I usually triple check it just to make sure because there's nothing more discouraging than going through all the work of putting it in, only to find that you've put it in backward or some ridiculous thing like that.

Which is exactly what I did. I suppose I should be happy that I didn't put it in upside down, but just looking at the jacket and realizing that if I wanted to use the zipper as I had put it in, I would have to zip it up from the inside was more than a little frustrating. So my options became either rip it out and start all over again, or try to find a solution. Somehow trying to tear off the small brass stop on the pull side of the zipper sounded like a better option than tearing the entire zipper out. Afterall, worst case scenario was going to be that I would have to start all over with the zipper anyway, and at least this way I would get to try to cause some kind of physical destruction to the zipper that had ruined my morning of sewing.

So I went to work at the brass stop with a pair of my jewelry pliers, thinking that it would come off easily. Not so much. After about 5 minutes of plier fueled frustration I decided that I would just cut out the brass stop and try to flip the zipper pull around and see if it would work that way. I ended up having to cut the first zipper tooth off in order to get the brass stop off, but I got it off.

Moment of truth time now. I slid the zipper pull off, flipped it around so that I could zip it up from the outside of the jacket, and gave it a try. At this point I'm just assuming that it's not going to work and that I'm going to have to start all over again. Apparently the sewing gods felt that I had suffered enough and I found that it actually worked. Major note to self here, if you flip the zipper pull around, it will still work. Now all I had to deal with was the huge chunk of zipper area that I had to originally cut out.

I looked at my jewelry pliers and thought "don't I have some crimp beads somewhere?". I thought that I had some brass colored ones, but after a quick recon mission of the craft/junk room they were no where to be found. I did, however, locate some silver ones that were just going to have to do. I crimped a few of them to try to hide the missing chunk and then added a couple to the other side of the zipper to make it look like I had meant to do that. Fortunately the brass zipper stop on the other side was still fully in tact, so the zipper still stops like a champ even if it does look a little wonky.

In an effort to check for any other major mistakes I may have made, I tried on the main part of the jacket to see how everything was coming together. Somehow I think the huge collar look a little....Beaker from the Muppets.

I might be able to fold it down and have it work out alright but I think if this jacket gives me many more issues I may have to consider tossing it in the scrap pile.

At what point is it ok to say that the level of frustration with a project has exceeded the guilt associated with the level of commitment you've made to that project? I may be getting close with this jacket.

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  1. Those projects where everything goes wrong are just no fun! Sometimes it helps if I just set a project aside for a few weeks... when I come back I can decide if I really want to deal with any more frustrations, or if I'd rather spend my time sewing things that are more fun.
    I think the collar looks really nice folded down, even though it's not quite the same 'look' as you were aiming for. And I love your zipper fix... I wouldn't have guessed. =)

  2. Why not just chop it all off ??? That's right, cut the whole collar back to the zipper, turn it all in and topstitch. You'll need some other top stitching so it won't look out of place, but you'll end up with a shorter, stand up collar and the zipper thing won't show.

  3. I am laughing at myself and your comments as when I get to that final frustrated point with a garmet I do what any self respecting seamstress does, and I give the item to a thrift shop!!! No guilt here....

  4. Just sewed my zipper into my first ever pair of jeans backwards. Like totally done bar tacked and freaking everything. So this makes me feel better that I'm not the only one!! Also answers my question about whether I could flip the pull cuz I really don't wanna rip that zip out...haha in fact contemplated how terrible jeans would be to just use with backwards zipper just before googling this! 🤔