April 25, 2011

Zipper-dee-doo-dah: The Basics

Posted in Clothes and Accessories at 10:15 am by sewknotwrite

An acquaintance of mine once told me a story of her zipper bursting at her wedding.  Her mother quickly whip-stitched the zipper back together and later, at the reception, her father handed the groom a pocketknife and said, “You’re gonna need this later.”

Zipper malfunctions and weddings are sometimes common and unfortunate friends.  This post is by no means meant to freak anyone out, but rather to help you make friends with zippers and know what to do with them when they malfunction.  What’s that saying…”keep your friends close and your enemies closer”…”know thy enemy”?  Those toothy little bastards can seem intimidating and difficult, but they really aren’t.  They are a lot like us in that when they are put under too much stress, they break.

Today, I’m going to focus on two pretty basic problems of zippers refusing to go up or down.

My zipper won’t go up because it’s too tight…

First of all, don’t force it!  The gut reaction for most people is to yank on the zipper with all of their might until it goes.  This will, more than likely, result in a situation where it goes off track or bursts all together.  Ahhhhhh!

All you really need to do is smoosh and redistribute where things are sitting.  All of us galls have done this at one time or another and I have seen people smoosh in two different ways…straight in and wraparound.  Straight in is like so…

Take your newly manicured mitts and, coming straight in from the sides, smoosh your body so the person doing the zipping can get it working.  Continue this process all the way up the body, stopping and resmooshing whenever the zipper fails to move.  I also find that securing the hook and eye at the top before zipping helps.  The wraparound technique is similar, but involves smoothing the fabric and body from front to back so there is excess to zip.  While the wraparound technique works, you are essentially moving all of your skin to the back, instead of evenly distributing it, and therefore are more likely to get “back fat.”

My zipper won’t go up because there’s fabric in it…

Again, don’t force it!

Ugh, we all hate it when that teensy piece of fabric gets caught in the zipper.  It’s so annoying!

Move the excess fabric away from the teeth and firmly, yet gently, pull the zipper up.  The fabric should come free from the zipper head.

If, after this, you have fabric stuck in the teeth, repeat the process downward.  Just remember to be gentle and firm.  It may be necessary for you to pull out your needle-nose pliers from your sewing kit if the fabric is thick and needs additional coaxing and leverage.

Up next?  Tackling the BIG issue…zipper splitting.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] have also started a series on my wedding blog about sewing kit essentials and zipper fixes.  Not everyone can have an onsite wardrobe fix-it guru on hand, so I felt it necessary to share my […]


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