Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Teeny Confession

After all these years together I'm going to let you in on a little something. I don't like sewing zippers. There, I've said it. The secret's out. Yes, I've got a handful of zipper tutorials. And most of the time I tell you they're easy because I tend to choose styles where the zipper insertion is easy and the result is nice and tidy. But that isn't always feasible. When someone says "I just want a simple zippy pouch" I slightly cringe on the inside because it's the type of zipper that makes me categorize all of them as dastardly (though I'm not usually a one-bad-apple-spoils-the-bunch type of person).

I tend to just stitch in the zipper, trim the bulk, poke things out as best I can and hope for not-a-mess. Usually that works out well enough, but I'm always on the look-out for a new technique to try. I recently ran across a tutorial I had pinned and figured I'd give it a shot since I just had a request for a small purse for odds-and-ends to sit in a bigger handbag. Here's the result.

Isn't the fabric kind of nifty? It's a fat quarter from Joann's. The stitching makes it look like rain running down a stained glass window. Anyway--I made a simple flat-bottomed purse (tutorial here), but did the new method for the zipper. It's supposed to keep the corners neat (and I don't have any dents near the top corners so it works in that respect), but I feel as though the zipper is a little bit limited with how wide it opens (or doesn't open--it's good enough but not great). There's also fusible fleece in there, so that extra bulk might have affected things as well.

I also wasn't a fan of hand-stitching the gaps near the zipper closed. It certainly isn't my neatest work ever (I did have a photo of it that now I can't find, naturally). If I was thrilled to the gills with the result I'd get over it. It's good strong stitching, though, so it'll hold for sure. 

The purse itself is a really nice size. It's four by six inches with a two inch flat bottom. It holds a bunch of stuff, too--I filled it with purse junk to test it and it's roomier than it looks.It really didn't take much time at all, even with the finicky hand sewing--I think the quilting took the longest. As with this bag, my dissatisfaction stems from things that only the maker would know about. And the descent of my high hopes for a perfect zipper method.

So--do any of you have a magic method for neat zippers across the top of a purse? I should know this by now, but I don't sew these very often that I devote much thought to the matter, and I'm usually OK with small zipper dents because I'm a vigorous corner-poker-outer. But now that I've tried one way it's going to be on my mind. Your thoughts?


  1. I love your bag! The fabric, your stitching and the zipper look great!

    Anna Graham of Noodlehead blog has an open wide bag tutorial that is amazing. ......I have made a ton of them. I FMQ the bag which makes it more sturdy and adds visual interest as well. You should try it!

  2. Hello Bethany, yes one of my favourite topic - top zipper. When I first got into making bags in 2007, I became completely obsessed with sewing the top zipper. In fact, I think I spent many, many hours from 2007 to 2008 trying all sorts of tricks with the top zipper. And the result of my "research"? It is the topstitching of the outer fabric and lining together that causes the problem. The "solution" is to topstitch until a couple of stitches before the side seam allowance. That means when you are sewing the side seams together, it would be a real struggle. Alternatively, don't topstitch outer fabric and lining together. (hahaha) I've not tried this new technique you've used. I notice in the first pic, you did not topstitch the zipper all the way to the left. That's kind of weird, isn't it? p.s. I hate sewing zippers too.

  3. Zipper is a tough customer (even for the end user)
    The question I always face is : will it hold or will it gape open somewhere?
    I am still struggling with my tripod cover zipper. (they never obey)

  4. The fabric/stitching combination is great! That's my issue with zippy pouches too, and why I've never sewn one- corner dents. I haven't even considered solutions yet though!

  5. Oh, I HATE zippers too. High five! :-)

  6. I also like Anna, from Noodlehead's solution with her wide open zipper pouch.

  7. I made a clutch that I absolutely adore (even if I do say so), except the change pocket has corner dents. Drives me batty every time I look at it!

  8. Love the material! Great looking bag.



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