February 18, 2015

Mastery of Zippers



My whole life I refuse to do anything the easy way. In the case of mastering zippers the most logical approach would be to try out a simple zippered pouch with one zipper in the design. Nope, that's not my style. Instead, I take on the sew together bag that happens to include 4 zippers.  Silly me.


Armed with some motivation, I went down to sew with Michelle at From Bolt to Beauty for a good dose of knowledge. She is very methodical and takes the time to measure, pin, iron, and place everything. It was amazing how much attention she pays to details.


I found out my quilting style is more along the lines of the Tasmanian devil. I leave a wake of destruction, eyeball everything, and forget to pin most of the time. Even though our styles are drastically different, she did teach me a few things about zippers. The first attempt was iffy and slightly wonky, after that I got the hang of them. Thanks Michelle for the help!

Finally, I started to remember to move the zipper head mid-sew, as no matter how hard I tried the foot would not go around them. Lesson learned. Pretty sure I used my yearly quota for pinning in this project!


After 3 hours of sewing in one night, the bag was about 85% complete. Getting late, it was time to go home.  Looks like this bag will get finished sans zipper expert nearby. I remained hopeful.

The next night, equipped with a glass of wine, I tackle the remaining and final zipper for the bag. It goes in without any major snafus. Success. Without too much trouble the bag is complete, not perfect, but complete. This little bag is going to hold all my hand sewing items, and you will be shocked to see how much this bag holds!


Chels, 4. Zippers, 0. Looks like this goal for the year is checked off, 14 more goals to go!

-Patch & Chels

15 comments:

  1. What timing- i have decided to make this for a friend's birthday in April and have always been scared of zippers too...not to mention I am a beginning sewer and know almost nothing!! We shall see what happens with mine :) Yours looks great!

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  2. Great stuff - zips are intimidating and the sew together bag is calling to me too. I think you have well and truly mastered zips now!

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  3. Awesome and way to conquer a new technique with repetition! The pouch looks great, and how wonderful to have a great friend and instructor nearby.

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  4. I just bought her pattern today...I have been itching to try this pouch. And I am a pinner so hopefully I will be fine.

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  5. Nice work Chels! I'm teaming up with Carla to see if we can tackle this beast together and then we are going to drag Jo (Riddle & Whimsy) with us! (...evil laugh ...)

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  6. Yes, I'm being dragged into it too!!

    Love your exterior piece! I've only used zips about 3 times and I'm still learning... I only recently learned about moving the zipper tab instead of sewing around/over it lol...

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  7. It looks beautiful and having made a couple of these, one for my sewing stuff for classes etc, it's very satisfying to have something you've made and is so useful. For those who don't have a sewing guide like Michelle to hand the Quilt Barn blog did a sew along c March 2014. I found this really helpful, loads of pictures and tips which together with the instructions makes it quite straightforward. Having said that as a quilt maker who thinks in 2D making something 3D just requires a slightly different mindset. After I'd made the first bag I'd set the last zip (the one that goes over the top) and then realised, after I'd been using the bag for a while, that I hadn't matched up the sides of the bag so they were wonky. I could take it apart but hey mistakes add character don't they!

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  8. I think your bag looks great, and how fun to have Michelle close by! After making a few zipper pouches, I finally figured out I needed to move that zipper head mid-sew. Makes it much easier! :)

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  9. Love the fabric choices on this one, the Cotton + Steel looks great with the linen. Moving the zipper head does help, I don't have a zipper foot so I push the needle as far over as my machine will allow and then feel the edge of the foot against the zipper. It works for me because I can't sew over the zipper that way.

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  10. You're welcome! I think you hit upon a secret to finishing projects that I may need to employ more often: a glass of wine! ; )

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  11. No more zipper fear! Well done!
    It is the bulk and binding of this little bag that worries me. I may be twisted, but I rather enjoyed the first three zippers. I have three bags at various stages, ready for the Sew Demented Sew Together Bag sew-along with Sew Giving (and Riddle and Whimsy). Catchy title, eh?

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  12. Very cute project. I remember my fears of tackling a zipper project. Like you, the one I made had 2 zippers (a case for my kindle). I think that scared me more than free motion quilting!

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  13. Wow! I've seen so many people make this bag and its amazingly cute every time (including yours!). I'm not sure I'm brave enough to give it a go...

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  14. You sure did dive right in It looks great! I am hoping to finish my Sew Together Bag tomorrow night, I stupidly forgot the long zipper! haha. Go figure. I love the scrappy and colors in yours! I think it looks perfect!

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  15. Love the bag...great job on the zippers! Kudos to you for jumping in head first....that's my game plan too!

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