Saturday, August 24, 2013

Weekender Sew Along: Installing the Zipper

I get the dubious honor of blogging about installing the zipper in my version of the Weekender Bag.  I chose a very obvious directional print for my exterior, and I was hesitant to cut the top panel pattern pieces out until I could really think the instructions through and determine which way I wanted the print to run.

After scouring the web for images of other people's bag, I decided that you have to choose the direction in which your print will run.  Because the pattern piece wraps across the top and down the sides of the bag, you could either have your fabric print run "right side up" when looking at the bag from the top, OR when looking at the bag from the side - but you can't have both.  For my bag, I chose to have the print "right side up" when viewing the bag from the side.

What this means is that I cut the pattern piece out from my fabric running in the opposite direction from the instructions.  The instructions tell you to lay out the pattern piece out at the bottom of your yardage with the fabric folded selvage to selvage.  To switch it, there is enough space left in the middle of your yardage (if you followed the cutting instructions) to lay your pattern piece out running down the middle of the yardage.

Then, my next challenge was to line up my print after the 2 pieces are sewed together.  To ensure a perfect match, I cut out my first pattern piece, then drew a line where the 1" seam would be sewn.

Then I folded down that line, and moved the fabric around on my remaining yardage until I found the exact spot where I should cut the second piece.  Then I overlaid the paper pattern piece onto the spot and cut it out.

To double check that my print lined up correctly, I set my machine to the longest stitch length and basted the entire seam.  It's easier to rip out a basting stitch than a regular stitch, and I had to do just that to adjust how the print was matching.  After I got it right, I went back and used a small stitch on the first 6" of each bottom side, just like the pattern calls for.

Side note - don't forget to first add the 3 pieces of interfacing to each top panel piece, like I did.  Oops!

After all of this, it's finally time to add the zipper.  I followed the pattern and laid the zipper down on the seam.  However, the pattern then calls for you to flip the piece over and attach the zipper from the right side of the fabric.  I'm not sure how this would be accomplished neatly, given that you have a zillion layers of fabric, interfacing and zipper tape to go through, as well as avoiding pins or clips.  So I just attached the zipper from the back.

Then use your seam ripper to remove the basting stitches.

After you pick out all of the threads left behind from the basting, your zipper is done and you are ready to move on to the next step!


  1. Thanks, Aimee!!! I'm feeling ready to tackle this... and I've got a whole week to fix it when things go wrong:-) LOVE the chevrons!!!

  2. Thanks for the tips. I NEED to find time to finish this bad boy before this weekend. Can't wait to see everyone's finished bags at the SewDown!

  3. MAD SKILLS matching up those chevrons!!! :)