Sunday, August 29, 2010

How to replace a front fly zipper

Feeling very under the weather today, but also super motivated to sew! It's been a long weekend, working six days in a row, 8-12 hours each day. Plus being I'm sick again, I've been coughing and coughing for days. I'm fatigued and achy. But regardless of everything I can complain about, I had today off, and I finally replaced the zipper of these amazing red linen shorts!

They were purchased at Goodwill for $3.99; my sister picked them out. I wore them for the first time last Sunday to my routine trip to Bees Knees (since I bartend every Friday and Saturday night, Sunday cocktails on the patio is my "Friday"). As soon as I walked out my door I realized the zipper in these shorts was split! It was very upsetting. Luckily it wasn't too noticeable, and I usually have a few safety pins in my purse.

I turned this terrible embarrassing occasion into a learning opportunity for those of you that need to replace a front fly zipper. It's quite easy. 

You'll need:
  • razor blade or seam ripper
  • sewing machine
  • zipper
  • matching thread
  • pins
  • ruler (optional)
  • seam gauge (optional)
Before. Zipper split, new (vintage, never used, thrifted) YKK zipper
Start by opening the seam along the waistband a few inches.
Separate the broken zipper from the pants and fly placket. Be sure to note the position of the original zipper! 
Pin the new zipper to the fly placket. Sew.
Pin the other side of the zipper to the interfacing. Sew.
Top stitch along the edge of the zipper.
Pin the interfacing down, top stitch back into place.
Pin the waistband into place and sew.

Zippers are so easy to sew once you dive in and try! So many people get rid of their clothing when the zipper breaks but it is so easy to fix them. Most of the time, when a zipper splits the zipper pull (what moves up and down) just needs to be reset. You'd open bottom of the zipper, detach it from the garment at the bottom of the zipper, take the zipper pull off, and carefully feed it back into the zipper. Then you only have to re-stitch the little bit you opened up. I initially thought that was all these shorts needed, but some of the teeth on the zipper were damaged and the entire zipper needed replaced. 

And it is so cheap to replace a zipper! They usually cost about $2 at any craft store depending on the length and type. This zipper only cost me next to nothing when I got all of the above zippers at Salvation Army for $10. The cashier estimated 40 zippers since they were tangled and there was actually 156! I was so lucky to get them all. Most of the zippers I use in purses or pouches come from this batch.

The finished shorts! Ready to wear again!
Being silly. Duck lips. 
Paired with my favorite Aldo flats and my vintage brown leather belt.
The striped shirt I made last year, February 2009! See the blog entry about it here. The jersey cotton was $1.99 on clearance at Walmart. I modeled it after my favorite shirt/dress from Americal Apparel, the Double U-Neck Dress. I just layed the shirt on top of the fabric, cut out the front, back, two sleeves, and the trim for the neck. It took me about an hour and cost maybe $4, versus $36 at American Apparel! The shoulders were a little too narrow and it slides off my shoulders, but not bad for what I put into it, and it's seen a lot of wear.
I love how the deep scoop allows my tattoo to peek out just enough.
I really need to break out my Singer serger, get the blades sharpened, and make shirts from my massive collection of jersey cotton. My normal sewing machine, a Janome, isn't the greatest with knits. I'm not very experienced on a serger. Another machine to conquer! A few years ago I used it a lot but threading it was always so irritating (a serger uses four cones of thread, a normal machine only uses two)! Once I become more comfortable with my serger I can make underwear, lingerie, cotton shirts, and more! I can't wait!

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  1. Just to let you know, I will be featuring your tutorial on Sew Much Talent. Actually, I'll provide a link to your blogspot here. Look for it this week. :)