By popular demand on another thread, I prespammed....a tutorial on invisible zippers WITHOUT using an invisible zip foot! Yep, it can be done, and here's photographic proof! I did make a Flickr set of these pictures, but Craftster posting guidelines require pics in the post, so here they are. (People with slow connections, I'm sorry!) However, there are more pics on the Flickr set, so please click the link at the bottom to see some more details, like notes and comments.
So here we go.......before you start, make sure your zipper foot is in good condition, and you have some patience and maybe some calm music playing. The gelatin time I did this, it took me 3 tries! (And that was AFTER discovering that the plastic Coast & Clark invisible zipper foot didn't fit my machine! Aarrgghhh.) Also, it's VERY IMPORTANT that NO PART of the seam be stitched -- leave it completely open!! This is very important. You should be starting with just one invisible zipper and two unfinished raw edges of the seam.
Step 1 -- Iron the zipper teeth. This is kind of hard to explain, but if the top of this picture is North, iron the teeth North. You can see the bottom set of teeth are not ironed yet, while the top are -- they are lying flat, while the other ones are still curled up.
Step 2 -- If the zip is a light color, I like to draw a line where I'm going to stitch as a guide. I used water-erasable ink in this one, but I've also used permanent dark pen very lightly...because nobody will ever see the inside of the zipper teeth.
Step 3 -- Sew a line of contrasting basting stitches on your fabric at 5/8" -- standard seam allowance. These are just for guiding you when you pin the zip, you'll remove them later.
(Just a close-up of the basting stitches -- I used green on my fabric so I could see them easily:
Step 4 -- Pin the zipper teeth on the line of basting stitches AS SHOW EXACTLY in this pic!! Note the position of the zipper stop (upside-down on the bottom) and you are working on the RIGHT SIDE of the fabric. It's kinda weird -- the left side of the zip gets pinned to the open seam on the right. This picture will help you! Do it EXACTLY like this.
Here's a closeup of the bottom of the zip and how it is pinned:
Step 5 -- Make sure your regular zip foot is attached properly, and you'll need to adjust it accordingly -- without thread or fabric, turn your machine's handwheel and make sure that the needle just passes next to the presser foot in its down position -- you want it pretty close, but not too close as to hit the foot! (That would be fairly diastrous!) I have notes on the Flickr picture for this one, you might want to check out the set for more details!
Step 6 -- Position the presser foot on the zipper tape just like in this picture, the zip foot should be close to the zipper teeth, the foot will help the needle stay close to the teeth as you sew.
Step 7 -- Begin sewing, very carefully and slowly along the zipper teeth. You should be able to see your stitching line (drawn in the beginning) clearly, but just make sure the needle is really butted up against the teeth! But take care not to snag the thread or needle ON the teeth, that's a disaster too. (Ask me how I know!) Sew all the way up to the top of the zipper tape, and do some backstitching to hold it securely.
Step 8 -- Pin the other side just as you did the gelatin side -- this pic shows the left side all stitched and the right side is just pinned on and ready for sewing. Note how the zip is stitched on the RIGHT SIDE of the fabric -- if you can visualize it in your head, when everything is done, the zip will sort of turn in on itself and not show any of the teeth when it closes. (Confusing yes, but it will make sense -- and if you want to make sure you're doing it right, close the zip before you pin the second side. It should look pretty similar to how it will when it's finished, with no teeth visible on the stitched side and a little part of the seam covering the zip. The point of an invisible zip is to be just that, which you are accomplishing by sewing really close to those teeth!)
Step 9 -- After you have finished sewing the zip to both sides of the open seam, close the zip and pull the tail out the way completely -- pin the rest of the seam closed, and sew it up. I usually use my zip foot for this too, as it lets me stay close to the stitching line. I'm very sorry i don't have a better pic of this step.
And that's it! At this point, I like to carefully sew the zipper tape to the seam allowance, because it kinda flops around (because you sewed so close to the teeth, there's a lot of extra zipper tape left) -- but if you use some Fray-Chek you could just cut off the remainder I guess. (I've never tried it!)
This is a picture of what a finished invisible zip looks like using this method:
Far from perfection, but I think it looks pretty good.
Anyways, this is the link to the Flickr set -- click thru for more pictures, details and notes.
Comments, questions, thoughts, constructive criticism very much welcome.
And believe me, once you get the hang of this zip, you won't want to do anything else! It's really a nice finishing touch and I find it easier now than lapped or regular zippers! Good luck, everyone!
(P.S. If anybody has seen this B&W floral fabric online or in person, pretty please let me know! )