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Tips & Techniques > tape basting zippers

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Posted by: Fictionfan
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Posted on: 5/26/08 1:42 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 1 people   Very Helpful by 6 people   
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I use tape basting for pretty much every kind of zipper closure. I do not use pins and I do not thread baste zippers. I don't even remember how I used to baste zippers before I started using this tape. I could not find a link describing my method of putting in zippers so that I could add it to a pattern review, so here it is:

In my photo, assuming it links properly, you see a lapped application for a back zipper being completed. Because the zipper is closed and the construction of the dress meant that the side seams were already sewn before the zipper step, the photo shows the sewing happening through the neck opening with the bulk of the dress skirt around the needle, kept away from the sewing area.

The photo shows you the right side of the garment, at the level of the waistline seam, with the right and left sides matched and taped. The adjustable zipper foot is to the left of the teeth. The micropore tape is overlying the pressed zipper seam lapped opening, and the edge of the tape is just over the teeth of this zipper. Notice that I overlapped the tape so that the entire opening is basted closed the way I want it. This is the last step of the process, sewn and seen from the right side, with the zipper under the lap. I have already sewn from the top of the dress sewing toward the hem so that I cleared the zipper tab first.

I begin a zipper application by pressing the zipper flat if it needs it, unless the teeth are metal. I press the garment at the intended closure site in the way that I want the zipped closure to look. After pressing, I tape the zipper right side to the wrong side of the opening. If it is a centered application, I also secure the right side of the garment with the opening closed and abutted. For other applications, like this lapped one, I only tape baste the side I am sewing, and tape the rest when needed.

In the photo, the right side was completed before the step you see in the photo, sewn from the right side with the zipper under the pressed seam allowance held by tape on the wrong side, with the teeth showing at the opening. That stitching does not show after the lapping is done. I do not remove the tape I use to hold the zipper on the wrong side of the fabric until I have finished. I lap the opening and tape it closed on the right side of the garment with the micropore tape just to the right of my intended stitching line. The tape serves as a guide as well as a basting tool. I can see the abutted edges under the tape and use that for my guide, too. I do not always tape baste the second side of the zipper on the wrong side if it will lie where I want it without basting. I sew the zipper from the right side of the garment along the line of tape and secure it at the end, meeting up with the right side of the stitching. Once I am satisfied that the zipper stitching on the right side of the garment is how I want it, I take off the tape and I am done.

One problem with micropore tape is that it can gum up the needle a little if you sew through it, but that has never hindered my sewing, and it is not any worse than some stabilizers or spray adhesive. If it gets gummy, I just change the needle. The tape generally sticks just firmly enough so it does not come off with stress on the area while sewing and handling the item, but it removes easily enough that it won't tear pattern tissue when I use it for altering patterns. It is sticky enough to ravel the seam allowances if they are not finished first. I have never had a permanent mark on a fabric, but there might be some fabrics out there that would have a mark, so testing might be a good idea if you aren't sure.

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