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Forum > Beginner's Forum > The Zipper Wave problem ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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The Zipper Wave problem
They just don't lie flat!
Bagel
Bagel
International CANADA
Member since 11/20/04
Posts: 1
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Date: 4/17/08 12:16 PM

I'm actually an intermediate sewer. However, over the years the seperated zippers I install always seem to come out with a huge wave in the middle. No puckering of the material just a big wave in the center. the top and bottom match and fit the pattern piece but the wave always seems to be there. What advice can you give me?

Thanks, Michelle

Em's Summer
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Em's Summer
Intermediate
USA
Member since 2/16/06
Posts: 3174
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Date: 4/17/08 12:18 PM

It hasn't happened to me, but maybe steam pressing will help?

Em

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From what others have said, the nasty message came from Fitting Woes, NOT Misc Hot Topics or the Civility thread.

FirecrackerKTM
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FirecrackerKTM
Intermediate
Colorado USA
Member since 3/28/08
Posts: 2333
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Date: 4/17/08 12:18 PM

I have read, but not actually tried, to put fusible interfacing inside the seam allowance where you will be stitching the zipper.

Also I've begun basting them in and then top stitching, which seems to help, though I haven't tried this technique on a skirt made from lightweight fabric with a size zipper--which is where the wave happens the most.

LouisaP
LouisaP
Intermediate
Minnesota USA
Member since 2/27/07
Posts: 414
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Date: 4/17/08 12:32 PM

Usually when you get waviness in a zipper, the fabric has been stretched when the zipper was stitched in, causing the zipper to distort.

A couple things help:

1. Definitely cut a strip of lightweight fusible interfacing about 1" wide and the length over your zipper seam. Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of your fabric, matching the fabric edge to the edge of the interfacing. It's critical to *press* the interfacing on, i.e., lift the iron up, press firmly on one section, the lift the iron off the fabric and move to the next section. If you pass the iron back and forth over the fabric, you're likely to stretch the fabric a bit and defeat the purpose.

2. Instead of pinning your zipper onto the garment, try using Wonder Tape. It's a 1/8" wide double-sided sticky tape that washes out in the first wash, and doesn't gum up your needle. Pinning a zipper, no matter how carefully you do it, almost invariably causes the ripples.

I prefer to stick a length of Wonder Tape to the RIGHT side of the zipper (on the fabric tape, not on the zipper itself).

If I'm using a separating zipper, I press under the front edges of my garment to the 5/8" seam allowance. I peel off the paper backing on the Wonder Tape to expose the second sticky side, and then work from the bottom up, carefully aligning the folded edge with the zipper teeth. You have to be careful again not to stretch the fabric as you are sticking it to the garment.

Do the same thing to the second side of the garment to tape the other half of the zipper in place.

Now zip it up. You'll see right away if there are going to be any ripples or waves. If there are, you can unstick the zipper and adjust. Once everything looks the way you want it to, then separate the zipper, and stitch the zipper in place.

I find I have the hardest time with separating zippers in stretchy fabrics like polar fleece and lycras. I also have more trouble with side zippers than center back zippers, because the side zippers are on a partial bias on the fabric and tend to stretch if I'm not careful.

I love Wonder Tape - don't know how I managed without it all those years! It's so much faster and more accurate than hand basting, and the ability to reposition is so crucial.

Hope this helps.

lilyofthevalley
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lilyofthevalley
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New York USA
Member since 3/9/07
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In reply to Bagel


Date: 4/17/08 1:04 PM

Michelle,
When I install a separating zipper, I really strongly interface (usually with fusible interfacing) the entire length of both sides where the zipper is to be installed.

And if the garment is to be lined (meaning the inside of the zipper edges won't be seen when the garment hangs open), I extend the fusbile interfacing about an inch (2.5cm) deeper into both edges of the bodice.

Do you think this might solve your 'wave' problem? --Lily

Edited: Sorry, didn't read to the bottom to see that Louisa has fully covered this situation. (I don't use wonder tape b/c I just automatically grab my basting needle, but it sounds like a grand plan that I may just try.)
-- Edited on 4/17/08 1:09 PM --

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Lily

Feelan
Feelan
Intermediate
MAURITIUS
Member since 5/9/08
Posts: 2
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Date: 5/9/08 9:50 PM

Well, i think the problem may come from the stitch tension, try to loosen it a bit and see if the waves are still here.

EveS
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EveS
Intermediate
Michigan USA
Member since 11/26/06
Posts: 2701
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In reply to LouisaP


Date: 5/9/08 10:28 PM

Louisa, I looove my Wonder Tape for so many things but have never thought to use it on a zipper (now slapping myself on the forehead!). You're right. Pinning invariably messes up something on that zipper! Thanks for posting!

Oh, and yup, interfacing is a must in my world of zippers, regardless of the fabric.

Eve

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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it - Chinese proverb

ryan's mom
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ryan's mom
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Member since 11/30/04
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Date: 5/10/08 8:15 AM

Just adding Louisa couldn't have said it better. I was reading through the posts and was going to answer the same as her but she said it better than I could.

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Big 4 Pattern size 12, RTW bottom: 6, RTW jacket 8, RTW top (no size fits me well!)
Measurements: 34 HB/36 FB (34C bra)/27.5/36 (and working hard to keep it that way.)
Machines: Sewing: Elna 760, vintage Kenmore Model 33 (1967), Janome Gem Gold 3. Sergers: Babylock Imagine and Babylock Enlighten. Embroidery Only: Janome 300E. Coverstitch: Janome CP1000. Straight Stitch: Janome 1600P.

If you think your sewing is better than everyone else's around here, get out of my way b****. I hate sewing snobs.

My blog: www.phatchickdesigns.blogspot.com

jaeng
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jaeng
Intermediate
New Jersey USA
Member since 3/8/06
Posts: 488
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Date: 5/10/08 10:14 AM

Also consider, loosen up the pressure of your (sewing)foot (if you have the option)

Everyday Sewist
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Everyday Sewist
Advanced Beginner
USA
Member since 9/14/02
Posts: 2707
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Date: 5/10/08 10:41 AM

Wonder tape and fusible interfacing! Always.

I don't know how anyone puts in a zipper without these. I know I can't. :)

I'm someone who doesn't mind basting. I baste a LOT. But for zippers, there is no substitute for Wonder Tape.

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