Zippers & Buttons

Zippers:

There are many different kinds of zippers. Zippers are mainly divided into the following categories; coil (spiral), molded and metal. The teeth of coil zippers are extruded plastic that have been molded into a spiral shape. The molded zipper has individual molded teeth. Metal zippers are similar to the molded zipper but have metal parts instead of plastic. Zippers come with both closed and open ends. The open-end zipper has two sides that can be completely separated from each other and locked into place with a box and pin mechanism. Open-end zippers are often used in jackets and coats. The sides of a closed-end zipper are closed together at one end to keep the zipper sides from separating. Closed-end zippers are commonly used in skirts and pants. The closed-end zipper is often attached to the front, back or left side seam of the garment. When attaching zippers to garments, a sewing machine zipper foot should be used.

Zipper centered in a seam:

A zipper that is sewn in a seam is relatively unnoticeable and simple. The zipper is sewn to the seam and is left either exposed or concealed depending on the zipper type.

  1. Sew the seam of the bodice onto which the zipper will be attached, until the zipper notch. Press open.
  2. If there is a facing, sew that onto the bodice, clip the seam allowances if needed and understitch.
  3. Press the seam allowances of the zipper slit to the wrong side.
  4. Center the zipper behind the slit so that the folded edges of the slit are against each other.
  5. Baste or pin the zipper carefully on and stitch around from right side with one stitch, starting from top, making a turn in the end of the slit and finishing on top again.
  6. If there is a facing, press its seam allowances to the wrong side and sew them on the zipper tape by hand.
  7. Press the zipper.

 

Zipper

 

Zipper centered in a seam with lining:

Lining finishes the zipper so that it is clean also on the back side.

  1. Sew the seams of the bodice and lining onto which the zipper will be attached, until the zipper notches. Press open.
  2. Center and pin the zipper on the slit of the lining. The zipper’s back side should be against the right side of the lining, so that the teeth begin after the seam allowance of the top edge of lining. Sew the zipper on a couple of millimeters from the teeth.
  3. Press the seam allowances of the bodice’s zipper slits to wrong side.
  4. Baste or pin the zipper carefully on and stitch it around from front side with one stitch, starting from top, making a turn at the end of the slit and finishing on top again.
  5. Press the zipper.

Zipper in seam allowances:

When a zipper is sewn on the seam allowances, the zipper itself will be visible, but there are no visible stitches around the zipper on the right side of bodice. The zipper is centered in a seam.

  1. Sew the seam of the bodice onto which the zipper will be attached, until the zipper notch. Press open.
  2. If there is a facing, sew that onto the bodice, clip the seam allowances if needed and understitch.
  3. Press the seam allowances of the zipper slit to wrong side.
  4. Center the zipper on the slit so that its teeth are visible.
  5. Sew the zipper on seam allowances, a couple of millimeters from the teeth. Sew in two parts; one side first and then the other side.
  6. If there is a facing, press its seam allowances on wrong side and sew them on the zipper tape by hand.
  7. Press the zipper.

 

Zipper in Seam Allowances

 

Zipper with a fly:

A zipper with a fly is usually placed on the front seam and it has a separate fly shield inside to prevent the zipper from touching the skin. In women’s trousers the zipper opens to the right side and in men’s trousers to the left. Exceptionally, in women’s jeans the fly usually opens to the left side.

  1. Sew the seam of the bodice onto which the zipper will be attached, until the zipper notch. Press open.
  2. Press the 1 cm seam allowance of the narrow side of slit to the wrong side according to the center front notch. Stitch the zipper on so that the teeth are visible.
  3. Press the wide seam allowance of the slit on back side according to the center front notch. Close the zipper and place center front notches against each other.
  4. Pin or baste the zipper in the place where it sets naturally, and sew the loose side of the zipper on the wide seam allowance from back side.
  5. Topstitch around the zipper, approximately 3 cm from the edge starting from the top and curving towards the front center seam at the end of the slit.
  6. If you want, you can make a second stitch next to the first one.
  7. Fold the fly shield in middle, right sides together.
  8. Sew the diagonal bottom edge of the fly shield and finish the raw edges together. Turn the shield right side out, press it and finish the top and side edges.
  9. Sew the finished edge of the fly shield to the slit’s seam allowance, on the narrow side that you sewed first.
  10. Close the zipper and make sure that the shield is straight and flat. Make a short supporting stitch on the front side in the middle of the part where the topstitch is curving, using a very frequent zigzag stitch. Make sure that the end of the fly shield is attached to the front with this stitch.
  11. Stitch the crotch/front seam so that the seam allowances are folded towards zipper.
  12. Press the zipper.

 

Zipper With a Fly

 

Buttons:

There are two different kinds of buttons; sew-through buttons and shank buttons. Buttons should be sewn with a needle that is suitable for the fabric, the thinner the fabric the thinner the needle. The button can be sewn with double thread, or in thicker fabrics, such as for example coats, with thicker single thread. Decorative buttons can be just sewed onto the fabric but buttons that are used for fastening should have a thread shank that lifts the button off the surface of the fabric. The height of the shank depends on the thickness of the fabric.

Sewing a button:

When sewing a button with a thread shank, the button is sewed loosely so that it is slightly above the surface of the fabric. You can use e.g. a matchstick on top of the button so that the thread goes over the match. Sew a shank button or decorative button similarly but without a match.

  1. Place the matchstick on top of the button, between the button holes. Stitch approximately 5-8 times up and down through the holes and over the match.
  2. Remove the matchstick and pull the button upwards, so that the thread loops straighten under the button.
  3. Wrap the thread tightly around the thread loops and stitch a couple of times through it.
  4. Finish the thread on the wrong side.

Snap Button:

Snap buttons are a fast way to close and hold two overlapping edges together. Snap buttons consist of a separate ball and socket fasteners, and there are several different sizes and shapes of them. Larger metal buttons are suitable for outerwear, whereas smaller plastic buttons are better for lighter clothing. Riveted snap buttons are attached through the fabric, e.g. with a hammer.

Attaching a snap button:

Depending on the size of the snap button and the thickness of the fabric, you can use either single or double thread or thick single thread.

  1. Sew the ball and socket halves on the fabric by using a buttonhole stitch; push the needle through fabric and the button hole, then through the loop that has been created by the thread. Tighten the thread and repeat 4-6 times with each hole.
  2. Continue like this until the entire button is fastened.
  3. Finish the thread on the wrong side and stitch the other half of the snap button similarly.

Hooks and Eyes:

Hook and eye fasteners are sold in several different sizes and shapes. They are used especially in skirts and trousers at the waist, where the garments are tight-fitting. Larger, covered hooks and eyes are suitable for coats and jackets.  Smaller ones are better for trousers, skirts and dresses.

  1. Stitch the hook and eye halves with tight buttonhole stitches so that the eye (the half with the loop) comes a little over the edge of the fabric. Push the needle through the fabric and the hole, then through the loop that has been created by the thread.
  2. Sew the hook half so far from the edge that the garment’s edges are facing each other when the hook is closed.
  3. Finish the thread on wrong side.