There are tons of how-to guides on the web that tell you how to sew a zipper. But if you’re anything like me, sewing a zipper is not the problem; it’s lack of motivation. There are so many more shiny things to enthrall me than a “How to Sew” guide that my sewing machine has sat neglected for two years now. I can proudly state with full certainly that this is the perfect “How to Sew a Zipper” guide for attention deficit adults.
Step One: Dig your article of clothing out from the “mend” pile, where it has been sitting for five years. Announce that from now on, you will mend all your own clothes. Wave the offending piece of clothing about and deliver a sermon on self-sufficiency and how we as a society have lost skills that our parents and grandparents took for granted. Google “how to sew a zipper” and get caught up on YouTube watching old Little House on the Prairie clips.
Step Two (One Year Later): Discover a strange, crumpled bit of cloth under the bed. Recognize it as the pair of pants that would transform you into a DIY sewing whiz. Be disappointed that the zipper is still broken, rather than miraculously healed by time. Bring along the pair of pants on your next shopping trip, and purchase a replacement zipper at your local sewing supply store. It should be the same color and length (or slightly longer) as the old one. Mutter and squint at the directions, which seem to imply that your sewing machine and all sewing supplies are ready and waiting, instead of cast into a corner of the garage like yours are. Spend one hour finding and assembling your sewing station, and five hours cleaning the garage.
Step Three (One Month Later): While trying on soiled pants from your laundry basket and fussing about how you have nothing to wear, remember that you once had the perfect pair of pants. Where are they? Search the house. Discover your pants (and sewing machine) under a pile of mail, cleaning supplies, and Tupperware on the dining room table. Thunder, “Enough is enough!” and shove all non-sewing equipment to the floor. Gather a pair of scissors, a stitch ripping tool, a box of straight pins, the pants, the new zipper, a box of cookies, and a matching spool of thread. Stop to take a phone call, and spend the rest of the evening telling your girlfriend how you are finally fixing that old pair of pants. Then go to bed, as it is now midnight.
Step Four (The Next Morning): You are now pants-less, as you spent the entire previous day talking about fixing the zipper without actually fixing it. You’re also suffering from a cookie hangover. Fortunately, all your sewing supplies are right where you left them (along with the lights on, the TV going, and the radio on). Focus! You can do this. Following the zipper directions (after retrieving them from the trash), make a bar tack at the bottom of the new zipper by sewing back and forth across the zipper at the end. Cut the fabric below the bar tack. Remove the old zipper with the stitch-ripping tool and pin the new zipper in place with straight pins. Begin sewing. Realize you need to change the regular sewing foot for the zipper foot, and that you need to turn the fabric inside out. Curse loudly, then rip out your new stitches, assemble the zipper foot, and start over with the pants inside out. Don’t bother to measure or mark anything as that just takes too much time and you’re sure that you can manage to sew a straight line. Finish sewing in the zipper as per the instructions.
Step Five: Try on the pants. You can see that due to your hurried stitching and lack of measuring, the zipper is lopsided. Try out several poses in front of your mirror in which you lean to the side to compensate. Finally, find a loose shirt in your closet to wear that covers the zipper.
Congratulations! You’ve just fixed your very first zipper. You’re now confident that you are ready to branch out into a few more difficult craft projects, as you’re obviously a sewing prodigy. Perhaps some new curtains for the house? Maybe a memory quilt…that looks easy enough!
Joann Craft and Fabrics
DIY NetworkMartha Stewart: Making a Memory Quilt Which I will, of course, complete in approximately six years.