Sunday, November 23, 2008

Zippity Doo Dah

One thing people always want to know is how to put a zipper in a bag. Well, I tend to make deeper bags and rely on gravity to keep everything inside, so I had no idea. I figured it couldn't be that mysterious, though, so I sat down to figure it out this morning.
Someone specifically asked about putting a zipper in this bag, so that's the one I started with.
Okay, first of all, looking at the Craftster pattern, I couldn't figure out why they didn't just draw half of it and cut on a fold. So that's what I did.

Then I couldn't figure out why their pattern had those notches for the bottom corners. Can't you do the same thing by sewing across the corners to square them off? So I tried it.

That seemed to work out just fine, so no more notches.

I also came up with no good reason why the outer fabric had to be cut in one piece, and I knew my job would be easier if I had two halves to work with, so I cut two sides, two linings, and two handles. Those other two pieces? Those are for the zipper.

If you want your zip to run right along the top of the bag, I guess you could eliminate these little wings, but I thought it would look better with them. If you figure you'll have about a half inch seam on either side. your zipper should be an inch or so shorter than the top opening of your bag. Lucky for me, I had a bunch of zippers to choose from, so I picked the one that looked about right.

Next you are going to sew the little wings onto either side of the zipper. I folded under either end, folded the whole thing in half, butted it up against the zipper and sewed the wings onto either side, using my zipper foot. That's done.

If you haven't guessed by now, I totally winged this. Things could have been done more neatly and more precisely, but all I really wanted to do was figure out the method.

The handles...start with a strip, I made mine three inches wide and fifteen inches long, fold over the long edges, then fold the whole thing in half lengthwise. Sew up the side. Done.

This is where you have to sandwich everything together. First I ironed a little hem into the tops of all the body pieces. Then stack them up starting with the lining fabric at the bottom, wrong side up.

Next is outer fabric, right side up.

Then the handles. You'll want to center then and line them up with the other pair. I eyeballed.

Top off the pile with the zipper piece, wrong side up.

Once all the edges are lined up on top, you sew across the stack, and this is what happens!

Do the same thing on the other side, then line up your side edges and take a seam. Repeat on the other side.

Okay, at this point I thought, "Well, this looks bad. What am I going to do about the ends?" but then I tucked the whole zipper dealy into the bag and tacked it down at the seams. Better.

The tricky parts are done! To close up the bottom, lay out the bag, right side out, and sew across the bottom.

Trim that seam, turn the bag inside out, and sew across the bottom again. This encloses the raw edges. Now the bag will still have raw edges along the side seams. That's the one thing I didn't work out. That's up to the next person! --grin--

Finally, you square up those corners like I showed you earlier. Oooh, lousy picture.

And that's it.


Vicki W said...

Nice work!

Columbia Lily said...

very cute!

curlytop said...

it's very nice to find tutorials like this, thank you for your time and sharing!! i made one with zipper already by myself but it took me few hours to find out but now i understand it better!