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Fern sewalong: setting the waistband and zip

Today we are putting in those ever-feared invisible zips! If you missed the last post, have a look at how we sewed the side seams of our shorts.

Sewing the waistband

Iron your fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the waistband piece. While the iron's hot, press your waistband in half lengthwise (use the notch as a guide), so that it folds easily to the inside of the shorts later.

Iron on the interfacing

Match the waistband to the top edge of the shorts, right sides together. Pin and stitch in place.

Pin the waistband in place
Sew the waistband

Press your seam allowances up onto the inside of the waistband.

Wrong side of waistband

Press seam allowances up onto waistband

Inserting the invisible zip

Setting a zip along a pocket looks a bit hairy, but I promise it's not all that bad! Use your invisible zip foot for this bit. It has two grooves in the bottom of the foot to accommodate the zip teeth. This makes it much easier to sew very close the the zip teeth, making for a truly invisible finish.

Place your zip face down onto the left hand side of the back of the shorts. (Remember your seam allowance!) Notice that the zip is placed halfway up the waistband piece – the top of the zip lines up with the notch at lengthwise crease we ironed into the waistband. The remaining half of the waistband piece will be folded to the inside to neatly cover all raw edges.

Pin the zip in place

Insert your invisible zip foot into your machine and move the needle so that it lines up to the far left. On my machine, the needle can be moved by adjusting the stitch width.

Guideline stitch settings

Guide the zip teeth into the left hand groove of the zip foot. The zip teeth tend to roll inward, so open them up a bit with your fingernail. Adjust the position of the needle to make sure you're going to be sewing close to the zip teeth. (Not too close though, you don't want to catch the plastic teeth in any of your stitches!)

Sew from the top of the zip right down toward the bottom. The end of the zip is bulky, so it will stop you from reaching all the way, but go as far as you can.

Now, place the remaining zip tape face down along the edge of the shorts front.

Stitch the zip in place

Move the needle back to the centre position. Guide the zip teeth into the right hand groove of the zip foot and sew once again from top to bottom. Now you can test out your fabulous invisible zip!

Turn the shorts inside-out and match the side seams together beneath the zip. Pinch the zip end out of the way, and sew from where your stitch line ends at the bottom of the zip, right down to the hem.

Sew the side seam

I like to use a regular zip foot for this part, because the shape of the foot lets you get nice and close to the zip so that your stitches line up accurately.

High five

Well done! Try on your shorts and celebrate! Next time, we'll look at those cuffs, and do a spot of hand sewing to finish the inside of the waistband.

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