Monday, January 20, 2014

Invisible Zippers

When you put on a dress or pair of pants you probably don't think anything about the zipper until it fails. You just put it on zip it up and go on your way. Well there is some thought that should possibly go into the next time you zip yourself into a dress with an invisible zipper. If you have ever gone formal wear shopping you may have noticed that the sales people are really adamant about zipping you into the dress? Well that is because a big percentage of formal clothing uses invisible zippers and they are prone to failure probably 75% more than any other design. However they are, in my opinion, the best zipper to use EVER!

Exposed Zipper (Credit)

Invisible Zipper (Credit)

Standard Poly Zipper (Credit)
As you can see in the three pictures the invisibile zipper makes the least amount of impact on the line of the dress. There is no stitching on the outside of the dress and you don't see the teeth of the zipper at all. It just looks like the extension of the seam line. 

HOWEVER invisible zippers are much more fragile they are made where the zipper pull runs along the fabric of the zipper and if you tug or pull at them too hard the zipper pull begins to separate the fibers of the zipper webbing and will result in the zipper not working properly. It is very important that you use care when putting on a garment with an invisible zipper and if you feel that the zipper is beginning to fail, have it replaced immediately. It is especially important to be careful if there is thick fabric, Thicker seam lines, or beading. Also if that garment is closely fitted it can put additional stress on the zipper, so just be careful.

Here is a real life story or an invisible zipper. The young lady took the garment to a seamstress to have some minor alterations and adjustments made. She asked the seamstress to replace the zipper, and the seamstress told her it didn't need to be replaced. Three weeks later while at a pageant I am pulled out of the audience to sew that girl into that dress because the zipper failed. I have since replaced the zipper in the dress myself. 

I recently put a zipper into a dress that had some very thick trim and made it very clear to both the wearer and the parent that care MUST be taken when zipping into the dress, guess what she had someone else zip her into the dress they yanked the zipper and tore it up the first time she put the dress on, so I changed it out to a standard poly zipper, which is probably what I should have done in the first place but even an experienced seamstress makes mistakes at times.

There is a wonderful tutorial by my favorite sewing blogger Gertie that you can read to learn how to install an invisible zipper. Invisible zipper feet are purchasable from your local fabric store, but if you are lucky enough to have a machine that a metal foot can be purchased I HIGHLY suggest purchasing that foot. It makes putting that zipper in so much easier than with the little plastic foot.