Monday, April 11, 2011

{Mis}Adventures with zippers

I decided that this weekend was going to finally be my showdown with zippers.  Naturally, that's when my mother called and announced that she planned to visit for the weekend.  She left around lunchtime yesterday, so I've spent the afternoon trying to tackle a zippered pouch.  I must say, I need practice.  Definitely.  I used Noodlehead's great Gathered Clutch tute, which is so super cute.  Mine is decidedly less cute, although I'm still proud of it.

I made some seriously amateur mistakes on this little pouch.  I think my sewing mojo was elsewhere, between the silly mistakes I made here and the ridiculous mistakes I made on a recent bee block this week.

In attempting to shorten my zipper, I didn't shorten it enough, not knowing quite how to measure the zipper, and rather than going back and shortening it further when I realized my error, I kept on trucking.  Mistake #1.  I've now done a little bit more homework, including reading a really great post on Sew Mama Sew about all things zippers which taught me about how to appropriately measure a zipper (from metal to metal).

I also managed to use my zipper foot backwards.  I didn't think of doing some zipper research on YouTube until just now; next time I tackle something new, I definitely will.  I found a few helpful videos about zipper feet that told me I was using mine all wrong.  I made it work, but it seems that my way was definitely not the right, easier way.

I got my partner for the Pretty Little Pouch swap this weekend, and thankfully, she doesn't have her heart set on a zippered pouch, but I really want to master these rather than shying away.  So, here's your warning - there's going to be more zippers around here!!  If you have a favorite zipper tute, pass it my way, I'd love to see it.  So...I now have my first zippered clutch completed...and though it's fraught with errors, I'm really excited that I have officially sewn a zipper.  Maybe after another two or ten, I won't be scared of them anymore...

And since I feel obligated to show you something beautiful, here's a little something - it's butterfly season around here, apparently.  We've got cocoons all around our house, and a few butterflies have started to emerge this weekend.  My son is absolutely fascinated with these little guys.  When I took my new pouch outside to photograph, I happened to stumble on one of our new little butterfly friends.  Such a pretty one!


  1. Isn't it funny how something so small creates so many problems? I can put them in skirts no problem at all but in pouches they wreck my head completely! I think you're being a bit hard on yourself, your little clutch looks gorgeous!

  2. One you master them they are easy. I love doing zippers if the pattern walks you through it properly it is not a problem. I use to not buy a pattern if there was a zipper involved.

  3. Good for you for tackling it. The first one is always the worst, you'll get better and better at it!

  4. I've done zippers a lot but what I can't seem to get just right is adding the little fabric bits that are folded on the ends I know that tutorial you used does the zipper that way and when I made two of them for gifts last winter I managed to get two of the ends to look good (one on each pouch)... but I couldn't figure out what I did right/wrong. Let us all know if you make a revelation!

  5. Congrats - I'm sure the first one is the hardest. For the record *I* think your clutch is cute!

  6. Elizabeth - 1
    Zippers - O

    Nice job!

    Try this tutorial. I've had it in my favorites for a long time, don't dare try a zipper! You are making me brave!
    Besides, yours looks good.

  8. Ha! What a week! I too have been struggling with that bee block - but you know what? It wouldn't be exciting if we weren't learning something new! Good for you for tackling zippers in the same week as paper piecing. I think your little pouch looks great and I'm sure your next attempt will be better!

  9. I think with the zipper, if you made it shorter, and then leave lots of space between where the side seams are and the end of the zipper tabs -- then when you turn it inside out it should be ok. And if there is too much space you can always sew another seam closer.
    Once you "get" it -- you'll be set -- and be able to whip out cute pouches in no time!

  10. Great first zipper Elizabeth! Like everyone else seems to agree, once you feel confident you will be set. Practice, practice, practice. :) And about the bee block....haven't tried it yet--but now I am starting to worry.

  11. It turned out great! Much better than my first attempt. I have a zipper pouch tutorial too if you want to check it out (I show how to do the covered zipper ends).

  12. I would love to make that gathered clutch, but I'm too intimidated by the zipper! Good for you for tackling it! You're brave. : )

  13. Laughing because I was CERTAIN I was the only person in the world who couldn't figure out the zipper foot and had been using it the wrong way! Oh and I decided to conquer zippers with the gathered clutch tutorial as well, must have been in the air :-)

  14. oh no, sorry to hear the zippers were giving you trouble! Hopefully having the zipper foot on the right way will help... I have a pleated pouch tutorial on my blog that you could check out - I have it designed so you don't have to worry about sewing around the zipper pull which always annoys me.

  15. I, too, am afraid of zippers. I love your pouch and am inspired to--- maybe--- give it a try myself:)


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Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a very busy nine year old boy and a one year old baby girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
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