Monday, February 26, 2018

How to Add An Exposed Metal Zipper to a Pocket on a Velvet Tunic

I love pockets! I also love that I can sew my own clothing and add pockets if they are not included. Or, as in this case, take a simple patch pocket and make it design detail with the addition of an exposed zipper. 
By adding the metal zipper not only does it add a little designer touch, the pocket becomes practical for holding essentials such as a phone, credit card, lipstick, and keys. 
The tunic pattern I sewed is Butterick 6520, a Katherine Tilton design.  It's a pullover knit tunic with a split hem and one patch pocket.  I liked the pocket on the pattern, but wasn't sure how practical it would be which is why I decided to add a side zipper.
I choose to use stretch velvet (purchased online at Sly Fox Fabrics). I don't know about you, but I am loving this current trend of velvet!  A simple knit tunic becomes date-night worthy when sewn out of stretch velvet. 
The tunic is fairly simple to sew and I'll show you how to add the exposed zipper to the pocket!  I used a Coats & Clark black metal zipper and the new Coats & Clark Eloflex Stretch thread. I found both items at my local Joann Fabrics.

The seams on this tunic are topstitched which I think is a nice touch.  Even though you can't see it clearly on my black velvet I like knowing that it's there. 
After topstitching, I trimmed the excess seam allowance from the back side.
The hem is a split hem. And to be honest I found it a bit odd and thought about eliminating that design feature.  But I went ahead and sewed it as the designer intended and have since discovered it's kinda fun. It's not really that noticeable unless you're moving.
So let's talk about how to add a size zipper to that patch pocket!

Cut a pocket out of your fashion fabric making sure it is large enough for your zipper. I used a 9" closed bottom metal zipper.  I also increased the seam allowances on all four sides to 1" as I was working with stretch velvet which doesn't always like to behave. 

Place the pocket right side up on a cutting surface and decide where you want the zipper to be.  Measure to the center of the zipper teeth; write down that measurement as you'll need it in the next step.

Remove the zipper. Measure in the distance you marked in step above; draw a vertical line using a removable fabric marker or chalk.
Cut a strip of fusible interfacing about 2-1/2 or 3" wide and the length of the pocket.  Turn the pocket over with the wrong side up.  Place the strip of interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric centered over the vertical line. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing in place. If you are using velvet, be sure to place the right side of the velvet on a velvet board before fusing so the nap doesn't get crushed.
Turn the fabric right side up and cut along the marked line.  You'll now have two pieces of fabric. Pin the metal zipper right side down to the right side of the small rectangle. The bottom edge will extend past the fabric. That's okay, we're going to trim that off later.
Unzip the zipper. Using a zipper foot, stitch the zipper to the fabric.
Repeat on the other side of the pocket.
The zipper is now sewn to the pocket.

This is what it looks like on the wrong side. That interfacing helps support the weight of the zipper.

Cut a second pocket out of either your fashion fabric or lining.  I choose to use a ponte knit instead of velvet as velvet on velvet doesn't always like to play nice. It slips and slides and requires a lot of patience!
Place the pocket and pocket lining right sides together matching edges.  It's okay if it doesn't match exactly. Just trim the edges so they are even. Pin all four sides together, making sure to open the zipper about halfway. 
Stitch around all four sides, STOPPING when you get to the bottom of the metal zipper. Here you will stitch over the metal teeth by slowly turning the hand wheel on the sewing machine. That way you have control where the needle lands and you can adjust slightly if the needle is going to hit a metal zipper tooth. If you continue to stitch normally, the needle will break and who knows where it might go flying! Trust me on this one :-)
After you have stitched all four sides, trim the seams and corners. Cut off the bottom of the zipper below the stitching. Remove the teeth using a zipper pliers and nipper (if you have them). I used a jewelry pliers as that's what I had on hand.
Turn the pocket right side out through the opening in the zipper.  If you forgot to open the zipper it's okay. You should be able to pull the zipper open using the backside of the zipper pull. Once the pocket is right side out press lightly. 
Place the pocket on the tunic along the pattern placement lines.  Pin in place.  Since I was using stretch velvet, I basted the pocket in place to help control the slippage.
Topstich around all four sides of the pocket. Remember to be careful stitching over the metal teeth of the zipper. You now have a decorative pocket with a functional metal zipper detail!
I sewed this top planning to wear it for Valentine's Day (it's cold here people!  No sleeveless, slinky dresses with strappy heels for me) but ended up sick (boo!)  That's okay, I've gotten plenty of wear out of it already and it's only a few weeks old. 
Happy Sewing!

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  1. Another really great look Sharon! I've finally concluded that you have an affinity for red roses! This fabric is lovely. The outfit is really cute; especially with the addition of the rose embellishment on the boots!
    Miss you my friend!! Love, Jude

  2. Really lovely! I have this pattern and I never would have considered sewing a zipper on the pocket but it's a brilliant design feature and I've bookmarked your tutorial (thank you!) for when I'm sewing up this pattern. In a stretch velvet I bet this top just swings in such a nice way when you're moving :)

  3. Great tutorial to make a pocket more secure and a really great looking top.



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