One question we get a fair bit, especially in regards to the Portside Travel Set, is how to make your own zipper. I personally love making zippers because you can pick out exactly what you want in regards to the gauge, metal, type of slider, etc. and also because if I have the supplies on hand I don’t need to order custom zippers and then wait for them to arrive. Instead I can whip up a zip and get started on my project right away! To start, lets talk a bit about the parts of the zipper and what supplies you’ll need to make your own zippers.
The type of zipper we’re going to make in this tutorial is called a non-separating, or closed end, zipper. This means that the zipper is open on one end, the top, and the bottom is permanently closed with a bottom stop that spans the zipper tapes at the other end. You’ll find this type of zipper on pants, dresses, bags, etc. You can also get invisible non-separating zippers but those will have plastic teeth and I’ve never seen parts for purchase to make one of your own before. Lets quickly go over the labeled parts above before we start making our own zipper below.
- Top / Bottom Tape End: this is the part of the tape above and below the stops at the top and bottom of the zipper.
- Top Stop: one of two pieces crimped to one side of the zipper just above the last tooth. This stops the zipper slider from sliding off the end of the chain when closing it.
- Teeth: these are the individual pieces attached to the zipper tape that make up the chain.
- Slider: the piece of the zipper that moves up and down the teeth to open and close the chain.
- Pull Tab: the moveable piece attached to the slider that you grab to pull the slider up and down. These come in many different shapes and can be basic or stylized.
- Tape: the fabric that the zipper teeth are clamped to.
- Chain: the teeth form the chain when closed with the slider.
- Bottom Stop: a single piece that spans the two zipper tapes and stops the zipper from going off the end of the tape.
- Tape Width: refers to the width of the the tape on one side of the zipper only.
If you’re going to make your own zipper you’ll need a few supplies which I’ve laid out below. I ordered these from ZipperSource.com though there are other places that sell these parts as well.
- Continuous Chain: this is a large spool of uncut zipper tape with chain. You can choose your metal and chain size here and when you do, note them so you’re sure you’re buying the right size for the rest of the zipper parts.
- Zipper Slider: you’ll need to make sure your slider size matches your chain size and there are often a variety of pulls to choose from based on your style and need.
- Top and Bottom Stops: again based on the chain size. Again these are based on chain size but outside of that there isn’t much to choose from aside from color.
- Pliers: I prefer a needle nose pliers for this but I wouldn’t recommend using your best pair. We’ll be yanking the teeth off the tape so a mediocre pair you have laying around is recommend as this can tend to strip the gripping grooves off the surface of the pliers.
Now that we’ve got our supplies squared away, lets make our zippers! Start by cutting off a length of your continuous chain. You’ll want to either match the length of the piece you’re sewing the zipper to, or make it a bit longer and I highly recommend using a pair of scissors you don’t care about as you’ll need to cut through the metal section.
To prep the zipper for the bottom stop, pull the two sides of the zipper apart and lay it out so that the raised part of the teeth are facing up, pointing towards the top of the zipper. With a seam gauge, measure up the amount of your seam allowance plus the height of the bottom stop, in this case that equals 5/8″. You’ll need to remove the zipper teeth within this measurement at the bottom of the zipper.
I’ve found the easiest way to remove the teeth is to grip the tip of the zipper tooth with your pliers and pull the tooth straight off the end of the tape. The higher up you go, the more you’ll need to tug but it’s a pretty easy process.
Once you’ve removed your 5/8″ of zipper teeth from the one end of the tape, you’ll need to repeat this process for the other side. Keep in mind that the zipper teeth are staggered so that they can zip together and close to form the chain so you’ll need to remove one extra tooth from the second side.
One both sides of the tape have the requisite number of teeth removed you’re going to feed both sides of the tape through the zipper slider. Once you think you have them pretty even give the pull a tug up the teeth. If the chain is uneven at the bottom, you can remove the slider and try again.
With the slider part-way up the chain it’s time to attach the bottom stop. There are four prongs on the stop which will pierce the zipper tape and fold under to secure the tape in place. Align the bottom stop as shown above and when you have it in the correct position, push down on the stop to force the prongs through the tape.
Here you can see the bottom stop prongs from the underside of the zipper.
Take your pliers and fold each of the prongs over towards the center of the zipper to secure the stop in place.
We’re now over halfway to your new zipper!
Now you’ll need to measure the top of the zipper to remove the teeth needed for the seam allowance and top stops. Again we removed 5/8″ worth of teeth from both sides of the top of the zipper.
Now grab two of your top stops, one for each side of the zipper.
The stops are open really far so I find it easier to position and clamp them down on the tape if they’re slightly more closed. To do this I arrange the stop in my pliers as shown above and give it a little squeeze.
Now align the top stop above the last zipper tooth.
Clamp down hard on the stop with the base of your needle nose pliers so that the stop is really on there. You definitely don’t wan this coming off!
Repeat for the other side of the zipper and your zipper is complete. Sew in this zipper as you would any other regular zipper or according to the instructions on your pattern.
Now that we have everything cut, it’s time to start sewing our Portside Dopp Kits! Today we’ll be assembling the panels that make up the Dopp Kit. We’ll start with the top panel, then move onto the sides, then end with the carrying strap. Let’s get started!
Begin by folding and pressing down the ½″ seam allowance the long zipper edge on each of the top pieces (14). Align one of the folded edges along the zipper tape about 1/16 – 1/8″ from the zipper teeth. You’ll want to note that when both top pieces are attached the space for the zipper should measure about ½″ across. Depending on the size of your zipper tape and coil you may need to slightly adjust the amount of seam allowance you fold under as well as the space needed for the coil and zipper pull. The zipper shown here is a metal pants zipper and requires ¾” across for the pull to move smoothly along the zipper without catching the edges of the fabric.
Sew along the edge of the fabric to anchor the top to the zipper tape. Repeat for the other side so both top pieces are attached to the zipper.
With the rights facing, pin one end piece (13) to each side of the top piece you just made as shown above. I like to have the zipper part way open so that you aren’t dealing with the pull getting in the way at either end.
Using your ½″ seam allowance stitch the ends to the top. You may want to hand wheel your machine over the zipper area to ensure you don’t hit anything and break a needle!
Here you can see the underside of what we just sewed.
Press the seam allowance and the ends away from the zipper. Since I’m using a fabric that doesn’t want to press (the green fabric) I’ll be topstitching along my seams. Even though the camo fabric pressed nicely I topstitched along these seams to keep things consistent when we get to later steps. This topstitching step is completely optional.
Again, here you can see the underside of what you have sewn so far. Set this piece aside.
Now we’re going to create the front pocket of the Dopp Kit. Grab the upper front (piece 10) and fold the lower edge up along the notches so that the wrong sides meet where folded.
Align your zipper tape with the raw edge you just folded up, centering the two zipper stops equal distance from the edges.
Stitch along the edge of the zipper tape through all layers.
Fold the ½″ seam allowance at the top edge of one lower front. In most cases it would be the non-interfaced lower front, but I fused both of ours since the camo twill was a bit thinner than the green twill.
Align the folded edge with the lower edge of the zipper tape, making sure the edges of the lower piece match the edges of the upper piece, and pin in place.
Sew along the folded edge to secure the lower front to the zipper.
Take the front you just made and lay it on top of the the full dopp kit front (piece 9) with the right sides of both pieces facing up as shown above.
Pin the two pieces together and stitch along the perimeter inside the ½″ seam allowance. Set this piece aside.
Now we’ll be assembling the back side of the Dopp, no zippers so this one is easy! To begin, pin the upper back (11) to the lower back (12) with right sides facing.
Stitch the two layers together using your ½″ seam allowance.
Grade the seam allowance of the lower back.
Press the seam allowance towards the bottom of the bag and optionally topstitch along the seam line.
Now we’ll make the carrying strap. Start by folding the long sides of the strap together with right sides facing and pin.
Stitch using the same ½″ seam allowance and grade one of the seam allowances.
Turn the strap right side out.
Press the strap and stitch along the long edges to keep the strap flat when it’s attached to the bag.
That’s it for this post, all the pieces of the bag are assembled and we’re ready to start forming the bag. Our next post will be how to create your own zipper since that’s a question we get asked a lot in regards to the Portside Travel Set so stay tuned for that.
Patterns used in this tutorial
Today we’re going to talk all about cutting your Portside Dopp Kit. It’s pretty straighforward, you’ll be cutting your main fabric (fabric A, shown as blue above), your contrast fabric (fabric B, shown as white above), your lining, and your fusible interfacing. Since there are so many pieces these cutting maps should help you visualize what you’re cutting and fusing. If you don’t have the Portside Pattern yet, you can grab a copy here!
Main Fabric / Fabric A
In our sample for this sew-along we’re using this camo print twill as our main fabric. We’ve listed the pattern piece numbers, names, and the amount of each you’ll need to cut on each pattern piece above, as well as listed out here:
- 13 End / cut 2
- 16 Strap / cut 1
- 12 Lower Front & Back / cut 2
- 15 Bottom / cut 1
Contrast Fabric / Fabric B
We’re cutting our contrast, or fabric B, out of this army green twill. Again, you’ll find the pattern pieces needed listed on each of the cut pieces above, as well as in the list below:
- 11 Upper Back / cut 1
- 10 Upper Front / cut 1
- 9 Front & Back / cut 1
- 14 Top / cut 2
For the lining you’ll need to cut the following pieces:
- 13 End / cut 2
- 15 Bottom / cut 1
- 9 Front & Back / cut 2
- 14 Top / cut 2
Now to talk about fusible! You’ll need to fuse some, but not all, of the pieces of your Dopp Kit as the pattern is written. If you’re using a fabric that’s too thin, feel free to fuse more pattern pieces, but keep in mind that the fusible will be visible on the inside of the front pocket. I like to fuse the dopp as instructed no matter the weight of fabric because typically they get a lot of use and wear and tear, and it just gives the fabric a bit more strength. The pieces you’ll need to fuse are shown above and also listed below:
- 13 Ends
- 11 Upper Back
- 9 Front & Back
- 14 Tops
- 12 Bottom
When fusing, you’ll want the glue side of the interfacing face down on the wrong side of the cut pieces. Fuse according to the instructions that came with your fusible interfacing. If you find there’s any fusible overhanging the fabric when your done, I like to trim that off so that I have a nice clean edge when sewing, but that’s up to you.
That’s about all you need to know about cutting your dopp kit, if you have additional questions let us know in the comments below and we’ll help you out as best we can! If you’re participating we’re using the hashtags #grainlineholidaysewalong, #portsidedoppkit, and #portsidetravelset!
Patterns used in this tutorial
Alright, it’s time for my 4th Tamarack Society Update and I’ve finally got my pieces quilted! It didn’t take that long once I got going, honestly committing to the pattern and chalking it out took the longest. I always forget how quickly quilting goes once you actually get started. Need to apply this to the basted quilt I have upstairs in my house…maybe this winter. Anyway! Here’s where I’m at with my Tamarack!
The front is definitely my favorite part of the jacket. Try to ignore the chalk basting grid if you can, I haven’t had a chance to rub it out yet. You can see I followed the quilting pattern of the original Isabel Marant jacket that I started with as my inspiration for this variation. I spaced the front lines out about ½″ from each other, while the diagonals are spaced 1¼″ apart. The diagonals are on the 45° bias from the center front, and pivot up at the side seams, then pivot again at the center back. I love the way it turned out and I can’t wait to wash it up once the jacket is completed so it gets nice and puffy!
The lower half of the jacket is horizontal lines following the curve of the hem, from one front to the other. Like the lines on the top, these are also spaced 1¼″ apart.
Same for the sleeves, the lines follow the hem and are spaced 1¼″ apart. My goal for this week is to assemble the body and get ready to insert the pockets. I’ll definitely need to do a sample because it’s been a while since I did a double welt, but I think it should go pretty smoothly.
I’ve been watching some amazing jackets come to life over in the Tamarack Society Instagram hashtag and it’s so motivating to get my own coat done! If you haven’t checked it out yet, definitely head over there and take a peek, it’s great weekend browsing! I’ll be checking in again soon with hopefully a wearable coat – though likely one still without pockets. Slow and steady right?
As we mentioned on Monday, the Stowe bag not only makes a great gift, but it’s also a great reusable package for a gift! We chose 4 fabrics that would look just as good everyday as they would under the tree to get your inspiration flowing. You can accent your bag with contrasting binding or use the main fabric for the binding for a one tone look.
- Kokka Tentensen Circles
- Erin Dollar Double Dash Essex
- Robert Kaufman Essex Homespun
- Jen Hewett Imagined Landscapes Canvas (this is the fabric we’re using for our bag!)
There are so many fabric options for the Stowe bag, pretty much any fabric from quilting cotton and linen for a less structured bag to canvas will work well. You might also want to try shopping your fabric stash! The small bag uses just under 1 yard of fabric which makes it a pretty good stash buster. I just checked our fabric cabinet and there are so many options for Stowes in there, I don’t even know why I ordered fabric for this sew-along!
Patterns used in this tutorial
Today we’re talking about the supplies you’ll need if you’ll be following along with the Stowe Bag portion of our Holiday Sew-Along series! This project bag is super quick and comes in two sizes, though we’ll be showing the smaller size in this sew-along. Both sizes are great for keeping supplies together, but they also make great reusable wrapping for other gifts. They work up very quickly so if you follow along with us step-by-step you’ll have a Stowe in no time!
2. Fabric: We recommend medium weight woven fabrics such as denim, linen, twill, and canvas, however, fabrics over 9oz are not recommended for this pattern. This is because of potential sewing machine difficulty when sewing through a few of the more bulky seams.
3. Bias Binding or Fabric to Make Binding: You can use pre-made bias binding to finish the edges of your bag, or make your own using matching or contrasting fabric. We’ll show you how to do both during the sew-along.
4. Thread: I prefer to use standard poly thread for my projects. I like poly because I pre-treat my fabrics and I know that poly won’t shrink when laundered, keeping my seams nice and neat. Try to use high quality thread as it’s kinder to your machine.
5. Marking Chalk: You’ll need chalk or your favorite removable marking pen to both trace out your pattern as well as trace your pocket lines onto your pattern. This is my favorite chalk tracing pen, but use whatever works for you!
6. Scissors: I’m not much of a rotary person, but the scissors I find most useful for almost every project I make are my Gingher bent handle shears, embroidery scissors, and thread snips. I couldn’t sew without them.
7. Rulers: For this project I use all three of the above measuring tools. My trusty measuring tape for laying out my pattern pieces on grain, and the clear plastic rulers for truing my pocket lines.
8. Pins: Whatever pins you usually use should be just fine for this, just make sure they’re strong enough to go through two layers of your fabric and you’re all set.
9. Tape Measure: You’ll need a tape measure to take your measurements as well as lay out your pattern pieces for cutting.
10. Regular Machine Foot: I love my 1/4″ foot (which BERNINA calls the Patchwork Foot) because of the accuracy it provides but I recommend using whatever you’re used to.
11. Edgestitch Foot: We use this foot when sewing down bias binding to make sure that we have an even stitching line, but it is optional. If your machine has one, it should look something like this.
12. Bias Tape Maker (optional): If you’re making your own bias tape you might want to consider a bias tape maker. These are super easy to use and come in a variety of widths. You just pull your bias strip through it while ironing the fabric as it comes out the other side. For the Stowe you’ll need your finished binding to be approximately 1/4″ – 3/8″ wide, so keep that in mind when purchasing a bias tape maker. We have this kit which is great and includes every size we could possibly need!
Patterns used in this tutorial
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