Have you ever thought about using a serger to apply a zipper? If not, you should! The traditional sewing machine and zipper foot method is always a good way to go, but using a serger can simplify the task and add a decorative touch to zipper applications.
In honor of National Serger Month, here are two different ways you can use a serger to apply a zipper to your next project. Once you see the results, you’ll be amazed at how quick and easy it can be!
Lapped and Topstitched Zipper
This is the easiest method to serge a zipper, especially when the zipper ends will be crossed by intersecting seams. Use heavyweight decorative thread to serge the exposed fabric edges next to the zipper.
- Serge-finish both fabric edges next to the zipper with a balanced roll edge or your choice of decorative stitch.
- Use a heavyweight decorative thread in the upper looper with all-purpose or serger thread in the needle and lower looper. Buttonhole twist or lightweight yarn works well as tightly twisted threads are easier to surge and more durable. Be sure the stitch doesn’t stretch the fabric by adjusting for a short, medium- to wide balanced stitch.
Zip Tip: Prevent jamming by testing first with a 2mm stitch length, then shorten while serging. If the fabric stretches, adjust for a slightly longer stitch and a plus differential feed setting. This will tighten the looper tensions for a smoother stitch. You might also need to loosen the upper looper tension to allow the threads to overlock exactly on the fabric edge.
- Serge finish the fabric edges from the right side so the decorative upper looper thread shows. Position the finished serged edge on the zipper right side, next to the teeth.
- Open the zipper (to avoid sewing next to the zipper stop). For wide-stitch serged edges, topstitch the fabric to the zipper along the fabric edge. For narrower stitches and rolled edges, topstitch next to the needleline.
Adding an exposed zipper is a great way to dress up a garment with a cool detail. Seam allowance edges are serge-finished in one step when serging a zipper to the fabric. The zipper is exposed, but the serging is on the wrong side of the fabric.
Before serging ahead, here are a few tips:
1. Use all-purpose or serger thread
2. Lightweight coil zippers feed the easiest under the pressure foot
3. Choose a zipper 4” longer than the opening (2” longer on each end) to avoid catching the zipper pull or stops under the presser foot
- To begin, adjust for a wide, medium-length, balanced 3- or 4-thread stitch.
- Open the zipper all the way and with right sides together, put the zipper on the fabric right side with the teeth over the seamline.
- Serge with the zipper on top and wrong side up to avoid hitting the teeth. Serge the tape to the fabric, close to the zipper teeth, being careful not to hit them with the needle.
- Press the fabric away from the coils. Machine topstitch next to the fold, if desired.
- Close the zipper. With fabric right sides together, align the unstitched side with the unfinished zipper edge.
- Open the zipper. Serge the tape to the fabric, trimming both the fabric and zipper tape.
- Press all layers away from the coil and topstitch. Close the zipper.
- To prevent the zipper pull from slipping off the end, bartack across the zipper lower edge with wide zigzag stitch and a 0 stitch length.
- Open the zipper several inches below the upper edge. Bartack at the upper edge for a closed zipper or on both tapes for a separating zipper.
Using a serger to add a zipper is that easy!
Have you ever serged a zipper before? Are you ready to give this technique try? Tell us in the comments section below!