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    Clothes repair: How to move a zipper to another side

    Clothes repair: How to move a zipper to another side

    While sewing a pair of shorts or pants, a beginner tailor might easily, in the heat of work, make a mistake of attaching a zipper on the ‘men’s’ side instead of ‘women’s’ and vice versa. These shorts with a zipper on the ‘women’s’ came to me as the result of a young man’s hasty shopping. An unusual order resulted in a tutorial, which I’m now sharing with you.

    How to move a zipper to another side. Materials

    • Shorts
    • A sewing machine
    • A zipper foot
    • A spare zipper (if necessary)
    • Threads and needles, scissors, a seam ripper

    How to move a zipper to another side. The work order

    This is how the shorts looked before I started working on them. I want to call your attention to the waistband; we’ll be making changes to it as well.

    Zipper on the right side

    Zipper on the left side

    A ready garment is not that different from a semi-finished one when it comes to preparation. You’ll need to get rid of unnecessary stitches and deconstruct the unit. Pick up a seam ripper and carefully deconstruct the whole thing. Don’t touch the cording or edge finishing made with a serger.

    Seam ripper on blue shorts

    Upper part of blue pants unseamed

    Let’s proceed to the zipper. On the fly front guard there already is a line that will serve you as a guide for sewing a zipper. Baste the zipper to the wrong side. Install a zipper foot on your machine and stitch the zipper tape.

    Baste or pin the front fly extension to the other side of the tape and stitch. In order to prevent the pieces from getting nipped in the course of sewing, you may fold them in half and pin.

    Zipper pinned to the front fly guard

    Front fly extension

    Zipper pinned to front fly extension

    On the right side of the garment, mark where the topstitch will run. Align the edge of the zipper unit with the edge of your garment. Stitch the parts together.

    Zipper aligned with the edge of the pants

    Zipper pinned to shorts

    Fold the zipper unit to the wrong side and topstitch along the edge from the lower to the upper edge. Edge stitch foot is your little helper here.

    Zipper is being stitched to shorts

    Edge of blue shorts with pins

    Set the values according to your own taste. You can easily determine the stitch length by simply measuring it with a ruler on a ready item. Different embroidery machine models have different stitch settings; there is a lot written about them in the manual. It often has tables that help to quickly choose the right stitch and the values.

    Stitch length is set on Brother embroidery machine

    Brother Innov straight stitch value

    Topstitch the fly guard along the drafted line. After that, join the free edge of the zipper tape and the garment.

    Marking crotch seam

    Crotch seam topstitch ready

    This is how my shorts looked like after I relocated the zipper. Stitch the lower part of the front seam under the topstitching line to the center point where the seams meet, one or two times. Join the parts with their wrong sides together, and topstitch on the right side (optional).

    No waistband yet

    Belt loops on blue shorts

    All that’s left is to sew a waistband. In order to do it evenly, join the waistband and the garment, beginning at the center back. Evenly distribute the waistband, paying attention to where the side seams meet. If there are the belt loops, use them as guides. Stitch the waistband to the garment, then fold the waistband lining to the wrong side and topstitch along the lower edge or do the shadow seam. This will help to lower the burden on the first seam, and also to join the inner side of the waistband to the outer one.

    Blue shorts waistband pinned

    Blue shorts with waistband and buttons

    Sew the buttons back on.

    Compare the two photos. On the left are the shorts how they came to me, on the right — the shorts after I repaired them. This tutorial uses an unusual way of sewing a zipper.

    Blue shorts with zipper on women's side

    Blue shorts with zipper on men's side

    In the clothing repair shop where I saw it first, it was called ‘the quick one’ and was intended for speedy clothes repair.


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