Updated: Mar 21, 2021
Take the fear out of sewing zippers with this clever product called Wash Away Quilters Tape. It’s not just for quilters, we use it to stick our zippers in place before sewing. Pinning can sometimes distort the fabric and zipper but this clever product will keep your zipper flat and hold it in place, ready to sew.
(This week week spend $100 on our website and get a roll for FREE, offer ends 10/5/19)
If you wash your project, as the name suggests, the tape will wash away so it’s also perfect for dressmaking but if you intend not to wash your project, such as a bag, it can stay in place and won’t damage your fabric.
You can add this set-in zipper pocket to the lining or exterior of any bag. To begin with, I’ll show a lining pocket and then I’ll show some tips for adding the zipper pocket to a bag exterior with foam interfacing.
For the pocket you’ll need a 25 cm (10”) zipper and two rectangles of fabric: 17 cm x 21 cm (6 ½” x 8 ½”) This is just a guide, you can make a different size pocket if you like.
Tip: Cut the long edge of the pocket on the straight grain. (The straight grain runs parallel with the selvedge) The straight grain is solid and does not stretch, the pocket opening will be marked along this grain, this will eliminate the need for interfacing.
Onto the wrong side of one lining pocket piece, mark the rectangle opening for the zipper along 1 long edge as follows:
Top line: 1 1/2" (4 cm) down from top edge.
Bottom line: 3/8" (1 cm) below line 1.
Side lines: 1 1/2" (4 cm) in from each side.
Next, draw a line in the middle of the rectangle that starts and finishes 1/4" (6 mm) away from both opposite side edges.
Where the middle line finishes, mark a diagonal line out to each corner, making V shapes.
Place the marked pocket piece right sides together with a front or back lining piece, positioning it where you would like your zipper pocket to be.
Pin in place and stitch on the marked rectangle with a small stitch length of 2
(A small stitch length will help to make neat corners).
Using sharp pointed scissors, carefully cut on the centre line, cutting through both layers, cut each diagonal line, cutting close to the corner but being careful not to cut the stitching.
Pull the pocket fabric through the rectangle hole to the wrong side of the lining piece and press. You should now have a neat rectangle hole in your fabric.
Cut one, 2.5 cm (1”) piece and 2 pieces of the wash away tape that are slightly longer than the rectangle hole.
Undo the zipper slightly and working with the right side of the zipper facing up, stick the small piece of tape across the open end to hold the 2 edges together. Next, stick the tape onto the outer edges of the zipper tape.
Peel away the paper backing from the tape, revealing the sticky surface then position the zipper under the rectangle, ensuring that the teeth are perfectly centred. The excess length of the zipper will extend under the rectangle hole and will be trimmed later if necessary.
Attach your zipper foot with the needle positioned on the right side and sew in the zipper, sewing close to the edge of the rectangle.
When you approach the zipper pull, stop with the needle in the down position, lift the foot and slide the zipper pull out of the way. Lower the foot and continue sewing in the zipper.
Turn the bag piece over so that the wrong side is facing up. Place the other pocket piece right sides together with the pocket piece that has the zipper attached. Fold the bag piece out of the way to pin only the 2 pocket pieces together around the outer edge.
Sew the 2 pocket pieces together around the outer edge with a 3/8" (1 cm) seam allowance.
If your zipper extends to the edge of the pocket, sew it in the pocket seam for extra reinforcement and then trim if necessary. (Be careful not to sew over the metal ends of the zipper)
This is the finished product.
Making this kind of pocket on a bag exterior can be a little trickier but here are some tips to dealing with the thickness of the bag foam interfacing.
Using the same method as above, sew one pocket piece with right sides facing the bag exterior that has the foam interfacing attached.
Cut the centre line and snip out to the corners as previously instructed.
Before you pull the pocket through to the wrong side, carefully trim away the foam interfacing from the inside of the stitched rectangle to reduce the bulk. (Use a sew-in foam interfacing as an iron on interfacing would be difficult to trim)
Pull the pocket through the rectangle to the wrong side of the bag piece.
Working from the wrong side, pin the pocket piece away from the rectangle opening to hold flat.
Once again working from the wrong side, set your machine to a large stitch length of 5 and stitch around the rectangle opening, sewing about 2 cm (3/4”) away from the rectangle opening. This stitching will be unpicked later and is just there to keep the rectangle opening smooth and flat.
Here’s the view from the right side, a nice neat rectangle, ready for you to insert the zipper with the double-sided tape.