Monday, January 5, 2015

Fixing Jeans Zippers: The Extravaganza of Shortcut Fails

Sometimes sewing shortcuts can save you a lot of time. Sometimes they can just leave you ticked off with a improperly installed zipper.

Since I've been sewing over 40 years, and have sewn professionally for many of them, I'm usually pretty confident about taking shortcuts - but every once in awhile, something comes along to knock me down a peg or two - with the message that maybe I don't know as much as I think I do.

This pair of jeans - took me three tries to get the new zipper installed - thanks to some shortcut-led mistakes on my part.

Everything that went wrong was my own fault.

I should have either pinned the new zipper in before sewing, or hand basted it - but no - I thought I could just do it. Sometimes it works - this time - it didn't.

The first time, I had everything back together, and everything looked just perfect, even the double-stitching was perfect.

The problem came when I tried to test the zipper and found out I had sewn the fly of the pants shut.

The zipper worked perfectly, but it was irrelevant since the fabric was stitched tightly together.

So, for the second try, I unzipped the zipper before stitching it together. That way, there was no chance I would sew it shut. It worked, too, except when I tried to close the zipper and button the waist, the waist was about an inch off and would not button.

The zipper still worked perfectly, though, so, I cussed for a while, then ripped everything apart again.

For my third attempt, I lined everything up, sewed a little, tested everything, sewed a little more, tested again, then finished sewing.

I can't say I'm delighted with my work, when I look at it, it looks to me like maybe a blind person stitched it up, but the zipper works, and really, I don't think the flaws I see when I look at the jeans will show when a person is wearing them, at least I hope not.

So, in light of my extravaganza of pants zipper replacement shortcut fails, I will be posting a few tutorials on replacing jeans zippers and putting new zippers in pants.

I actually do know how to do it right, even though I didn't this particular time. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask away.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

What is the purpose of fringe on buckskin jackets?

Not sewing related - but an interesting tidbit about how buckskin jackets were originally designed...

The fringe on buckskin jackets was originally cut to make seams more flexible while keeping the strips of hide available for use in tying things, and to allow rain to run off the coat instead of soaking in to the part that touches the body. 

In emergencies, a strip of fringe could be cut off to use as a tourniquet or to tie canvas and hides together to make an emergency shelter.

The Lemen website also describes the way fringe creates an illusion of movement that makes it popular with bronco riders.

On today's buckskin jackets, fringe serves a decorative function.


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