How to insert and sew a zipper placket // Clare Coat Sewalong // Closet Case Files
Sewalongs

CLARE SEWALONG PT 12 // INSTALLING THE ZIPPER PLACKET

We’re nearing the finish line! Next week we’ll be lining our Clare Coats and finishing up, but today we need to finish working on the body of View A.

This may be the trickiest bit of sewing on this project but that just means you should take your time and focus on each step. By this point you should have your separating coat zipper (we discussed sources earlier in the sewalong). We will be sewing it to the right side of the coat first.

We need to make sure our zipper won’t intersect with the seam allowance of the collar, so take a ruler or seam gauge and mark the seam allowance. Your zipper teeth should not pass this point.

How to insert and sew a coat zipper // Clare Coat Sewalong // Closet Case Files

Pin the zipper face down to the right side of the coat. Keep in mind that you want a 5/8″ seam allowance but also want to see a little bit of the zipper tape (it is exposed after all).  The zipper stop should end 2-3″ from the notch at the bottom of the coat front. If you need to shorten your zipper, do it from the top. Once you know where the zipper needs to start and end, remove any zipper teeth that pass your seam allowance with pliers.

How to insert and sew a coat zipper // Clare Coat Sewalong // Closet Case Files

Zipper tape can get pretty heavy duty. To get a nice smooth corner at the top of the collar, fold the zipper tape down and away from the zipper teeth, under the 5/8″ seam allowance. If you sew it right into the seam, the zipper has a tendency to curve at the very top and it doesn’t look very good.

How to insert and sew a coat zipper // Clare Coat Sewalong // Closet Case Files

With a zipper foot, sew along the length of the zipper, backstitching on either end. Try to sew along the 5/8″ seam allowance at an even distance from the zipper teeth. I like to see 1-2mm of zipper tape.

How to insert and sew a coat zipper // Clare Coat Sewalong // Closet Case Files How to insert and sew a coat zipper // Clare Coat Sewalong // Closet Case Files

Undo the zipper and match up your front coat and side panel at the hem notch and mark on the side panel where your zipper stop needs to end in order to match up with the front. The blue pin in the picture below is marking the end of the zipper stop.

How to zew coat zipper

Pin the left side of the zipper face down on the left side of the coat. Again, make sure the top of your zipper tape is folded down like you did on the left side of the coat. Once you have the top and bottom pinned down, ease the rest of the coat seam along the zipper until it’s even. That little loose seam where your sleeve and side panel were attached should be tucked into the zipper so that when it’s sewn together you don’t see any raw edges.

How to insert and sew a coat zipper // Clare Coat Sewalong // Closet Case Files

Make sure that your collar seam stays open and flat when you’re pinning it into place. The seam allowance we snipped into along the arm opening should be laying flat.

How to insert and sew a zipper placket // Clare Coat Sewalong // Closet Case Files

Sew along the length of the zipper. That little seam I was talking about should be tucked out of the way like so:

How to insert and sew a coat zipper // Clare Coat Sewalong // Closet Case Files

Time for the zipper placket! I’ve laid it out on the coat below so you can see what direction it should be facing once it’s installed in the coat. The curved part should aim towards the left side.

How to insert and sew a zipper placket // Clare Coat Sewalong // Closet Case Files

Pin the packet into place over the zipper on the right side of the coat. It should start juusst outside the seam allowance along the collar, and match up perfectly with the hem notch towards the bottom.

How to insert and sew a zipper placket // Clare Coat Sewalong // Closet Case FilesHow to insert and sew a zipper placket // Clare Coat Sewalong // Closet Case Files

When you sew the placket to the coat, sew it with the wrong side of the coat body facing you. This way you can sew directly on top of your zipper stitching, ensuring your zipper tape is evenly visible.

Here is the placket sewn in from the wrong side:

How to insert and sew a zipper placket // Clare Coat Sewalong // Closet Case Files

And the right side:

How to insert and sew a zipper placket // Clare Coat Sewalong // Closet Case Files

Don’t worry about pressing it for now, since we still need to install the lining. I would suggest grading the  placket seam since things can get quite bulky. Leave the actual coat seam alone since it is laying against the jacket, and then trim each successive layer down about 1/4″ so it looks something like this:

How to insert and sew a zipper placket // Clare Coat Sewalong // Closet Case Files

Monday we will be sewing our facings and linings…. the end is so close I can smell it (and it smells like steamed wool).

  • Catherine

    I am doing a Franken Clare, and I am wondering if I should add length to the zipper placket at the top by continuing in the same angle, or if I should give it an other bend opposite to the one it already has (same angle as the body part of the placket if that makes any sense to you).

    • Good question! I’d leave teh angle in. Otherwise WONKINESS.

    • Kathryn

      Ah, thank you! I had the same question myself. So, just to clarify, use the placket pattern exactly as is, and extend the length at the top as needed?

  • Dante at sewgadenzia.com

    THANK YOU so much for this sewalong, this new pattern and the GINGER JEANS!!!! I just completed my second pair of Ginger Jeans!!! YOU make it Easy and fun!!!! I will post them only blog soon. The problem I had was withy sewing machine! ARGG!!! What kind of machine do you use? I May need to get a tougher machine because I am thrilled with your Jean pattern and I LOVE making coats! I will get to sewing a Clare some day soon I hope. But I need find out the best machine for thick difficult stuff?????? Thank you!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dina Passman

    I finished my View A Claire this past weekend only to notice that my zipper is unevenly installed on the right side! It’s off by enough that it makes me not like the end result, so it’s clear I need to go back and fix it. The side that needs to move up is the one with the placket (i.e. a few layers of sticking need to come out). Do you have any good ideas for how to approach this given that the lining is already sewn in??

    • Hi Dina. It’s hard to say without seeing some pictures! If you need to adjust the zipper I think you’ll need to remove the facing and lining first… I’ve been there, I’m sorry! Not sure if there’s a shortcut there.

      • Dina Passman

        Thanks for your speedy and supportive reply! It was bad news (I have to redo it) in a good package (you shared your own zipper fail). Attached are pics of the top and bottom of the zipper. IMO, they’re just too off kilter for this graceful beauty.

        • I think it’s not the biggest deal in the world but I understand wanting to fix it… It looks like its going to be a stunner though!!

          • Dina Passman

            Thank you! I just tore it up tonight and will start piecing her together tomorrow. I’ll share a pic when i’m all done.

          • Dina Passman

            And redone. Not perfect, but close enough.