How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns
Tutorials

HOW TO SEW A ZIPPER PLACKET FOR THE KELLY ANORAK

I really think that as far as jackets go, the Kelly Anorak is a totally approachable project even for a more beginner sewer. The only part I think might be a little confusing is our zipper placket. Since the coat is unlined, the placket doesn’t just offer an attractive way to conceal the zipper; it also helps create a professional, neat finish on the inside. There are a few steps to this process and I think it’s worth explaining more deeply in a blog post for those of you who are feeling a little apprehensive about it.

Before you get started, your front and back should be fully assembled. At this stage I suggest trying the jacket body on and determining where you want the drawstring to go (if you’re installing one). This time around I even went so far as to glue baste my drawstring casing on just to make sure it hit where I wanted. For this version I lowered my casing by about 1/2″ – I wanted the back to blouse out just a touch more.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Of course your drawstring grommet or buttonhole must be done before stitching your casing down. It’s easiest to add your drawstring after sewing the first line of casing topstitching but before sewing the second. You won’t have to feed it through with a safety pin later.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

If you do happen to wait until the end and are using our hardware kits, I suggest using a small safety pin; a normal sized one won’t fit through the hole. I forgot to put my drawstring in earlier so I taped the edge of it to the safety pin so it was easier to push through.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Once your drawstring casing is sewn, it’s time to get cracking on that zipper placket. To get started, let’s assemble the placket itself. Ensure the exterior side of the placket is interfaced.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

With right sides together, stitch along the bottom edge. Trim the seam so when you turn it inside out it creates a nice sharp 90 degree corner. Press.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

In the first image below you can see how it will be attached to the coat.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Line it up with the right side of the coat, raw edges together. The top should align with the neckline, the finished bottom edge of the placket should align with the bottom notch along center front.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Sew the placket to the coat along the seam allowance.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Now open your zipper. Pin the left side of the zipper to the side of the top right facing as shown below (when I say the left side of the zipper I mean as you are looking it; technically it is the right side of the zipper since it’s being sewn to the right side of the coat if that makes any sense). The zipper teeth should start just below the 5/8″ seam allowance so it is not caught in the stitching when you finish the neckline. It’s okay if the zipper doesn’t span the entire length of the facing – just ensure the zipper stops at least 5/8″ from the bottom, again so it’s not caught in a seam line.

You’re sewing at a 5/8″ seam allowance here; I set the zipper tape in 1/8″ from the raw edge and sewed closed to the teeth to get the correct seam width. The bottom right facing should be folded in 1/4″ twice along the side with the higher corner.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Stitch the zipper to the facing using a zipper foot.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Topstitch the folded edge of the bottom right facing.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Right sides together, align the long unfinished edge of the bottom facing with the top facing along the zipper side.  Stitch together using a zipper foot. Fold wrong sides together and press flat, so the zipper is sandwiched in between.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Now to stitch the facing to the coat… open the facing and pin the unfinished edge to the right coat front.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Stitch together.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

It will now look like this when unfolded.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Grade the seams to reduce bulk – this means trimming them so they step gradually down and you don’t have one big bulky seam. The graded or trimmed seams are the ones not touching the main body fabric, or the side that will face out towards the world.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Now fold the facing right sides together along the zipper seam. Starting at the notch 5/8″ from the edge of the coat hem, you are going to sew a straight line across the length of zipper facing, at a ninety degree angle from the center front seam Make sure you are not catching the zipper placket in your stitching.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Trim the corner down so when you flip it right side out it creates a nice crisp corner.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Like this:

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Before we stitch the facing and placket down, you’ll want to finish the hem since it will shortly be encased in the seam. Use a serged stitch or bias bound finish (I did a Hong Kong finish here – see this post on how to sew these finishes). Press the hem up 1.5″ at this point. The folded hem should align with the finished placket edge.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Now, to lock everything down securely, topstitch along the length of the zipper facing, 1/8″ away from the zipper teeth. Then press the placket flat and topstitch along the length of the placket, anchoring it through all the layers below. You can topstitch along the placket itself or just next to it; depends on what you prefer.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Here is what it looks like from the wrong side once it’s fully topstitched.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Now to the left side! This facing is a little different – since we’re sewing the zipper straight to the center front seam, the facing is in one piece instead of two. Finish the slightly higher side by folding in 1/4″ two times and topstitching. Make sure the center front jacket seam is interfaced – the zipper will be applied here and if it’s not interfaced you’ll get a wavy seam.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Pin the other half of the zipper into place along the left coat seam. Make sure it matches up with the zipper half on the right side of the coat.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Stitch to the coat using zipper foot. Then fold the facing in half right sides together along the first set of notches and press.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

With right sides together, unfold the facing and line up the raw edge with the center front coat seam.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Stitch together using a zipper foot, as close as possible to your original stitch line when you attached the zipper. When you open up the facing it will look like this:

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Now fold the facing right sides together along the folded edge and sew across, 5/8″ from the bottom edge of the facing, just like you did on the right side of the coat. The stitch line should line up with the folded edge of the hem.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Trim the corner down so it can be crisply turned right side out.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Grade the seam, press everything flat again and then topstitch that zipper to the facing along its entire length, anchoring it through all the layers.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Now topstitch your hem down. I stop the hem topstitching where it meets the placket on the right side, and the zipper on the left side.

How to sew a zipper placket for an unlined jacket like the Kelly Anorak // Closet Case Patterns

Whew! Hopefully this walks you through this stage! It’s quite a few steps (especially when I break it down this much!) but I think it’s so worth it. The inside ends up looking as pretty and polished as the outside, doesn’t it?

Now you may be wondering about the pretty flannel lining in this red Kelly – next week I’ll share the finished project and tell you how to add warmth to your own anorak with a cozy interlining.

  • wendi abeberry

    I’ve ordered the pattern and the hardware and I am so stoked to get started sewing along with all the wonderful tutorials you are providing. I’m new to garnet sewing and I really appreciate the hand holding!!!

  • Karen Caron

    I love love love the interlining!

  • Kids, I was a tester for this jacket and I beseech you not to do what I did, which was not pay 100% attention to the seam allowance distances in the placket. When in doubt, mark them on the wrong side of the fabric. And make sure you line the zipper stitching up on that SA line.
    It’s so easy when you pay attention!

  • stefanie schoen

    This is a great tutorial! I haven’t sewn a zipper placket in a long time but looking to make a raincoat so this is great to have!

    If you have time, check out my latest project: I am playing along with Project Runway at home, and dubbing it #ProjectRealWay .This last week’s challenge was to create a fall look using the color red. Hopefully you like it!

    -Stefanie

    http://thestylesafari.com/?p=10324

  • Lauren

    Hi Heather. I did this step a few days ago and sadly had to rip out a lot of stitches. The instructions say to sew the zipper 1/2 inch from the edge. When I did that to both sides, there wasn’t enough space along the side of the zipper to fit the snaps underneath the placket. They would have been peeking out and hanging off the edge of the placket. So, I ripped out 5-6 rows of stitches to move the zipper over and sew at 5/8 instead. Everything is perfect now, but please issue a change to the instructions so no one else has that same problem. A beginner sewer or someone not as persnickety as me may have given up at that point. 🙂 PS. Love love love the red coat with the flannel lining! Makes me want to start another one as soon as I’m finished with the one I’m working on right now.

    • Hi Lauren. Just reread the instructions and you’re right, it says 1/2″ and not 5/8″, although I believe I’ve sewn most of our samples using 1/2″ and had no problems fitting snaps. I will fix the instructions though just so no one else has this issue! Thanks for pointing it out.

      • Lauren

        I think part of the problem too was how close to the zipper teeth I sewed. The instructions say to have at least 1/8 between the stitching line and the teeth. I made sure there was 1/8 and maybe a hair over that. So, and extra 1/8 for each seam allowance error and an extra 1/8 of zipper width shifts everything over 3/8″ and takes that away from the available space for snaps. I studied the pictures of your zipper and sewed more closely the second time to fix it. Just wanted to put this out there for anyone else having the same issue.