sew a zippered wristlet (tutorial)
I’ve been making wristlets for ages now and I thought I’d share my recipe since they’re appearing with less frequency in the Splityarn shop (that’ll happen after you make 80 gazillion of something.) I wasn’t really thinking about it when I started, but choosing (notoriously hard to photograph) red as a key component to the project made for some challenging photo edits. My apologies that the pics aren’t quite up to snuff. I’m only posting the basic pictures here, but there’s more detailed photos and notes in the accompanying flickr tutorial set.
For this project you’ll need:
2 pieces of fabric (an outer fabric and one for the lining)
zipper foot (optional, but worth the investment)
1″ bias tape maker (optional)
From the outer fabric cut 2 pieces 8″ x 6.5″ and one piece 10.5″ x 1.25″
From the inner fabric cut 2 pieces 8″ x 6.5″
1. Starting with the lining, pin the zipper to one of the lining pieces both with right sides up.
Stitch across the top from end to end, fairly close to the zipper (if you have a zipper foot, now is a good time to use it.) when you’re approaching the slider and pull tab, stop with the needle down, lift the presser foot and open the zipper past the foot up into where you’ve already sewn. This is key to getting a nice, straight line.
Repeat with the 2nd piece of lining and the other half of the zipper. I don’t usually bother with pressing until after the next step.
2. To sew the outer pieces to the zipper and lining, place the right side of the zipper on top of the right side of an outer piece and pin. With a pencil or chalk mark in about .5″ from the edge (right about where the metal pieces at the end of the zipper are). This time you’re not going to sew all the way across. You’re going to sew over top of the previous stitching but between the two points you just marked. Repeat with the remaining outer piece.
3. Press the fabric away from the zipper, just like how it will be when it’s finished. Press! Press! Press! This is critical to a nice looking piece. This is the difference between homemade and handmade. You won’t get a chance to redo it after you stitch it down, so please take take time to do it right.
4. Now you’re going to top stitch the zipper down. When I do this I like to top stitch only the outer piece down onto the zipper, keeping the lining out of the way. I also like to double my thread when I top stitch in a contrasting colour; it makes the stitching pop a little more and look deliberate. Just thread your machine like you normally would, but use two pieces of thread for your needle.
Leave the zipper foot on and stitch between the metal ends of the zipper. Do this on both pieces.
5. Next up is the wrist strap. Run the long skinny strip through your bias tape maker and press the whole thing lengthwise again. If you don’t have a bias tape maker, you can simply press the edges in towards the middle, then fold in half again and press. Top stitch along the length of the strap to close it (about an eighth of an inch seam allowance)
6. Open up the zipper at least 2/3rds of the way and flip both pieces of the lining out of the way to sew later. Fold the wrist strap in half pin it to itself, then pin it onto one side of one of the outer pieces, about .5″ down, raw edges together, parallel to the zipper. Pin the outer pieces right sides together and sew from the top edge of the outer piece around 3 sides to the other top edge (1/3 – 1/2″ seam allowance.) Be careful not to catch the lining in the seam. The half inch you left unsewn when installing the zipper allows you to fold the lining out of the way.
7. Pin the right sides of the lining pieces together. Mark off an opening of at least 2 inches. I like to do this along one of the sides so when I close the seam at the end it’s less noticeable. Sew the lining together all the way around the three sides, leaving the opening (of course) This time you’ll catch a little of the tops of the outer pieces as you start and finish.
8. Clip your corners and turn right side out through the opening you left in the lining. Wiggle the corners out and then all that’s left is to close up the hole in the lining. You can do this by hand, but I detest hand-sewing anything so I do it by machine. It leaves a wee ridge, but because it’s on the inside, you won’t really notice it.
9. The very last thing is, you guessed it…
Press! Press! press!
You can vary the size easily if you have a different length of zipper. Simply measure the full length of the zipper tape and that’s how long to cut out your fabric. (A 7″ zipper usually has 8″ of tape.)
If you have any questions, please feel free to ping me. If you make one, be sure to send along a photo for the gallery!