Zakka Style Sew Along! The sew along is being led by Lindsey and Amy. They have invited 24 bloggers to sew the projects found in Rashida Coleman-Hale's book, Zakka Style.
It's time to sew the Zip Organizer by Masko Jefferson!
I'll admit it-- when I found out I was assigned to review the Zip Organizer (which I had selected as a project I really wanted to do, by the way), I kind of panicked. I'm not really the best with patterns in general. I had never done a wrap around zipper or successfully bound anything with bias tape. Couple that with some pretty lengthy instructions and I was scared. But I really didn't need to be! Sure there are a lot of pieces to cut and a lot of steps to follow, but they are totally doable. By my third organizer, I didn't even need to look at the instructions. And because I made three different versions to test out interfacing and different methods of construction, you can learn from the mistakes I made.
IMPORTANT-- make sure to read the Zakka Style errata before you start making your organizer! There are important changes that you need to note before you cut your fabrics. There is also an additional change regarding cutting interfacing-- where it says to cut (2) 11 x 18" pieces of interfacing, change that to (2) 11 x 8" pieces.
And one more thing-- I know that this is an intimidating pattern, in part because some of the trickiest steps along the way are hard to illustrate in a book format where there is limited space for each project. Masko is an amazing designer and writes amazing patterns. She was so great to talk to as I was going through this process. So if you were just following the book you'd figure it all out just fine. But I thought it would be great to have the opportunity to share tips those tips here that there just wasn't space for in the book.
Version 1: Materials include some gorgeous Essex yarn dye linen in "Leather" by Robert Kaufman, a Sevenberry floral, Lecien yarn dye stripe, and a bit of Hope Valley.
Version 2: Materials include a hoarded Gingko screen print by Ink and Spindle, a Lecien yarn dye stripe and floral, and Sweetwater's Authentic stripe.
Version 3: Materials include another gorgeous Essex yarn dye linen in "Black" and various Suzuko Koseki prints. I did some handstitching on the front with Cosmo floss-- so yummy!
For version 1, I used Pellon SF101 woven fusible interfacing exclusively. While it worked great overall, I wanted the organizer to be a little more structured.
So for version 2, I thought I'd try using fusible fleece interfacing on the outside piece and used the Pellon 101 for the rest. While the fusible fleece didn't cause issues with bulkiness along the edges like I feared, it gives the organizer a sort of puffy appearance that I'm not fond of.
Finally, version 3! I found some Pellon Craft Fuse 808 in my stash. It was just right-- it gives a good amount of structure without bulk, and the cover looks crisp. I continued to use Pellon 101 for the rest of the pieces.
Sewing on the outer zipper:
At first I was confused about how to sew the zipper along the outer edges so that the closed zipper end wouldn't be interrupted by the binding. Here you can see what the zipper looks like when you pin it around the outside-- note that the closed end is folded inward and pinned.
After you sew it on, leave the pins that hold down the zipper teeth in the corners. You'll want these to be out of the way when you stitch on your binding. Otherwise they can get caught and you'll have to redo the corners. Trust me.
Joining together your bias binding edges:
The book covers how to make a bias binding, but doesn't explain how to join your binding edges together so they go continuously around the organizer. You can always fold over one of the ends and overlap it on top of the other-- but to reduce bulk and make things look nicer, take these steps to do a mitered join.
If this is confusing, which it very well could be, you can check out this blog post for more detailed steps.
Do as I say, not as I did:
1. You will have a lot of layers to sew together as you go along-- they will shift if you don't secure them before you sew! Use lots of pins, or my new favorite, Wonder Clips.
2. If you decide to piece together your outer cover, be conscious of lining things up when you sew on the back zipper. I don't like pinning when I sew on a zipper, but obviously that didn't work out so well for me here. Take your time and make sure things line up.
3. Consider using a glue , like Roxanne Glue Baste It, to attach your bias binding around the front before you hand stitch it. It makes a huge difference! I even used it to secure the fabric tab to my zipper end before sewing it on.
1. I added a line of stitching to the outer cover about an inch above the back zipper to section off the pocket, prior to sewing the main inside and outside pieces together. It's a preference thing-- but that way, the contents in that pocket will stay in the back and not work their way around to the front cover.
2. On my first two versions, the exposed ends of the back zipper bothered me. So for the final one, I ended up sewing a folded piece of fabric onto either zipper end to cover up the holes. It's an easy fix and makes the back look so much nicer.
Phew. Are you still here? If so, you have a chance to win a pack of awesome threads from Aurifil. I've been using Aurifil for all of my piecing for the last few months, and it's amazing. I've got 5 packs to give away. Just leave me a comment to enter! I'll close comments on Friday, June 8th and pick winners.
And if you are making the zip organizer this week, don't forget to post a photo of your finished project in the Flickr pool and link it up to Lindsey's blog, LR Stitched, for a chance to win an awesome prize from Lecien-- a huge bundle of Cosmo floss!
A big thanks to the Zakka Style Sew Along sponsors as well:
Now get sewing!