zipper too long and trouble reading pattern

lola99October 23, 2013

Yesterday I got a call from a friend who needs a Halloween costume by Friday morning (basically just a big loose sleeper suit). He was at JoAnns and he found the perfect pattern and fabric. His only problem - he doesn't sew. He asked if I could make it for him because I quilt. I looked at it on line and despite the fact that I do not know how to sew garments, I agreed to give it a shot. He purchased the pattern, fabric, and zipper and brought it all to my house. I cut out the pieces that I needed last night and tonight I plan to sew it up (wish me luck!). The main point is this doesn't need to be perfect or even close - it just has to cover his body. The pattern is easy, and I'm not sewing the gloves, tail, or hood. I put a link below so you can see it looks like a big sleeper suit.

1. The pattern calls for a 22" zipper, but my friend bought a 28" zipper. Should I cut the zipper at the top? Tuck the bottom 6" inside the body of the suit, or try to extend the zipper the full 28" (I'm afraid this may put the bottom of the zipper in the crotch of the suit, but if this is the easiest then I'll do it - doesn't need to be perfect). Any other zipper tips? I've never sewn one before. He is also willing to safety pin this closed if I can't figure out the zipper.
2. The pattern calls for bias tape around the collar. He didn't buy any. I'm not putting a hood on it. Does the bias tape just finish it off so it looks or feels nicer? Is there any reason I really need it? Or could I just cut some cotton on the bias and make my own?
3. The pattern says to hem 1" from the edge of the sleeves and at the bottom of the legs. Then in the directions when it gets to the part about finishing the edges it says "for easier insertion of elastic, baste about 3" of seam allowances in place at casing area." I have no idea what this means. The next step says "to form casing for elastic, turn in 3/4" on lower edge of sleeves and legs. Stitch, leaving an opening." This makes sense to me, but I wondered why I should hem all the pieces if I'm just going to go on to turn it under again to make a casing for the elastic. Won't this just add unnecessary bulk? And what do they mean by basting 3" of seam allowance?

Thanks for any advice/help!

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1. I would place the top of the zipper at the top of the neck where it would go if the zipper was the correct length, then place a bar tack across the zipper at the place where it should end in the pattern, to prevent the tag part from trying to disappear down into the seam allowance when fully opened. Tack the rest of the zipper tail down on the inside to keep it flat (or you could even cut it off, if your bar tack was good and strong).
2. The bias tape I'm assuming is to finish off the raw edge since the curve will be too tight to do a neat hem. You could either cut facings from fabric scraps or make your own bias tape.
3. The recommendation to baste down the seam allowances is to prevent the elastic from getting stuck in the dead end of the seam allowance as you are feeding it through. Trying to come up with a visual, imagine the two pieces of fabric sewn together with their seam allowances are a pair of magazines, opened out at the centres and laid cover to cover one on top of the other.Now you have to thread a piece of string between the two covers. Unless you are very careful your string could go between the pages of one magazine and get stuck at the staples. But if you glued all the edges of the pages together on each magazine before you laid them on top of each other then the string has only one place to go, between the covers :-) This is the equivalent of basting down the edges of the seam allowances in the section where the casing will be.
Personally I might not hem, just turn under once to make the casing, especially as this doesn't have to be a first-rate, built to last outfit.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 1:23PM
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Colleenoz, thank you so much. Your explanations and advice completely make sense to me.

I think this is going to work! Thanks again.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 3:18PM
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