Installing Zippers v1

Introduction to Zippers (v1)
Visible Zippers

When a button or snap just won’t do, a zipper may be the solution! There are many types of zippers and ways to install them – visible, invisible, lapped, centered, etc. Today, we’re going to learn how to install a separating zipper – and how to make it stand out! This is best suited for sport zippers with large teeth.

Besides the obvious, you’ll need:

  • Zipper foot (don’t even think about using a regular sewing foot it just won’t work)
  • Chopstick (all will be explained)

Step One: Pin It!

Pin your zipper to the edge of the garment opening. Make sure the teeth are facing AWAY from the opening. Remember, you’ll be flipping the edge over later.Note: This particular garment has a horizontal seam under the bust. We made sure the seams matched up once the zipper was installed. Keep these kinds of things in mind if your design has similar elements (horizontal seams, patterns, stripes, etc.)

Step Two: Sew It!

You will now be sewing through two layers (1) the zipper and (2) your garment. Using your zipper foot, sew the teeth edge of the zipper. Stay as close to the zipper teeth as possible without stitching into them.

Step Three: Sew It Again!

Move your zipper foot over to the non-teeth edge of the zipper. Stitch down the zipper in the same manner as above. These two lines of stitches will keep the zipper secure.

Step Four: Pin It Again!

There are many ways to finish the top of your zipper. We did simple arm and neckline facings for this garment, so we will incorporate the zipper finishing into the neckline facing finishing.

Pin your facing in place. This same type of technique can be done with a lining as well.

Step Five: Sew Some More!

Sew along the top of the neckline. We used a regular zipper foot for this part. Depending on how close the stopper teeth (top of the zipper) are to the top of the garment opening, you may need to use a zipper foot for this first few stitches.

Step Six: More Sewing!

Sew down the vertical edge of the zipper. Make sure to reinforce the corner where your stitches meet!

Step Seven: Clip It!

Clip your corners!

Step Eight: Chopstick!

Turn the facing right side out, and get a crisp corner by poking it with your chopstick. Be careful not to poke through your garment. Make sure to clip any extra threads!

Step Nine: Clip It Good!

This isn’t necessarily related to the zipper installation – but remember to clip the edges around the neckline too if you’re doing a facing or a lining.

Step Ten: Almost Done!

Iron down the edges around the zipper. If you want to get fancy, you can do a top stitch on either side of the zipper, too.

Step Eleven: Finished!

This is one of the garments we installed a zipper on recently! Cute, eh? This is only one of thirteen sailor tops we did for the Denim Demons – a roller derby team out of Atlanta.

Snap Placement

When placing multiple snaps on a garment – for closures or just to keep things in place – sometimes getting things to line up just right can be a bit of a challenge.  Here is a little trick I like to use to make sure my snaps always line up perfectly!

Step One: Sew One Part of Your Snap

We are working on a garment with an overlapping front that will have a zipper closure, plus snaps to keep the overlap nice and flat.  As you can see below, I have already sewn the “male” part of the snap sets and folded the overlap open.

Step Two: Get Some Chalk

Tailor’s chalk will work just fine.  Make sure whatever you use, it can easily be rubbed off later.

Step Three: Rub On the Chalk

Rub the chalk generously over each of your snaps.  Make sure you get a nice coating!

Step Four: Transfer Your Chalk Markings

Gently fold the overlap back into place.

Step Five: Admire Your Chalk Markings

Now, you have a clear mark of where to put the other part of each snap set.

Step Six: Sew On Your Snaps

Sew on the other part of each snap set, and you’re all finished!  Everything should line up really nicely =)

Questions?  Comments?  Suggestions?  Feel free to email me.

Facing your Garment



Creating a clean edge around garment openings (arm holes, necklines, etc.) can be accomplished in many ways. One of those ways is called facing a garment. Today, we’ll be learning how to create and sew facings for necklines. An addendum for arm holes will be posted in the future.

Useful Tools:

  • Fabric marker (pencil, chalk, etc.)
  • Sewing gage
  • Chopstick

Step One:

Start with your pattern pieces. Pictured are our back bodice piece (left) and front bodice piece (right). We will be focusing on the neckline area.

Step Two:

Draw in your seam allowances.

Step Three:

Pin your pattern pieces together at the shoulder seam, matching the lines you drew before.

Step Four:

Now you have one large piece to work with. By pinning the pattern pieces together we now have a continuous neckline.

Note: Feel free to cut the facing to each piece separately (don’t forget to cut the back piece on the fold) – I like this particular technique because it reduces bulk at the seams.

Step Five:

Pin your pattern to your fabric. Make sure the center back seam is on the fold. Cut around the neckline.

Step Six:

Ta da! Neckline cut!

Step Seven:

Time to get out your fabric marker and sewing gage.

Step Eight:

I like to make my facings anywhere from 2.5″ to 3.5″ wide – it is up to you. Set your gage and mark evenly all around your neckline cut.

Step Nine:

Now, you are ready to cut your neckline facing.

Step Ten:

Cut your fabric on the line you marked.

Step Eleven:

Now, you’ve got a neck facing.

Fancy Schmancy Tip: Cut a corresponding piece of interfacing for garments that need a little extra structure at the openings.

Step Twelve:

Serge the OUTER edge of your circle. You can serge the inner edge, but it isn’t necessary as much of it will be cut away later.

Fancy Schmancy Tip: Instead of serging the outer edge, sew a thin strip of bias tape along the edge. We use bias tape that is about 1/2″ to 3/4″ (of course, this is folded in half over the edge).

Step Thirteen:

Iron it!

Step Fourteen:

Pin the INNER edge of the facing to your neckline. Pay special attention to garments with openings (front or back). We have a front zipper opening, so we pinned all the way through the front seam allowance. Make sure you pin the facing to your garment so that the RIGHT SIDES are together. This is important as you’ll be flipping the facing to the inside of the garment later.

Step Fifteen:

Run a line of stitches down the INNER edge of your facing. Use whatever seam allowance you’ve used for the rest of the garment – in this case, we used 5/8″.

Step Sixteen:

Stitch the vertical edge of your facing by the garment opening. If there is a zipper, I recommend switching to your zipper foot so you can get close to the teeth (this will make sense later).

If your garment is continuous all the way around the neckline (wide neck design, or armhole for example) ignore this step.

Step Seventeen:

Cut out notches around your neckline curve. THIS STEP IS VERY IMPORTANT. If you don’t cut notches in your curve, your neckline won’t lay nice and flat.

Step Eighteen:

Turn the facing to the inside of the garment. Use a chopstick to make your corners sharp. Be careful not to poke through the corners.

Step Nineteen:

Iron it!

Step Twenty:

Run a line of stitches about 1/8″ from the seam where the facing and garment neckline meet.

Step Twenty-One:

Flip your facing to the inside of your garment and secure it with the hand stitch of your choice. Make sure your stitch is delicate and only catches as much fabric as you need to – you don’t want your stitches visible on the outside of the garment.

Note #1: White thread was used for visibility when photographing for tutorial. Generally, use a thread that matches your garment for this step.

Note #2: This technique is not recommended for delicate fabrics like satins unless they have already been flat lined OR you are using silk thread and extraordinarily tiny hand stitches. This tends to create little “puckers” that are visible on the outside of the garment. If you need to face a satin garment, try securing your facing at areas where seams meet (shoulder, side seam, etc.)


Give your garment one more final pressing and you’ll have a lovely, faced edge that looks neat, clean, and professional.

“V” Bootcover Toppers

These “V” shaped boot toppers are super easy and fun to make! These were made for a client to complete her Sera Myu Sailor Moon costume. Here is what you’ll need:

  • Bootcovers (or boots)
  • Thick white vinyl (upholstery)
  • Hot pink stretch pvc
  • Gold metallic spandex
  • Hot pink thread
  • Gold thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Baby powder
  • Heat-N-Bond (Ultrahold)
  • Drinking glass
  • Pencil
  • Scissors or a rotary cutter
  • Iron
  • Ruler
  • Fabric glue (FabriTac or E6000)

Step One

Start with a pair of boot covers (or boots) that have been cut at an angle. The boot covers should be short in the front, and taper to a point at the back. I highly suggest using a rotary cutter and ruler for all the straight cuts detailed in this tutorial. You will get much cleaner lines than if you use a pair of scissors.

Step Two

Get some Heat-N-Bond and cut two “V” shapes. I made these about 1.25″ wide. Make sure the angle you cut matches the same angle you cut into your bootcovers!

Step Three
I used stretch PVC in hot pink. This was my primary choice because it has a bright vibrant color and it won’t fray when you cut it. Since we will be applying this with Heat-N-Bond (in step seven) I cut some extras because it is very, very easy to apply too much heat, which can cause the PVC to melt =(

Step Four

Cut out some moons! For these shapes, I chose a metallic spandex. First, I applied Heat-B-Bond to the wrong side of the fabric. Then, I drew two moon shapes and cut through both the fabric and Heat-N-Bond. Having trouble finding a good circular shape? I raided my kitchen and traced around drinking glass =) To make the crescent shape, I just found a smaller circle (try raiding your spice rack).

Step Five

Lay out your pink “V” and crescent moon on a piece of thick, white vinyl. I used white upholstery vinyl. The reference pictures I found seem to show a narrow white line above the pink stripe on Moon’s boots. So, I put my cut line about 1/4″ above the pink “V” shape. Place your crescent moon on top of the “V” and make sure it is centered. Draw around the crescent shape and mark the bottom of the pink “V” shape.

Step Six

Cut the white vinyl so that you end up with a shape that roughly resembles…

Step Seven

Time to Heat-N-Bond! Match up your Heat-N-Bond “V” with your pink “V” shape. Make sure the vinyl is facing DOWN.


Step Eight

Iron it! Don’t leave your iron in one spot for too long. Move it around to distribute heat evenly. I find that when I’m applying Heat-N-Bond to this type of fabric, it wrinkles less if I put the iron on a no-steam setting. Make sure to read the directions about ironing time that come with your Heat-N-Bond!

Step Nine

Peel off your Heat-N-Bond. If you ironed it right, you’ll see a very distinctive shiny coating on your fabric. If the coating didn’t adhere to the fabric, iron it again.

Step Ten

Place your pink “V” on the white vinyl strip.

Step Eleven

Place your crescent moon on the white vinyl. Make sure your edges line up with your cut lines.

Step Twelve

Using a thick press cloth, iron all your Heat-N-Bonded items together. I would suggest top-stitching everything into place. This is a decorative and practical detail that will ensure a permanent bond for everything. Since I used vinyl, I did a light dusting of baby powder before stitching everything down.

Step Thirteen

Almost finished! Determine how long your V’s need to be by doing a test fit on the boots. Sew the V edges together.

Step Fourteen

I opted to glue these toppers onto the bootcovers. Of course, let your glue fully dry before trying them on! I don’t have pictures of the final bootcovers (yet) but I will soon =)

Thanks for reading my tutorial! If you have any questions, feel free to email me at

Inverted “V” Bootcover Toppers

Bias tape is a great, and time efficient, way to create borders on items like boot covers.  However, getting bias tape to lay neatly around corners can be a bit tricky.  Here are some tricks to make your bias tape borders look nice and crisp!  This is a great way to approach the upside down “V” shape featured on many Sailor Moon style boots!

You’ll want to start with a pair of non-stretch boot covers that have a an upside down “V” shape at the top.

Step One

Begin by cutting a length of bias tape that will fit around the area you will be bordering.  Remember to consider a small seam allowance (see below).  Because we are using this bias strip to create an inverted “V” shape as a bootcover top, we have cut a “house” shape at each end.

Step Two

Fold your bias tape in half, with the right sides together.  Sew along the cut edges, trim your seam allowance, and clip your corner.  Make sure you stitch around your corner twice to reinforce it.  Now, go get a chopstick.

Step Three

Turn your bias strip right side out and poke the corner with a chopstick.  Now, go iron it.

Step Four

Pin the bias strip over the top of your boot cover, making sure that it is centered.  At this point, you can either top stitch it to your cover, or hand sew it.  I recommend top stitching one side of the bias strip to the exterior of the boot cover and finishing the inside by hand.

Step Five

Finished! Hopefully these suggestions will get you on your way to making fabulous boot toppers.  If you have any questions, feel free to email me!

Regular Bootcover Toppers

This tutorial will explain how to create bootcover toppers in a simple stripe style.  Enjoy!

Step One

Because we are working with stretchy fabric for these bootcover toppers, we just cut a rectangle of fabric that is approximately 4″ wide and as long as the top length of the bootcover opening (plus extra for a seam allowance).  Why 4″ wide?  We want the finished edge to be about 1″ wide.  In this tutorial, we will continue explaining how to make a 1″ stripe.

For other widths, just remember to work in fourths.  Bias tape works well for this, too.

Sew your rectangle of fabric into a continuous strip.  Pin it to your bootcover.  Sew both pieces together, leaving a seam allowance of 1″.

Step Two

Flip your strip of fabric up.

Step Three

Fold it over so that approximately 1″ of your strip is visible.  Use a sewing gage if necessary.

Step Four

Fold the inside edge of your strip over so that it lines up with your original stitch line.  Whether you are looking at the inside or outside of the bootcover topper, the stripe should measure about 1″ wide.  At this point, I recommend finishing the inside edge with some hand stitching.

Step Five (Optional)

Embellish it!  In this case, I added a heart decoration so that the covers look like Sailor ChibiChibi’s boots.  Of course, you can always leave them as a plain and simple stripe depending on your character design.

Step Six

Finished!  Hopefully these suggestions will get you on your way to making fabulous bootcover toppers =)  If you have any questions, feel free to email me!

Making a Sailor Collar

Sailor collars are one of the most common costume elements when it comes to anime. Today, we’ll learn how to put one together!

Step One: Neckline

Decide what kind of neckline you’d like for your collar. For this particular collar, we’re just sewing it onto a basic scoop-neck top, so, we followed the neckline pattern for the original top.

Step Two: Draw it Out

Trace your neckline onto your pattern piece.

Step Three: Draw Out the Collar Shape

Starting at the center neckline, draw out a rough shape for the collar. Make sure the width of the collar piece is approximately half of the width across your shoulders (pattern piece is cut on a fold, so work in halves). There isn’t a set collar length, just make sure it is long enough that the bottom of the collar falls between the bottom of your shoulder blades and the center of your back.

Note: Make sure you account for a seam allowance.

Step Four: True Up your Edges

Using a curved ruler, clean up the edges of your rough pattern shape.

Step Five: Cut it out!

Cut out your pattern piece. If you forgot to include a seam allowance, that is fine, just remember to add one when you cut out your fabric pieces.

Step Six: Admire Your Pattern!

Now, you have a collar pattern piece. Onto the real fabric!

Step Seven: Cut Out Your Fabric

Place your collar pattern piece on your fabric, lining up the center back with the fabric fold. Cut out two collar pieces.

Step Eight: Decorate your Collar

Most sailor collars have some sort of border. You can use ribbon or bias trim. You’ll see in the rest of the tutorial pictures that we added some red trim. Set aside one of the collar pieces for your lining, and decorate the remaining piece.

Step Nine: Sew the Collar Pieces Together

Now, pin both collar pieces together. Make sure the sides you want to be visible are facing each other – the non-visible sides should be facing outward. Only stitch the outside edge of the collar. Do not stitch the neckline.

Remember, you’ll be turning the collar inside out later.

Step Ten: Admire your Work

Now, both collar pieces are sewn together. Make sure you do some reinforcing stitches at the corners of your collar.

Step Eleven: Clip the Corners and Curves

When you turn the collar inside out, you want it to be nice and flat. To make this happen, you’ll need to clip both corners and the curves near the front of the collar. Make sure you don’t clip into your original stitch line.

Step Twelve: Turn it Inside Out!

Carefully turn your collar inside out.

Step Thirteen: Chopstick Time!

Get your chopstick and…

…use it to make your corners look crisp and sharp. Be careful when you do this – don’t push the chopstick so hard into the corner that you push it through the fabric. This shouldn’t be much of an issue if you put reinforcing stitches at the corners.

Step Fourteen: Prep for Iron

Lay out your collar and get it ready for ironing.

Step Fifteen: Iron It!

This step makes a huge difference! Iron your collar nice and flat.

Step Sixteen: (Almost) Finished Collar

Now you have your finished collar piece. All you have to do now is…

Step Seventeen: Attach It!

Attach your collar as normal. There are many ways to attach the collar to the neckline. You may attach it in conjunction with a neckline facing or garment lining. If you have questions about facing attachment, you can view our facing tutorial here.


Thanks for reading my tutorial!
If you have any questions, feel free to email me!

How to Do Hidden Pockets

Well made clothing is all about the details – a hidden pocket in the lining of a jacket is one small detail that can make your work look professional and add a functional element.

Step One:

First, decide which side of the jacket you’d like your hidden pocket on. The pocket goes in the lining, so think extra hard about exactly where you want the pocket. For example, we’re putting this pocket on a double breasted jacket – we’re going to put it on the lapel that is closest to the body.

Step Two:

Second, cut out two rectangles that are approximately the size of the pocket you’d like to create. Make sure they’re big enough to fit something like a wallet, credit card, ID, etc.

Step Three:

Draw a rectangle on one of the pocket pieces you already cut out. Make it approximately 0.5″ high and about 1.5″ less than the total width of your zipper. Set aside the other pocket piece for later.

Step Four:

Pin the pocket piece with the rectangle on your jacket lining. Make sure you pin it exactly where you want it. If you are unsure of the pocket placement, try on the lining or put it on a mannequin. This technique requires cutting into the lining – so you need to get the pocket placement right the first time!

Step Five:

Stitch all the way around your rectangle. We did two lines of stitching for extra reinforcement.

Make sure the rectangle is nice and even. Clip your extra threads. Don’t forget to reinforce the corners and backstitch a little at the beginning and ending of your stitches.

Step Seven:

It is crucial that the following three steps are done correctly, otherwise you will not have a clean edge to sew your zipper around.

Cut a line down the center of your rectangle. Stop the cut a little over 0.25″ from the right and left edges of the stitch line. Be careful not to clip your stitch line!

Step Eight:

Clip your rectangle in a NW direction. Be careful not to clip your stitch line!

Step Nine:

Clip your rectangle in a SW direction. Be careful not to clip your stitch line!

Step Ten:

Turn the pocket piece inside out, to the side of the lining that is facing away from the body.

Step Eleven:

This is what the other side will look like.

Step Twelve:

Iron it!

Step Thirteen:

Now, it is flat, neat, and pretty.

Step Fourteen:

Get ready to put the zipper in!

Step Fifteen:

Flip over your lining again, and pin your zipper in place. Make sure at least 0.5″ of zipper extend past the right and left sides of the rectangle.

Step Sixteen:

Get a zipper foot!

Step Seventeen:

Stitch all the way around the rectangle. Ideally, you want the stitch line to be about 1/16″ or 1/8″ from the edge.

Step Eighteen:

Make the corners nice and sharp!

Step Nineteen:

Flip over your lining. Place the other pocket piece on top of the one you just stitched. Line up the pocket pieces.

Step Twenty:

Pin the two pocket pieces together.

Step Twenty-One:

Stitch the pocket pieces together.

Step Twenty-Two:

Serge it!

Almost done!

See the stuff on the right side of the jacket? That’s the pocket!


Use your new pocket! For variations, try double piping, no zipper, or even use this technique for adding decorative zippers to the outside of garments.

How to Curl a Wig With Sponge Rollers and a Blow Dryer

Step One: Wig Selection

We’ve started with a teal, layered wig. Try to find wigs that are nice and full – you don’t want blank spots in between your ringlets.

Place the wig on a styrafoam block and secure it with t-pins. We like using a camera tripod for a base – it is fully adjustable and can rotate. Here is what you’ll need:

  • wig
  • wig block
  • t-pins
  • wig stand (we used a camera tripod)
  • sponge rollers
  • blow dryer
  • clip and/or ties to section off hair

Step Two: Sections

Next, pull up all the wig hair, except for a few tracks near the bottom. This is the first section you will be curling. We like to separate each section by the track lines (as pictured).

Step Three: Roll It Up

Roll a small section of hair onto one of the sponge rollers. Be careful to keep the rolled hair as neat as possible – the more time you put into rolling the hair nicely, the better your ringlets will look when you unroll them.

Step Four: Secure It

Each sponge roller has a latch. After you’ve rolled your hair section completely, secure the latch. If the roller doesn’t stay in place, you’ll need to re-roll the hair a bit tighter.

Step Five: Repeat

Continue rolling small sections of hair onto sponge rollers. As you go along, try to keep each section and roll as neat as possible.>

Step Six: Add Some Heat

Hold the blowdryer over each roller for about 60 seconds. We don’t recommend heating each roller for longer than 60 seconds. We put the heat setting on warm and airflow setting on high.

Note: If you apply too much heat, you will end up with “ratty” looking curls – lots of stray, kicky hairs.

Step Seven: Repeat

Don’t take out the curlers yet! Roll up the rest of the wig.

Note: If you take out the ringlets as you move up the wig, one of two things will happen.

  1. The heat of the blow dryer will relax the ringlets you’ve already taken out.
  2. The air flow of the blow dryer will agitate the ringlets you’ve already taken out and will make them look messy.

Step Eight: Unroll

Once you’ve rolled and heated the entire wig, go ahead and remove each roller. Try to be gentle as you do this and of course, make sure the curls have cooled down a bit before removing them.

Step Nine: Keep Unrolling

Instead of just pulling the roller out of the hair, try to gently “unwind” the roller. You’ll end up with nicer looking ringlets.

Step Ten: Ringlets

Now you have some lovely ringlets! As you can see, there is a huge difference in the way the wig hair looks! Undo the rest of the wig.

Step Eleven: Finished!

We did a little light teasing once we unrolled all of our ringlets, but you get the basic idea. Have fun and be creative!

Thanks for reading my tutorial! If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at:

Disclaimer: If you’ve never done this before, have some common sense and test this out on a wig you don’t mind possibly destroying. Test out a small section of hair before committing to curling an entire wig. Don’t use a blow dryer near bath tubs full of water. Turn off the blow dryer when you’re finished. Duh.

How to Straighten a Wig with a Blow Dryer

Step One: Wig Selection

We’ve started out with a wig that has soft curls and layers in it. Once we straighten it out, it’ll have a completely different look! Place the wig on a styrafoam block and secure it with t-pins. We like using a camera tripod for a base – it is fully adjustable and can rotate. Here is what you’ll need:

– wig
– wig block
– t-pins
– wig stand (we used a camera tripod)
– flat brush
– blow dryer
– attachment to concentrate dryer heat
– spray bottle with water
– clip and/or ties to section off hair

Step Two: Brush it Out

First, brush out the wig completely. This will soften curls and other styled areas quite a bit. We like to use a flat brush – be careful not to damage the underlying wig cap while brushing.

Step Three: Sections

Next, pull up all the wig hair, except for a few tracks near the bottom. You will be blow drying the wig straight in sections. We like to separate each section by the track lines (as pictured).

Step Four: Spray It

Then, using a spray bottle, spray some water on the first section to be straightened. We do this to keep the hair smooth as heat is applied to it, and also to keep the synthetic fibers from getting too hot.

Step Five: Spread it Out

With one hand, place the section of hair into the flat brush. Try to get it as spread out as possible. Turn on your blow dryer – make sure you have an attachment to concentrate the heat of the dryer.

Step Six: Add Some Heat

You will now move the brush and dryer (at the same time) down the length of hair. We put the heat setting on warm and airflow setting on high.

Step Seven: Repeat

As you can see, there is a big difference already! Once you have finished the first section, comb out another and repeat the above steps.

Step Eight: New Style

Once you straighten out the entire wig, you’ll have a totally new style! We left a little body in the bangs.

Step Nine: Finished wig!

Thanks for reading my tutorial! If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at:

Disclaimer: If you’ve never done this before, have some common sense and test this out on a wig you don’t mind possibly destroying. Test out a small section of hair before committing to straightening an entire wig. Don’t use a blow dryer near bath tubs full of water. Turn off the blow dryer when you’re finished. Duh.