Like Di who just showed her fabulous T-shirt embellished with zippers, I also have more than a lifetime supply of zippers. My son saw a photo in a home decor magazine of a foot stool that was upolstered with zippers as the fabric. He asked me if I could make a vest out of zippers. I said "Sure!" Well, it wa easier said than done. Here is the finished product -
This turned into a real sewing challenge. I happily share the lessons learned. As with all the vests I've made, this one is machine washable since I washed all the all of the materials prior to construction. With the exception of 1 zipper (and, of course, the thread) are all salvaged materials. My son has asked me when will I come up with a way to salvage the thread out garments, too!
I started by cutting out the vest fronts from really ugly men's suiting to use as a foundation. The completed zipper fabric will be heavy, so foundation fabric needs to be firm. Then we placed the zips onto the foundation. I used a washable glue stick to temporarily hold them in place. Some are right side up and others are upside down. I let the ends of the zippers hang over the edges of the foundation. To save on weight and to make it easier to sew, I used zippers with nylon teeth. The only 2 metal tooth zippers I used were for the "secret pockets". Once we liked the layout, I stitched the zippers in place. I cut off the excess zipper ends.
This is important - leaving the zipper tape in place, clip the teeth away to just past the stitching line around the the outside edges the vest fronts. This will make the turning and pressing of the vest easier once the lining is sewed. Ask me how I learned this. Did you know that the zipper teeth don't lay flat if you try to fold them over and press them? I didn't learn that until after I stitched the lining in and then tried to press the edges. I had to "unstitch" all the way around the vest and then trim out the zipper teeth in the stitch line around the edge of the vest fronts. Tedious. Save time and your sanity, clip the teeth away BEFORE stitching the vest outside to the lining.
Because the zipper fronts are fairly heavy, I had to use heavier fabric for the vest back. I used some satin coat lining. I used it wrong side out so it wouldn't be shiny.
Of course, I couldn't use buttons to close the front of this vest. As my son said, "That would be wrong on many levels." So, I used a separating zipper. Unfortunately, I didn't have one the right size, so I had to buy one. My son usually unbuttons the bottom button of a vest when he is sitting. So, to allow him to do the equivalent with this vest, I sewed the separating zipper in upside down. That way, when he sits down, he unzips up from the bottom a few inches.
My son wears this with his black suit or with jeans and a Tshirt. It works well for dressy or casual.
Pink Smoot in Fair Grove, MO