Here's a short and sweet tutorial for inserting an exposed zipper into the hem of a garment. In my case, I put zippers in the hem of a pair of jeans, and also created front angled zipper pockets.
The zippers I used were 1.5" wide and 7" long - the zipper teeth are 3/8" wide. I decided that I wanted to expose 1" of the zipper.
Before you begin, make sure that you have the hem length worked out. Once the zipper is in, it will be *very* difficult to make the hem shorter, for example.
- Change the order of sewing so that the side seams are completed before the inside leg seam, if you plan to place the zippers on the side seam. Top-stitch the seam if desired. The zipper will be inserted while the leg is flat, before the inseam is sewn.
- Using a scrap of muslin, draw the zipper opening onto the muslin. The zipper was 7" long, but I drew the vertical lines 8" long, to accommodate a 1" hem. Draw another vertical line, exactly in the center of the first two lines. This is used for positioning the zipper opening onto the garment.
- Lay the muslin on the outside of the garment. The raw edge of the muslin is aligned with the raw edge of the garment. You can place the zipper wherever you want, but I wanted it on the side seam. Align the center line on the muslin with the side seam and pin in place.
- Set the stitch length on your machine to a short length, and stitch around the three edges of the outline. (If you've ever made the window for a welt pocket, the process is similar.) The picture below shows both pant legs, one on top of another.
- Cut down the center of the "window", angling to the corners. Trim away the excess fabric.
- Press the seams open and turn the muslin to the inside of the pant. Thread baste into place.
- Pin the zipper into place, making sure it is centered in the opening.
- Put the zipper foot on your machine and top-stitch into place.
- Remove the thread basting and hem the pants as normal.
The process for inserting the zippered pockets was similar. In that case I drafted a pocket bag and put the pockets in at a 60° angle.