Friday, December 6, 2013

Tutorial - Sleeve Hem with Zipper and Gusset

This is another tutorial inspired by the Style Arc Ziggi jacket. Previously, I wrote a tutorial on how to create the exposed zipper pockets.

The Ziggi, as with many moto jackets, features zippers at the sleeve hems. The sleeves are 2-piece sleeves and the zipper is placed in the back seam. These instructions would work with any similar jacket.

Note: Before you begin, make sure that you have checked the sleeve length and made any alterations to the pattern that are needed. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to lengthen or shorten the sleeve after the zippers are inserted. I should add that the Ziggi, like most Style Arc patterns, features a slim fit through the upper arm. You should also check the fit through the upper arm before cutting out your pattern.

The Ziggi jacket does not call for a gusset in the zipper opening, but I decided to add a zipper gusset. It's an easy alteration. The pattern calls for 6" zippers, but the notches on the sleeves indicate a shorter zipper. I used 5" YKK zippers.

No pattern is provided for the zipper facing, but it is extremely easy to create.

As you can see, the length of the zipper's teeth is 5", however, when the zipper pull is pointed down, the length from the top of the zipper to the tip of the pull is 5-1/2". Because I do not want the zipper pull to hang below the sleeve hem, I will make the "window" for the zipper at 5-1/2" long.

The zipper window is created on the under sleeve, but here I have chalked the lines for the zipper window on a scrap of lining. (The dimensions of the lining scrap aren't essential, as the excess is later cut off.) The sleeve hem is 1-1/2" wide, so the 5-1/2" window starts at 1-1/2" above the bottom of the fabric. The width of the window is 1/2" plus 3/8" (the seam allowance), or 7/8" wide.

Pin the chalked lining piece to the right side of the Under Sleeve (*14) at the back seam. Stitch the seam using a short stitch.

Trim the seam allowance to approx 3/8". From the raw edge, clip at a diagonal, right to the corner.

Turn the facing to the inside of the fabric. Baste close to the fold.

The back side.

Pin the Under Sleeve (#14) to the Top Sleeve (#12 which has been previously joined to #13) at the back seam. Stitch. Press seam allowance open, and then towards the under sleeve.

The zipper window is now ready for the zipper.

Position the zipper in the center of the window, with the top of the zipper at the top of the window. Pin in place.

Using the zipper foot, topstitch along the full length of the seam. Then go back and topstitch along the remaining two edges of the zipper window. This secures the zipper in place. In the pic above, the zipper on the right has been topstitched in place. Remove the basting thread.

Both zippers are topstitched in place.

The back. The excess lining fabric has not yet been trimmed away.

Draft the gusset, if you want to use a gusset. It doesn't have to be precise - any excess can be trimmed later. For this gusset, the top is about 1-1/4" across. The length is about 7", which includes a 1" hem. The base of the gusset is about 4" across.

Cut 2 gusset pieces out of a scrap of lining fabric. I didn't want the polka dots to show on the outside when the zipper was unzipped, so I am used the back side of the polka dot lining fabric, which is solid black and slightly crinkled.

Hem the gussets.

Unzip the zipper. Position the gusset on the back of the sleeve, right side of gusset against the wrong side of the sleeve. (When the zipper is unzipped you should see the right side of the gusset.) Align the hem edge of the gusset with the end of the zipper's teeth. Pin the gusset to the seam allowance. (This is easiest when you have a seam allowance larger than 3/8".)

Flip the seam allowance over (I then move the pins to this side) and stitch the gusset to the seam allowance, as close as possible to the original line of stitching, and using a zipper foot. Then, pin the remaining side of the gusset to the seam allowance of the other side of the zipper and, once again, stitch as close to the stitching line as possible. (The picture shows stitching the second side of the gusset. There is a bit of excess gusset fabric, but that is fine.)

The gusset is now secured.

Back side of the gusset. Note the extra fabric - that can be trimmed away if it bothers you.

Back side of the gusset when the zipper is closed.

Next, stitch the other seam between the under sleeve and top sleeve, forming the sleeve tube. (No pic.)

Pin up the 1-1/2" hem. Topstitch, beginning and ending at the zipper. (I top-stitched at 1".) This completes the sleeve.

Closed zippers. Note that the zipper pull does not hang below the sleeve hem, as designed.

When these pics were taken, I had not yet lined the sleeves on the Ziggi jacket, so I am showing the sleeve from my Kwik Sew Moto Jacket. For this jacket, I created the zipper opening so that the end of the zipper teeth line up with the sleeve hem. This causes the zipper pull to hang below the sleeve hem when the zipper is closed. You have to decide which effect you prefer.

When lining the sleeve, hand sew the lining around the zipper opening, keeping the gusset free.


  1. I just have to thank you so much Shams for these two tutorials... I hope to add some moto detailing to one of the franken-patterned jackets I plan to make, and your guidance is invaluable...

  2. I'm still waiting on my zips for Ziggy, so haven't yet started, but your generous tutorials will be appreciated when I get myself launched. I have finished the toile though and am really excited by this jacket, and can't wait to see your version :) It will be fab I know!

  3. Beautiful work Shams - thank you.

  4. Thanks for this. I am putting zips like that in a sweater I knit and can use some of this info there. Good luck in new job....GO SHAMS!

  5. thanks for sharing; you make it look so easy!

  6. Your tutorials are so helpful! Thank you for sharing. I look forward to seeing the finished product.

  7. Great info Shams! (Also, congrats on the new job! I hope it's everything you want.)

  8. Great tutorial -- thank you for sharing your process. I just finished knitting a moto jacket, which has zippers on the sleeve hems. I may knit some gussets for it!

  9. Another very helpful tutorial. I never would have thought of any of it, but especially not the part about keeping the zipper tab from hanging below the hem of the sleeves. Thanks so much for taking the trouble to explain it all to us!

  10. Although I've sewn off and on for years, I've never ventured beyond pattern instructions. Your very clear tutorial makes me wonder why not - thank you so much for sharing your construction and teaching skills!

  11. Great tutorial, Shams..I love those gusseted sleeve zippers!

  12. Wonderful tutorial. Thanks so much for taking the time to explain the process.

  13. Whew. I think I can do it! I'm scared but I will try!!

  14. Thank you,Thank you,Thank you! This is a wonderful tutorial, taking all the guesswork out of the process. And thanks for mentioning the zipper pull location. Now I know to *think* about it, regardless of the final result desired. Never would have given that any consideration on my own!

  15. Thank you,Thank you,Thank you! This is a wonderful tutorial, taking all the guesswork out of the process. And thanks for mentioning the zipper pull location. Now I know to *think* about it, regardless of the final result desired. Never would have given that any consideration on my own!

  16. Fabulous tutorial. Thanks for taking the time and care to share it with your readers.

  17. Have just finished the sleeves on a linen moto jacket. It the first time for this technique and your tutorial was fantastic. It all went like clockwork :) Thanks!!