May 22, 2011

Bonus Post - Why Zipper & Thread Color Matter

Since many of you are beginners I thought I would add in a few tips on professional touches that will take your finished creation from something that looks homemade to something that looks professional quality. Now there is nothing wrong with homemade - its the looking homemade part that we want to avoid. Earlier in the sewalong I mentioned that it if you couldn't find a zipper or thread in the same shade as your fabric (for multi-colored fabric pick the predominant or background color) you should go just a shade darker. Why? Well let's take a closer look at the reasons.

I've done some foolish sewing things in my day. And since I have no shame let me point a big one out to you. Here is exhibit A:

What do you see friends? Oh what is that you say? You see....THE ZIPPER! Now why is that? Oh, its because its white and the dress is green. Now hold one moment here. You see that this is an obvious mistake (besides the fact that I have arrows and such pointing to it). I looked and looked and looked for a zipper that was the exact color as this dress. And of course, I couldn't find one. So I thought I was being smart when I bought a white zipper and inserted it and had visions of painting the zipper pull a green to match. Ha ha ha! It wasn't smart. Why? because the zipper is completely obvious and it makes a big fat eyesore on an otherwise pretty little dress. And this is an invisible zipper. You see, invisible zippers do show a little too from time to time- they aren't in fact invisible unless you also color coordinate them too. The same thing would happen with too light (or white) a color of thread.

OK, I'll admit that this is an obvious example. But let me tell you that this same thing would have happened were I to pick even a shade lighter green zipper than the dress color. Why? Because lighter colors are easier to see than darker colors. Darker colors recede into the background while lighter colors steal the show. Its a fact of a life. To point out just how important this is let's also examine where the zipper is on the Ginger skirt. Oh yeah! It's on the back. Right. Over. The. Derriere. Hmmmm.....

To bring this point home even a little more, I decided to whip up a few samples to show you.

This is some spare fabric from my 1st Ginger and I put in a zipper that was a shade lighter than the fabric here. It was a light blue. Can you see it? Yeah, its that lovely little light blue strip running down the angle of the photo. In fact, it almost looks white up against the deep blue color its surrounded by.

Now this zipper is a shade darker. Do you see it? Yes, I can see it, but would I notice it really unless it was pointed out to me? No. See how its not as obvious? In fact the navy color of this zipper almost looks like its the same color as the fabric. Now, what about thread?

See what I mean? The lighter shade is much more obvious on the blue parts of the fabric - which is the main color of the fabric. The darker thread is noticeable but less noticeable than the lighter thread - blends in more.

Now, let's get something straight. I'm talking about matching thread and zippers. Don't get mixed up and think that you should go putting a black zipper in a white skirt - that is not what I'm saying. I'm talking about similar shades. I'm also not saying that this rule applies if you want contrasting thread or an exposed zipper. Those are different. Those are supposed to take the forefront and be a display of workmanship and fun. Make sense? Just a little tip from someone who learned this the hard way, that's all. Do you have any sad zipper or thread stories? Do share.


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