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  • 5 months later...


I impulsively bought the zippers for my Freedom at MQS this year. They are still in the bag, because I am clueless (and don't do well with instruction booklets).

Can someone step-by-step me on how to apply the zippers to the leaders and how those zippers make loading the quilt easier?

Should I have purchased another set? Seems to me if I want to "zip off, zip on another" I would need extras.

Do you baste the zipper onto the backing and then float the top and batting? If so, does that take as much time as pinning?

Sorry for so many questions - I just go through this fear factor, when I am trying something new.

Mahalos (Thank you) and Aloha,

Hawaii Barbara

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Thank you, ladies - you are awesome "teachers".

I like the idea of attaching the zipper to mini-leaders and then to the main leaders.

Those of you who have zippers on your canvas - does it save you time? If it does not, can you tell me the reasons why you like having zippers on your setups.

I notice in the previous post that Dawn mentioned that she did NOT have zippers on her setup. Wonder why?

Hawaii Barbara

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I'm an old dog, and the zippers are "new tricks."

I think zippers are wonderful for different applications. It really depends on how you like to do things. Zippers give quilters a big advantage when a quilt must be removed for some reason (another "rush" job comes in, you're bored with the project, you need to "unsew" a big area). They also make sense for individuals who share a machine, or rent machines. Some quilters like to float their tops, so the zippers make getting the backing in place much easier.

I tried the zipper system when I was teaching at a show that Sue Schmeiden was vending at (she's our dealer in Wisconsin who started the zipper craze and sells sets on her website). They worked fine. As to why I don't use them? Well, for me personally, I didn't feel that they would save ME any time, based on how I like to work. I'd rather just pin the quilt on in one step, then quilt until it's done.

Since I haven't done a pantograph in 13 years (I still do "overall" quilting, but just do freehand designs) I don't have a need to quilt completely off the edge of the quilt and back on again. Therefore, I do not float my tops.

For me, floating seems to ADD more steps. First one has to pin on the backing fabric (and if you are using zippers, you still have to attach the backing to the zipper, either with pins or with a machine basting stitch.) Then you have to smooth the batting out, stitch a reference line, find the center of the reference line, line the edge of the quilt up with the reference line, pin it in place to the backing and/or baste it in place, and remove the pins, all before one can begin quilting. Whew!

Since I had to teach myself how to use the machine 100 years ago, I taught myself how to pin all the layers to the take up roller at once, so that it was just one step. (That's the method you see demonstrated in the machine video.) Yep, there's the downside in that I can't quilt completely off the quilt's edge. But for my kind of quilting, I rarely need to. If I do need to quilt off the edge of the quilt (such as with the "piano key" border that Mary Beth did on an applique quilt described in another thread ) then I just do the side borders first, turn the quilt, and do the top and bottom then.

Boy--that's a long-winded explanation. Since you still have to pin or baste the quilt to the zipper, I didn't find enough time-saving features in the system to adopt it for myself. Having said that, MANY quilters would give up their pinky finger before parting with their zippers.

I'm so glad that there is more than one way to tackle a quilt--we can all feel good about the process, and find what works for us instead of worrying whether we are doing it the "right" way or the way "so-and-so" does it.

By all means, TRY the zippers. You can temporarily attach them and always remove them if you feel they aren't right for you. Honestly, if I were to add zippers to my machine, I'd use the false leader idea so that I could adjust a quilt that was a bit out of square, or baste the quilt to the leader with a sewing machine, rather than trying to attach the quilt to the zipper tape.

Hope you'll keep us abreast of your first projects!


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