Zipped clutches are all the rage right now, and it’s so easy to knit or crochet a fantastic little bag in a couple of hours. However, isn’t it a pain to sew a zip in afterwards?
In this tutorial I’m going to explain how to attach a zip to a project from the top down – that is, zip first! It’s a fun way of creating cute pouches, bags, cushion covers and lots of other projects that need a zip closure, but without the hassle of sewing a zip on once you’re done.
One of the best things about this method is that you can use it for knitted items too. As long as you know how to pick up stitches (check out this easy-as-pie tutorial here) you can knit off the crocheted edge and off you go.
How about using this method to make a cute makeup bag or pencil case?
What you’ll need:
A standard 20cm “YKK” zip in the colour of your choice, a sharp wool needle, approx 30g of chunky weight yarn, 4.50 (US 7) crochet hook, a removable ‘clip’ style stitch marker.
Chain stitch, slip stitch, double (UK ‘treble’) crochet stitch (in this tutorial I will refer to this stitch as double crochet), sewn running stitch.
1. Using your yarn, make 32 running stitches around the zip, including two stitches at the top and bottom ends of the zip (see photo below). If you end up making a few more or a few less it doesn’t matter as the method will be the same, but you need to make sure that you have an even number. The instructions here will refer to a zip with 32 running stitches, so if you have more or less your final number of crochet stitches will be different. It’s a good idea to make the top and bottom stitches a little lower down onto the zip (as shown) so that the open ends of the zip’s fabric will be hidden once you start crocheting. When you finish making the running stitches, tightly tie off both tail ends of the yarn and knot together. Don’t tie them so tight that the zip puckers.
Pictured: Your hook inserted into top running stitch at the end of the zip. You should have the same ‘top’ stitch at the opposite end of the zip too.
2. Insert your crochet hook up and under one of the top running stitches. Pull up a loop of yarn and chain 3. This will count as the first double crochet stitch. Make another double crochet stitch in the same space. You now have two stitches in the same space. Chain one, which will be a corner space.
Pictured: Chain 3 and double crochet stitch in the same space with chain 1 corner stitch.
3. Double crochet into the next stitch to the left, two double crochet into the following stitch. Repeat this around until you reach the last stitch before the opposite ‘top’ stitch (the stitch near the zip fastener).
Pictured: Following the pattern ‘one double crochet in first stitch, two double crochet in next stitch’, you’ve reached the opposite end of the zip.
4. To make a corner stitch, chain one. Now insert your hook into the ‘top’ stitch and make two double crochet stitches into this stitch. Chain one. One double crochet in next stitch, two double crochet in the next stitch, continuing around until you reach the end of the opposite side of the zip. Chain one and slip stitch into the top of your original chain three. Clip a stitch marker into this stitch to mark it. You should have 52 stitches.
Pictured: The last stitch (one double crochet) before you slip stitch into the top of your first chain three.
Pictured: The finished crocheted zip closure with 52 stitches.
Your zip should lie flat. If you find it curling up or puckering you may need to add more stitches or your tension is too tight. One way of rectifying this to go up a hook size and try again. If you are a particularly tight hooker (sorry, I couldn’t resist) try making two double crochet stitches in every stitch around.
And you’ve finished! From now on it’s up to you how you continue. You can carry on crocheting around these stitches to make a bag or pouch and seam up the bottom when you’re done, or you can pick up these stitches and knit. How about adding a fabric lining for a really special touch?
I’d love to see your work, so feel free to tag @emmaknitty or use the hashtag #ziptocrochet on your Instagram posts so I can take a peek! What will you make next?