Western Fraternal Life :: Zip it: Tips From our Resident Seamstress

Zip it: Tips From our Resident Seamstress

Jan 23, 2015

P1040062.JPGAt Western, our employees are full of talents. One such talented employee is Melissa Clapp, who was a professional seamstress for over 25 years. Melissa is the go-to person in office for all things sewing. We asked her if she would be willing to share her thoughts on the topic. This time of year, Melissa gets a very specific question…

I have sewn since I was 6 years old, and was a professional seamstress for over 25 years.  My specialty is women’s formal wear and bridal wear. (Although my mother says I don’t know how to sew, and she is who I worked for when I was paid to do it). When I meet new people now and they learn I am a seamstress, I do what I call the countdown.  Sometimes it comes right away and sometimes it is delayed, but most often within a week, each person will approach me with, “I have this coat…”  The lead in can vary: ‘I just love it’, ‘It’s old but….’ etc. However, the end is always the same “…and the zipper is broken – can that be fixed?”  Of course, the answer depends on the coat, the zipper, and just how and where it is broken. Following are some guidelines that can help you decide:

  •  If the tab is missing from the slide, you may be able to find a replacement tab either from the manufacturer, a fabric store, or another coat you don’t want to keep.
  •  If the slide is missing and you can find a replacement (or has come off and you have it), sometimes it can be put back on by snipping off the top of the zipper, sliding it back on and then re-enforcing the zipper tops so the slide doesn’t come off every time you zip it to the top.  
  • If neither of the first two will work, or if the teeth or other parts of the zipper are damaged, the only thing would be to replace the zipper. This is a very labor-intensive job, and it’s been my experience that the finished product is not as nice as the original. Finding a comparable replacement zipper can be a challenge. If you are paying someone, it can be expensive ($35 beginning price). Something to consider – the better the coat, the harder it is to take it apart and put it back together.

So my advice is to take care of your zippers, and if one fails you - Let it Go.

Melissa Clapp has been an employee with Western Fraternal Life for 13 years. She is currently the Supervisor of the New Business Department. Melissa is active in Lodge No. 7 and also serves as lodge treasurer.

Category: home office

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