So I have this front zip surf vest I bought a while back by Billabong that I just love because it can zip on and off like a jacket- no over the head removal. This helps my sore neck greatly.
However, it has a horrible design flaw. At least for a frequent surfer like me. Its’ zipper teeth and zipper pull are completely exposed. Cute fashion look, but bad for function when I’m accumulating surf wax on my chest, lying on my board belly down, paddling into waves. Now I’ve got crazy wax buildup on the zipper, and it actually doesn’t make the zip-up any easier. Plus, the clean-up is going to become a nightmare.
So, to help start this process, I put the vest in a Ziplock bag and put it in the freezer overnight.
After taking the vest out of the freezer the next day, I immediately began to remove the hardened wax while it was frozen. I used an old toothbrush that I had cleaned off well beforehand.
Since there was still some wax deep in some crevices, I had to use an alcohol wipe to wipe down the plastic teeth to try and dissolve the wax. That seemed to help quite a bit too.
Now, I was ready to make a little zipper placket so I could save myself this cleaning pain in the future, hopefully.
For this zipper placket, I used some fun Lycra I bought ages ago on clearance, but you could also recycle an old rashguard for this project too, since it’s the same material.I measured the zipper on the jacket vest, wanting the placket to end up being 1 inch wide by 19 inches long.
To make this strip, I needed to cut a piece 2 inches wide by 20 inches long, since I’m going to fold it over. I inferfaced this with light iron on interfacing. I just find it makes sewing with knits a lot easier, and it will give the placket a bit of structure.
After that, I hemmed each end a 1/2″ inch and turned the ends right side out, then stitched down the placket on the outside raw edge to stabilize it some more. Then, I sandwiched the raw edge of the placket between the zipper teeth and the scant edge of the neoprene on the side of the fabric of the zipper. I clipped this all the way down, putting this placket on the zipper side where the zipper pull is. I used a needle a poly thread and hand tacked the layers together, since they were just too bulky for the home machine. Even with small tack stitches, it didn’t take long. This is also a good use for old fishing line, but the lighter, the better. Done!
This will help to prevent some wax from getting on the zipper in the future. It was easy enough to do, and I’m glad I didn’t have to scrap the nice vest.
Don’t forget to store the toothbrush with your cleaning supplies. If you wax your teeth up, you’re going to freak people out in the lineup with a permagrin.
Although that’s not a bad idea.