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Add a zip to your Bonfire Jacket

When he was little my brother LOVED dinosaurs.  I’m hoping his son is the same.  Isn’t this just the cutest knit fabric!!!

… now getting back on track – for my littlest nephews Bonfire Jacket I decided to add an opening zip.

If you don’t have the Bonfire Jacket you could definitely use these same steps to change the opening of a different jacket from snaps to zips.  If you’d like to read a little more about changing the openings on a pattern, be sure to check out Toni from Bobbin & Co’s article in Issue 6.

How to add a zip to your Bonfire Jacket flyer

Step 1 – Adjust your front pattern piece, front facing and bottom tabs to account for the differences needed for the zip vs overlapping snaps.

I trimmed 12mm (1/2″) from my front pattern piece, front facing and bottom tabs.

Step 2 – Sew your jacket (skipping attaching the facing & the collar) up till when the zip will be inserted.

add a zip to your bonfire jacket prepare your jacket

  • Sew front & back at shoulders
  • Repeat for facing then lay aside
  • Sew in sleeves
  • Sew sideseams
  • Assemble bottom ribbing and front tabs
  • Attach bottom ribbing/front tabs.

Step 3 – Prepare your zip.

Add a zip to your bonfire jacket - prepare the zip

Separate your zip into the two pieces.  Cut a small triangle out of the top of the zip, near the top stopper, to make it easier to manipulate the zipper above the top stopper into the seam allowance – indicated by the white triangle on the left zip piece in the image above).

Step 4 – Arrange the zip on the jacket.

Add a zip to your bonfire jacket - zip placement step

Place the left hand side of the zip facedown on the left hand (as you look at it) side of the jacket.  Have the top zip stopper 10mm (3/8″) from the neckline.  Match the edge of the zipper tape to the raw edge of the jacket.  Have the bit of the zipper tape above the top stopper bent so that it sticks out towards the raw edge of the jacket.

Step 5 – Baste the zip to the jacket.

attach a zip to your bonfire jacket - baste the zip

Use a 10mm (3/8″) seam allowance.  You can use a zipper foot but I managed fine with my walking foot. (

I made another one using a “chunky”opening zip and needed to use the zipper foot for it.)

Step 6 – Repeat step 4 and 5 for the other side of the zip/jacket.

attach a zip to your bonfire jacket - check the zip aligns

Check that the zip sides are aligned so that the zip will do up and the jacket will be even.  Depending on the zip length you can get and the length of your front opening your bottom zip placement may not be right at the bottom.  I found it was quick a mission to find an opening zip the right colour and the right length which is why mine is probably a little short.

Step 7 – Attach the collar and facing.

Attach a zip to your bonfire jacket - attach the facing

As per the pattern attach the collar.  Lay the facing (right side of the facing towards the right side of the jacket) over the top and sew together.  Use the 6mm (1/4″) seam allowance around the neckline & the 10mm (3/8″) seam allowance along the centre front.

Step 8 – Complete the jacket.

Attach a zip to your bonfire jacket - inside

Clip the corners.  Turn the facing to the inside (wrong sides facing) and complete the jacket as per the pattern.

Make your Bonfire Jacket with an Opening Zip - completed Jacket

I ended up doing the opening zip on the Bonfire Jacket for my older nephew’s jacket too.

I used a chunky zip for it and the chunkier zip was trickier but I love the end result!  Tomorrow on the blog there’ll be the “How to” for the welt pockets!

Bonfire Jacket with Welt Pockets

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