Saturday, June 27, 2015

Nina test and tutorial for a contrasting frontal zipper Nina

This post contains a tutorial at the end, scroll all the way down for the zipper Nina tutorial.

Compagnie M  has released a new pattern: the Nina culottes for girls and I was allowed to test it! Last month Marte released the Nina for women, but now you can fill your girl's closet with this staple item. The pattern contains instructions for an A-line skirt and culottes, so two different garments for one price. I really wanted to make the culottes because here I always see my girls' underwear. Legs seem to be made to stay up. With the culottes, this isn't a problem anymore.

Compagnie M is known for her pocket options and I love pockets. During the testing we were encouraged to experiment with the pattern as long as we didn't change the fit. I love getting permission to hack and I changed the front pockets to faux welt pockets. This were the first faux welt pockets I sewed. The pockets always gape a bit, because I didn't stabilize them and due to their position, this is my own fault and not because of the pattern, welt pockets like this are not even part of the pattern.

The fit of the culottes is simply perfect, just look at this picture where she crunches down with her legs open. Culottes give here freedom of movement, no visible underwear and still are a very girly garment.

There are so many option in the pattern that hacking really isn't necessary (but I always have this need somehow). There are several closure options, and as mentioned earlier, several pocket options. Whatever your style, you will find an option in the manual that will fit it.

Before I made the culottes, I first made an A-line skirt, to test the size (not that it was necessary the size was spot on). The skirt was just for size testing and I allowed myself some more freedom with the pattern and I added a visible contrasting zipper on the front.

Both fabrics are from Cloud 9, and I bought them at Modes4U. The zipper I bought in a big batch at Aliexpress once. With the code NINA10 you can buy this pattern with a 10% discount. When you buy both Nina patterns (girls & women), you’ll get a 20% discount with the code NINADUO. Both codes will be valid till the end of the month.

I like the result a lot and so did Marte. Therefore I wrote a tutorial (scroll down) on how to make your own zipper Nina. The tutorial is heavy on pictures, I am still experimenting when it comes to writing tutorials, so feel free to tell me how I can make a better tutorial next time. Marte's instructions are great, so I really tried to be extra thorough myself, but I might have overshot it a bit.

For the tutorial I made my eldest a zipper Nina. The main fabric is again one that I won in the facebook competition last month. This one is from Michael Miller and I got it from Koning Uil. I wasn't in top shape when I determined the size and actually took one too small at the waist, totally my mistake, so the skirt is a bit higher than it should be but still wearable.

 Zipper Nina Tutorial

Extra materials needed: an open-ended zipper (deelbare rits). You can make the zipper Nina with a normal zipper, but in that case the bottom will always stay closed, my girl loves the fact that the skirt can be totally open. 

For this version you will need pattern pieces 1 and 3 for the front. You need to add seam allowance to the side that you normally cut on the fold. The visible zipper will add to the width of the front. In my case the zipper coil plus the width of my zipper foot (on both sides) is one centimeter extra. You can adjust your seam allowance for this difference. In my case I only had to add half a centimeter allowance instead of 1 centimeter (half a centimeter less on either side makes up the difference). If this sound very complex just add one centimer allowence on either side, you can adjust the final fit due to the elastic in the waistband.

To avoid my daughter's skin getting caught in the zipper I added a zipper guard. The length of the guard is the total of your front. In my case I took 38 centimeter.

The width of the guard piece is the width of your zipper plus seam allowance times two. So in my case 3.5 centimeter plus 1 centimeter times two is 9 centimeter.

Use the manual to sew the pockets, sew the sides of the skirt, the sides of the waistband and sew the waistband to the skirt. Do not hem and do not yet sew the waistband to the inside (every other step should be done). Now lay your zipper upside down on the skirt, align the side of the zipper with the side of the skirt panel. Your zipper's good side should face the good side of your fabric (the zipper coil might not differ depending on the side, so focus on the position of your runner). The skirt has a two centimeter hem allowance so place the bottom of your zipper just above those two centimeter and pin in place.

Make sure you fold the seam of the waistband (the seam between the front of the waistband and the skirt panel) totally up.This seam will have to end up under the waistband and should be folded in that direction.

Pin the other side as well, turn you fabric with the pins in it to see if you did it correctly (avoid having to use your seam ripper).

Use your zipper foot to sew as close as possible to the coil (if possible also adjust your needle position). Sew both sides and start/end your sewing 3 millimeter after/before the waistband seam (the seam between the front of the waistband and the waistband's facing). You shouldn't sew to close to that seam to be able to turn it over later.

Fold your zipper guard piece and sew the long side and one of the short ones closed. Cut the corners and turn it.

Pin the zipper guard on the side of the skirt with the zipper runner. Put the guard slightly higher (1 mm)  than the end of the zipper. This step I didn't do myself, but I learned from that. So in this step the bottom of the zipper should show a bit under the zipper guard. 

Again, turn with the pins in it, and check if everything looks okay. In your case, the zipper bottom should be a bit lower than the zipper guard (in my case the guard is slightly lower).

Take your normal sewing foot and sew the guard to the zipper (and the skirt).

I never use zippers that have the perfect length, so for this tutorial I assume you didn't either. Cut the zipper about three centimeter from seam (seam between front waistband and waistband facing).

Remove the extra teeth with pliers (only the teeth not the entire fabric). Remove all the teeth above the seam and probably one more. Start with a conservative removal and you will see in the next step if more have to be removed.

Fold over the waistband facing (to the back) and pin the facing to the zipper. In this step you fold the zipper top between the waistband front and the waistband facing. If you can not fold the facing over, and make zipper disappear neatly you might have to remove another teeth (or two).

Fold the bottom of the waistband facing under (itself), to be able to finish your waistband as explained in the manual.

Turn and your waistband should look like this.

Fold the guard in on itself and sew closed invisibly (by hand). Invisibly close the waistband (by hand).

Now the bottom hem. Hem as explained in the manual, or like I did, blindly by hand.

 Your zipper guard should be slightly higher than mine.


I love to hear what you think of my creations. Feel free to leave a comment in the language you prefer (although Google translate might have to assist me if you choose something different than English, German, Dutch or Hungarian).


  1. Zo leuk, zowel de broekrok als de rokken met rits. Bedankt voor de tutorial, ik ga er zelf zo eentje maken voor de winter voor de kleinste!

  2. Mooi! Ik raak meer en meer overtuigd van die broekrok ☺

  3. Bedankt voor de tutorial !! Dat van die tandjes afknippen ga ik onthouden... Werkt dat ook voor een blinde rits?

    1. Die tandjes zijn iets anders gevormd volgens mij, vaak één lange spiraal volgens mij, maar ik zal er eens over nadenken.

    2. Gisteren was ik bezig met een blinde rits en bedacht me toen dat je een blinder rits gewoon lager plaatst als hij te lang is. Dat doe je met een niet deelbare rits ook namelijk. In dit geval, omdat het een deelbare rits is wilde ik de onderkant behouden en daarom verwijderde ik tandjes aan de bovenkant.

  4. bedankt voor de tutorial! Die rits is echt superleuk!

  5. Heel leuk, alledrie. Die tutorial onthoud ik voor een winterversie met voering!

    1. Er zullen veel meiden in winter Nina's lopen als ik het zo lees :)

  6. ik dacht van 1 rokje te zien maar nee.... een hele rij & nog een tutorial! Prachtig!

  7. Die broekrok is fantastisch mooi, wow!

    1. Erg leuk om te maken, ik moest hem verlengen ivm smalle taille dochter. Volgende keer pak ik dan de pijpbreedte van de langere maat voor meer "volume"

  8. Ik veronderstel dat als je van een A-lijn rokje de voorzijde splitst en elke bovenzijde al van een tailleboord en zak voorziet, je de rits gewoon in het midden plaatst en klaar? Of is dat te simpel? Mijn Engels als het naaitutorials gaat is niet zo best, vandaar...