Introduction: Zippable Klein Bottle

Klein bottles are a realy interesting piece of geometry in topology. There are so many cool and interesting variations of Klein bottles that people have turned into crafts such as scarves, glass ware, and puzzles. This Klein bottle is based off of an idea from to make a zippable Klein bottle. I thought this was such a cool idea that I decided to make my own version and share it here on instructables.

Step 1: Gathering the Materials

There aren't a lot of materials for this project, all of which are easy to find at any craft store.

For this project you're going to need:

- 1 30in zipper

- Sewing pins

- Needle and thread (or sewing machine if you prefer)

- Pen (for marking the fabric)

- Scissors

- 2 different colored sheets of fabric (approximately 30x30in of fabric per color)

(I used two old jean legs of different colors)

- A printout of the Mobius pattern

*Special note: Make sure that the zipper can be unzipped all the way down into two halves (I used a sports zipper which seemed to work just fine)

Step 2: Cutting Out the Pieces

To start, lay the pattern over fabric (a) and mark the outline of the pattern 4 times on the fabric. Don't mind the shaded edges, they are the parts that you fold over to get a nice hem line. Cut out all 4 pieces. Do the same to fabric (b) so that you have a total of 8 cutouts of the pattern, 4 of each color.

Step 3: Shaping the Zipper Into Mobious Bands

This part can be a little tricky, but I will explain it as best as I can. Unzip the zipper all the way so that you get the two halves of the zipper. These will make up the two Mobius bands. Hold the zipper so that it creates a loop. Twist one of the sides to create a Mobius band. Now holding the beginning, we have to slide the zipper along the edge until it reaches 3in from where you began. Pin it all the way around so that there is plastic on either side of the Mobius strip. Do the same to the second half of the zipper. They should be equally sized.

Step 4: Sewing the Fabric Together

Take two pieces of fabric (a) and sew the two long parts of them together. Do the same to the other two pieces of fabric (a). You should then have two diamond-shaped pieces of fabric (a). These two will go together face to face to create all the sides of the Mobius band. Do the same to fabric (b) to get a total of 4 diamonds 2 of each color.

Then sew the two small ends of the fabric together of the same color so that you get two pieces that look like the diagram.

Step 5: Pinning the Zippers and the Fabric Together

Now we need to pin the fabric inside of the zipper seams. To do this, first find one of the long seams and fold the edge over about a centimeter. This middle part should be right in the middle (1.5in) of the 3in gap of the zipper twist. Put either side of the zipper on either side of the fabric (making sure to fold over a centimeter for a nice edge) and pin it all the way around. Ignore the somewhat pointy edges, they don't affect the final model. This takes a lot of patience, so take your time and be careful not to poke yourself with the pins. (Remember that a mobius band only has one side, so all you have to do it keep pinning the edge all the way around until you get back to the beginning). Do this for both pieces of fabric and both zipper twists. When you get to the end, just sew the two small end parts together to finish your model.

Step 6: How to Zip Up the Klein Bottle

A Klein bottle is a topological figure that mathematically has only one unbroken side that folds inside of itself. We have made two identical mobius bands that have a large side and a small side as well as a gap for the model to go inside of itself. Take the two bands and connect the ends as you would a normal zipper. Start zipping it up until you reach the very end of the zipper. This can be a little tricky at first, but if your mobius bands are correct they should work fine. After a little practice you should see a Klein bottle form. Using two colors of fabric makes the model even more interesting because you can see exactly where the model splits in half to create the two mobius bands. This model is a really cool hands-on topology project that isn't too hard to make as long as you are patient enough.


KookyKreations made it! (author)2014-10-20

I had never heard of Klein bottles before so you sent me on a new voyage of discovery. YAY! You made a very nice interpretation of the principle! Great fun - and I learned new stuff!

MaeBerry made it! (author)MaeBerry2014-10-21

Thank you KookyKreations! That's how I decided to make this in the first place! I couldn't quite wrap my head around this concept until I made one, it gives you a new perspective on the topic.

Danger is my middle name made it! (author)2014-10-20

This is so awesome! One of my favorite things to knit is mobius strips and I love seeing other representations of mathematics in fiber form :D

MaeBerry made it! (author)MaeBerry2014-10-21

Thank you! It is always so interesting to me to see people come up with cool "hands-on" ways to express math since we don't usually think of math as something that you can touch :)

MsSweetSatisfaction made it! (author)2014-10-20

YAY KLEIN BOTTLES! Sorry friends with a lot of math majors, I knitted a klein bottle hat once. I love your design, it looks awesome and like it's be super fun to play around with. I may have to make one for my nephew, encourage from an early age. Thanks for sharing!

MaeBerry made it! (author)MaeBerry2014-10-21

Thank you so much! That Klein bottle hat sounds like it would be a lot of fun to wear :D. I think that almost all ages love to play with zippers anyway, they make such a satisfing sound!

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