July 5, 2012

2-in-1 Sew-Along: Lapped Zipper Insertion

This dress style is very reminiscent of the 1940s and then the 40s made a bit of a resurgence in the 70s too. In keeping with the style of the dress, I thought it very apropos to do a lapped zipper. There is also a tutorial for doing an invisible zipper, so you can pick and choose what you would like to do.

To insert a lapped zipper, you'll need a zipper foot for your sewing machine and a standard zipper. This pattern calls for a 12" zipper. Also, please note that I've stabilized my zipper opening with stay tape (you could also use strips of fusible knit/tricot interfacing). I recommend doing this as it lengthens the life of the zipper opening by making it stronger and more able to withstand the wear and tear this portion of the garment will inevitably receive.

To get started, baste your zipper opening closed. Press the seams open.

Next, clip your seam allowances down at an angle at the waistline seam. I do this to help with bulk. Sometimes zippers get stuck in those bulky areas where seamlines meet and this helps with reducing that.

If you have your zipper opening on the left side of your garment, you are going to attach one side of the zipper tape to the back bodice/skirt seam allowance. With your dress inside out and right side up, this is the right side seam allowance.

Keep your zipper closed and face down and pin the zipper in place to the seam allowance only. Make sure that the side of the zipper teeth is right next to the seam line. Note that the zipper teeth are not directly in the middle of the seam allowance.

Baste the zipper tape in place along this seam allowance. Do it closer to the edge of the zipper tape rather than closer to the teeth.

Now, fold the zipper back, and create a fold that is right next to the seam allowance. Pin this in place next to the zipper teeth. Stitch in place in between the seamline and the zipper teeth.

The zipper will now naturally want to be attached to the other seam allowance. Turn your garment right side out, and if needed, you can add some pins. I usually don't just because the zipper is pretty good to behave and do what it should do. If you have decided to go for the skirt lining, just be sure that your lining pieces won't get stitched in accidentally. I usually pin those out of the way.

I do rip off a piece of painter's tape, and stick it on the outside as a guide for my stitching line. Make sure you're marking the correct side of the seam. You will be attaching the side of the zipper that isn't attached to anything. Now stitch the remaining side in place. I start at the top of the zipper, which I've marked with a pin, then I turn and go down the zipper with my painter's tape as a guide, then I make my final turn and go across the bottom.

Carefully open up the zipper opening and voila! Your zipper is in!

Attaching the Lining to the Zipper
If you have lined your skirt section, now go back into the inside of the dress. Fold over the bits to the side of the zipper that are along the waistline and also fold over the seam allowance for the zipper opening. Pin in place and hand stitch in place. I use a fell stitch, if you're curious. It's my favorite stitch because it's very discreet and I don't have appendages that get caught on it and rip the stitching out.

For more 2-in-1 Sew-Along posts, click here!

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