The Zipper

Although this is not the first zipper I have ever put in a garment, it is my first lapped zipper. Unlike in the sleepers where I want the zipper to show and be part of the sleeper design or in the fly of a man’s pants where you can hide a lot of sin under the flap, this zipper is meant to be hidden and is only used to get into the dress but still needs to look good from the outside.

Following the pattern guide, I constructed the dress as it directed. First I sewed the front and back together of both the bodice and the skirt, then I gathered the skirt and attached it to the bodice. And then it was zipper time. I inserted the zipper as directed by the pattern guide and I learned a multitude of things about inserting a zipper in a dress.

First, when I gathered the skirt, I zigzagged floss to the skirt and used that to draw the gathers. It worked beautifully, in fact, too well. I worked really hard to gather evenly to the edges which in the long run worked to my disadvantage. While making the lap for the zipper, I had to fight the gathers. Next time I will not gather so close to the edge and leave 1/2 to 3/4 inch for inserting the zipper.

The next time I will be more generous with my seam allowances on the zipper so I have more fabric to lap over. When I sew I usually do not allow for a large seam allowance, but in the case of inserting a zipper I see where a larger seam allowance would be helpful. On this zipper, I don’t have quite enough lap to cover the zipper.

The third thing I learned is to not sew so close to the zipper. On this zipper, I tried very hard to stitch right next to the teeth. When I completed the stitching, I was quite proud about how close to the teeth I had stitched until I tried to open and close the zipper. It was too close and the zipper teeth kept getting caught in the fabric of the lap. I had to unpick half the zipper and try again. Also on the next zipper I do, I will sew closer on the side without the lap as I did on this zipper and not as close on the lap side. With the larger lap from the bigger seam allowance, this should work out well.

Even though I am not totally pleased with my zipper insertion on this dress. It is pretty good for the first try and I am encouraged to try it again.

Coming up next: the rest of the story…

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