My favourite type of zipper insertion is a hand-picked zipper. If you’ve been reading here for a while, you might already know that!
Why do I like inserting zippers by hand, when there are faster ways to do it?
- It’s strong.
- It’s easy to adjust as you sew, so the zipper opening is even and the zipper is centred
- It’s nearly invisible, and if it shows it looks good (in my opinion anyways!)
- If the zipper breaks later on, it’s easy to rip it out and replace with a new zipper, without having to unpick the construction of the dress
For the Cambie Dress pictured below, I decided to insert a hand-picked zipper instead of the invisible zipper called for in the pattern instructions. I had a brown vintage metal zipper that matched fairly well, and I liked the idea of using the vintage zipper in this vintage-inspired dress.
Do you think the zipper manufacturer likes exclamation points as much as I do? Automatic Locking! Smooth Running! (That’s a lot of excitement for a zipper!)
How to sew a hand-picked zipper in the Cambie Dress:
Sew the shell of the dress, and the lining of the dress as directed in the instruction sheet. Now, pin the lining to the shell as if you’d sew the zipper into the dress, but without actually sewing the zipper in.
Sew shell to lining along zipper opening, from the top edge to where the centre back seam starts.
Now, clip the seam allowance at the corners, and turn the dress right side out.
The green lining makes it easy to see what’s happening here! We have a nicely-finished opening at centre back, all ready for our zipper to be sewn in.
Now, take the zipper, and turn the tape ends under at the top edge, with the tape ends facing you.
Pin zipper into centre back opening, lining up the folded top edge with the cleanly-finished top edge of the dress.
Here’s what that looks like, from the inside:
Continue pinning the zipper in place, making sure the waistband seams and the top edges line up.
You can see the opening is finished with lining, so there’s a little peek of the lining along the centre back zipper opening.
Sew in the hand-picked zipper as shown in this post here – A Hand-Picked Zipper.
Now you may not like having the lining show like this, but once the zipper is sewn in, it will be hardly noticeable. If it still bugs you, choose a matching lining. Or don’t follow these steps, and instead, slipstitch the lining to the zipper tape once the zipper is inserted. (The advantage to doing it the way I did, is that the zipper is easy to replace if it breaks.)
What do you think: do you love hand-picked zippers as much as I do? Or are you an invisible zipper fan all the way?