Lonsdale Sew-Along #14: Sewing the Zipper

Are you getting excited about finishing your dress? I sure am! Today we’ll put in the zipper. You get to try on your dresses, yay!

If you need to catch up, here are links to the earlier Sew-Along posts:

Here’s what it might look like at your sewing station:

Before we sew in the zipper, we’ll need to finish the edge. I finished mine using seam binding, which looks really nice! Feel free to finish your edges any way you like.

Once you have the edge finished, sew the centre back seam below the marking. I’ve lost my marking from binding the edge, so I’ll simply use my zipper as a guide. If you’ve lost your marking, here’s how to get it back!

Take your zipper, and line it up with the top edge. Pin it to the top if you’d like, to keep it from moving around. Slide your hands down to the bottom of the zipper, and pinch the zipper against the fabric, like I am in the photo below.

That metal end is where we’ll start the seam, so we won’t be sewing over the metal end when we topstitch. We use the maximum length of the zipper this way.

Poke a pin through the centre back edge, just below the metal zipper stop.

That’s where we’ll start our centre back seam! Pin the rest of the seam below this first pin.

Sew this seam, and press seam allowances open.

This photo makes me want to use seam binding on all of my seams! It’s so crisp and tidy.

Press under the seam allowance on the centre back opening.

Now, we’ll take our zipper, and fold under the top end. Look at the photo below – first we’re folding under the end, then we’re lining it up with the top of our zipper opening.

Pin the zipper at the top, and continue pinning the zipper into the opening. Line up the edge of the zipper teeth with the fold of the opening.

When you get to the bottom, the metal zipper stop should be just above the seam. It can be just at the start of the seam, or a fraction of an inch below the seam. We want to make sure it’s not too low or we’ll sew over it with our topstitching!

Continue pinning up the other side of the zipper. Zip it up to make sure your two edges meet in the middle without overlapping.

Are you done pinning the zipper into the opening? You can try it on! If you’d like, slip on your dress before sewing the zipper in place. This way, you have the chance to make minor adjustments through the centre back seam, by taking it in along the zipper opening.

Check to make sure the horizontal seams line up, across the waistband:

If you need to take it in at all, simply unpin the zipper, fold under more of the fabric, and re-pin the zipper in place.

I tried mine on, and took a quick shot in the mirror. Looks good so far!

Once you’re happy with the fit, it’s time to sew in the zipper! Take your dress to the machine. We’ll start on the left side of the zipper, topstitch down, across the bottom, and back up the other side of the zipper. I aimed for a 3/8″ topstitch, but it’s more important to be even than it is to keep it close to the edge.

Alternately, you could hand-pick your zipper instead of sewing it in by machine. I really like hand-picking my zippers and would have done it on this one, if I wasn’t following the instructions. (Click here for a tutorial on hand-picking your zipper!)

After the zipper is sewn in, give it a light press. All we have to do is hem our dress and we’re done!

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11 Responses to Lonsdale Sew-Along #14: Sewing the Zipper

  1. Musetica August 11, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    Such a beautiful dress! inside and out :) And it fits you so, so nice! Thank you for another great tutorial, they all help so much and way beyond the specific project you created them for! xoxo

  2. Amy August 11, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    Eeep! I’m behind again… Hopefully I’ll have time to catch up this weekend!

  3. Sewingdina August 12, 2011 at 12:15 am #

    I understand now. I thought from your earlier post that the seam binding joined the seam after you’d already sewn the back seam below the zip. I agree with the finish – I’m definitely going to buy seam binding. Your dress is looking lovely!

  4. Shannon August 12, 2011 at 11:26 pm #

    Did you use a zipper foot for this?

  5. Shawnta August 13, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    i did my first handpicked zipper today on my Lonsdale using your tutorial and it came out beautifully!

  6. Tasia August 15, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    @Shannon: Hi Shannon! Nope, I used my regular machine foot to sew in the zipper. You could use a zipper foot – whatever you’re most comfortable with!

  7. Tasia August 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    @Shawnta: Awesome! I love hand-picked zippers, they’re so tidy-looking. Your dress is so beautiful!

  8. mes ptits titis August 20, 2011 at 1:59 am #

    tr√®s jolie robe, j’adore

  9. Nhung March 19, 2013 at 1:25 am #

    I just made this dress for my self , but still not happy with the zipper ( dont know how to make it nicer :-) maybe have to take it out and put in again ……..


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