Never Pinch Your Skin In A Zipper Again!

Here’s a neat detail I saw in a ready-to-wear dress while shopping. I didn’t buy the dress  in case you wondered – I considered it though, just for the zipper detail!

Instead I took fitting-room photos to share with you guys. They’re a little blurry, I was trying to be sneaky! A simple stripe of grosgrain ribbon adds a protective layer to an invisible zipper opening.

invisible zipper with grosgrain protecting your skin

Can you see the royal blue grosgrain trim along one side of the zipper? It creates a lapped zipper effect, with an underlap keeping your skin out of the zipper’s way.

You can see it better in the close-ups – the top edge is folded down, so it’s lower than the back neckline. It’s about a quarter inch lower than the finished edge.

invisible zipper with grosgrain trim

Inside, you can see the turned-twice edge on the top of the ribbon. Grosgrain ribbon makes a great zipper guard, since the edges are finished along both ends. It’s only the top and bottom edge that need to be hemmed. And it’s quite striking in this bright blue colour.

invisible zipper with grosgrain trim

Look at this – they’ve even wrapped the grosgrain ribbon around the end of the zipper, protecting you from the scratchy end! I’ve covered the end of my zippers before (see post here- Is Your Invisible Zipper End Scratchy?) but this is even simpler.

invisible zipper with grosgrain trim

The reason I think they’ve done this on this particular garment is because it’s a tight, form-fitting dress in a knit fabric. It’s hugging the body snugly, so the zipper opening is stretched tight over your skin. This prevents you from pinching your skin when zipping yourself up!

It’s sewn to the seam allowance, and I’m guessing it was sewn after the zipper was inserted, so you can wrap the end around the end of the zipper tape. I think it would get in the way otherwise.

invisible zipper with grosgrain trim

I took a ton of photos so I can try recreating this finishing detail. I like this idea for unlined dresses and tops, especially snug ones. I’m going to try it out on my next invisible zipper garment that could benefit from this technique. Not to mention, I love the idea of adding colour to a plain garment or a coordinating bright ribbon to a printed one. When I figure out the order of construction, I’ll post about it so you can try it too!

What do you think of this?


29 Responses to Never Pinch Your Skin In A Zipper Again!

  1. Jane April 3, 2014 at 6:07 am #

    I LOVE this! Zipper itch is my main dislike about fitted woven dresses; I will definitely have to add some ribbon!

  2. Fooniks April 3, 2014 at 6:28 am #

    I’ve seen this technique around but it also has a down side. While it really does protect from zipper pinch, it often creates a problem with the zipper getting stuck on the ribbon. So looking out for that is a must when zipping up(and picking the ribbon).

    So unless it’s really a snug little dress that’s bound to do quite a lot of pinching, then I would suggest using this. otherwise..don’t know if the zipper getting stuck on it is worth the risk. Knowing myself I would break the whole thing when I’m in a hurry and getting frustrated on the zipper :)

    • Tasia April 3, 2014 at 10:35 am #

      That’s a really good point, I’ve had that happen with linings getting caught in zippers, I could imagine that might happen with ribbon too.

  3. Annette April 3, 2014 at 6:58 am #

    I haven’t seen this before, but have thought about it. I would think it would just be sewn on after hemming the top and bottom, the same way that a jean fly shield is, tacking the end to the opposite seam allowance at the bottom only.

    • Tasia April 3, 2014 at 10:35 am #

      I agree, it’s probably much easier than it looks!

  4. Claire (aka Seemane) April 3, 2014 at 7:00 am #

    Interesting! It’s quite similar to this on a designer dress :)

    • Tasia April 3, 2014 at 10:34 am #

      Very cool! Everything is ‘inspired’ by something else, doesn’t it seem that way? I like the addition of the snap on top.

  5. Jen April 3, 2014 at 7:40 am #

    I did this on a pencil skirt with a full-length exposed back zip. It was a metal zipper and, well, I had visions of being burnt by it in the summer heat. Also, since the zipper went from the waist and formed the walking vent, I was concerned about it unzipping itself too far. So I tacked the middle portion of the zipper tape to the grosgrain/petersham ribbon to prevent it. Works great!

  6. Jaime April 3, 2014 at 7:44 am #

    It’s called a zipper guard! I remember it from Gertie’s bombshell dress course. You can use grosgrain ribbon, or fabric, like this:

    • Tasia April 3, 2014 at 10:33 am #

      Ah yes, like the fly shield on the inside of a fly zipper. Thanks for sharing the link!

  7. Diane @ Vintage Zest April 3, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    Awesome idea! I’ll have to pin the picture as a reference. :)

  8. Brianna April 3, 2014 at 9:46 am #

    That is a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing! :) Also: those floral fabrics are beautiful – I would love a dress like that but never seem to find any fabrics quite that colorful.

    • Tasia April 3, 2014 at 10:33 am #

      I know eh? I’ve been looking for something similar.

  9. Christina April 3, 2014 at 10:18 am #

    Great idea. Thanks for sharing and I can’t wait to see your instructions on how to create this.

    • Tasia April 3, 2014 at 10:32 am #

      Now I have to try it myself! :)

  10. maddie April 3, 2014 at 10:23 am #

    What a neat trick! Thanks for sharing! Would you be willing to tell us the retailer?

    • Tasia April 3, 2014 at 10:32 am #

      Oh for sure! It’s Zara, a dress in their sale section. It’s actually a neat neoprene-type fabric, spongy and stretchy. Makes sense that you’d want to protect your skin in a tight stretchy dress like that!

  11. Sandra (Sewist-Stitch) April 3, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    That is a fabulous idea, and seems so glaringly obvious now but isn’t it funny how we get stuck in our ways of doing things. Using grosgrain is such a smart solution. :-)

  12. zilredloh April 3, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

    I used this trick (which I cleverly thought I came up with heh) in order to hide my skin from being seen on a poorly inserted zipper at the top when it connects to a waistband.

    I used it as a shield from the world seeing skin or a tucked blouse – who knew it doubles as a zipper pinch shield?! :)

  13. Amy April 3, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    My husband is always entertained at how I thoroughly inspect how clothing is made when shopping at stores. Definitely a sign of someone who sews. The better made something is the more I’m willing to pay for it, and it also gives me ideas for my own projects.

  14. Kris April 3, 2014 at 8:01 pm #

    After reading this this morning, I noticed that my boots also have something similar for the side zipper.

    I wonder what other little neat tricks might be floating around that we normally overlook.

  15. elle April 4, 2014 at 1:31 am #

    I did this on my Georgia dress and it works a treat. (I’m feeling pretty chuffed now that you’ve posted about it. :)) It also features on one of my RTW dresses (which is where I got the idea from!) I’ve never had it catch in the zip, I think because grosgrain ribbon is so sturdy, it doesn’t slip into the zip’s way (unlike some linings).

  16. Pauline April 4, 2014 at 7:00 am #

    Such a great detail to add to a dress or skirt. I like to line them as I don’t have a serger but as a decorative detail, I could really use it.

  17. Bel April 5, 2014 at 4:53 am #

    What a gorgeous print! I’m in love <3

  18. Alessa April 8, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

    Ooh, that looks like a great idea! Thanks for the tip!

  19. Maria Sewing April 13, 2014 at 7:32 am #

    I put this detail in all of creations lately, because I developed some kind of an allergy, if zipper touches my skin, I get a rectangular red area really annoying to bear and takes days to go away. So go cover that zipper!

  20. Jessica June 6, 2014 at 6:56 am #

    this is brilliant! I was looking for a solution for the itchy invisible zipper issue I’m having right now. I made a peplum top yesterday and it’s fitted. I love it, but I’ve only had it on for about 3 hours and the zipper on the side is killing me. I’m going to have to add some ribbon right away! Much easier solution than any of the ideas I had come up with (sewing a panel in, etc).

  21. Hayley March 30, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

    Hi Tasia, by any chance did you get around to trying this? I would love to see a tutorial as I am planning a snug unlined top for the summer in stretch cotton, and I hate scratchy zips!

    • Tasia March 30, 2015 at 3:01 pm #

      Not yet, though I’d still love to give it a go. It’s a great idea for a snug unlined top though, and we have the photos posted here for reference. I have a feeling it’ll be intuitive once you start, good luck!