Oliver + S

Invisible Zipper Help

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    Becca @macaronquilts


    I’m planning to make a Hide and Seek dress for my 10 year old, and I’d like to use an invisible zipper instead of buttons. She doesn’t like buttons, and I don’t know where to buy good buttons (I’ve yet to find great buttons at Joanns…). I’ve successfully installed invisible zippers in the Building Block Dress (in a couple different styles) and figured it wouldn’t be too hard…

    Except that there isn’t a fold line on the pattern pieces in the Hide and Seek Dress like there is in the BBD so I’m not sure where to alter the pattern, and the yoke is faced. I have not installed an invisible zipper in anything with a facing before. Any tips for doing that? And where should I trim the pattern? Like, a half inch away from the notches? Or on the notches maybe?

    Thanks for any tips! I’m really excited for this dress; I’m going to add some machine embroidery to the front yoke!

    Enbee @Enbee

    I can’t help with the zipper, but I too am eternally disappointed by the button selection at Joanns. I can recommend Farmhouse Fabrics for buttons – they have a wide selection of real MOP buttons and others, including some fun shaped ones. They also often run specials on buttons. One thing to note – they’ll charge normal shipping rates, but if your order is buttons only, they’ll likely ship them first class mail and refund you some of the shipping cost.

    Liesl Gibson

    I don’t have the pattern in front of me, but you’ll want to determine how much overlap was left for the buttons. Usually I leave about 1″ (1/2″ on either side), so that would mean you can trim 1/2″ from each side and use the remaining 1/2″ seam allowance. You’ll have to confirm that with the instructions and the pattern markings, however. I’m on vacation mode right now, so this will be short. Try sewing the zipper to the outer fabric, leaving 1/2″ seam allowances at the neck edge. Then fold back the facing seam allowances at CB and sew the neck. Once the neckline is finished, handstitch the folded CB seam allowances to the inside of the zipper. Then you can proceed with the rest of the dress construction. I’m pretty sure that will work, but that’s without looking back to confirm the construction. (It’s been a while since I wrote that one…) Good luck!

    Becca @macaronquilts

    Thanks for your tips, Liesl! They helped a lot. I went ahead a made a muslin first, and just in case anyone in the future searches for this (also me, for when I forget, haha), I stitched the zipper to the outer fabric, just like you said, leaving a half inch at the top and sides (I trimmed half and inch from each back piece, after rereading the pattern, it sounded like the notches were center back, meant to line up with the center notches on the skirt). Then I turned it over and sewed the facing to the zipper with the zipper sandwiched between the two pieces. I bumped my needle over three places from center and away from the zipper teeth on my Bernina (while using my invisible zipper foot) because when I sewed the muslin and left it centered, the zipper would not zip up. At all. But giving it a little extra space helped. So I pinned the edges together sewed just a bit further into the seam allowance and it worked. The neckline where the zipper meets doesn’t look as amazing as I’m sure it could, but maybe if I do it again I can work on it for the next one. She also hates hooks and eyes (says they catch her hair…) so I think she’ll be happy with it as is. It’s passable and functional for this one, and I’m just glad I got it in there, this was tricky for me! I’m still a beginner when it comes to clothing construction. I haven’t handsewn the ends of the neckline yet, I should go back and check that they’re secure…

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