Oliver + S

Zipper in back on Library dress?

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    Profile photo of purlknitpurlpurlknitpurl @purlknitpurl

    I’m in love with the library dress and so was my daughter …until she realized it has buttons in the back! While I love buttons as decorative embellishments, she unfortunately does not. Does anyone know if it would work to put an invisible zipper in the back instead of the buttons and if so, could I just follow the instructions for the school photo dress zipper installation? If not, any other ideas out there? I’m very much wanting to make this dress!

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    Profile photo of JaneJane @jesims

    That is a lovely idea, I hope someone can weigh in. I made a library dress for my daughter for school picture day, there is a good chance that is the only day it will get worn because she complained about the buttons and promptly took it off when she got home.

    Jane

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    Profile photo of lattemamalattemama @lattemama

    It shouldn’t be too hard I think. I would find the centre back line on the back pieces (both bodice and skirt) and compare with the School Photo Dress to see how much to add (I think 1/2″ would be enough. Interface it and neaten the edge then sew the invisible zip on.

    Or adjust the back facing as well if you want a cleaner finish on the inside. (The School Photo dress is lined while the Library isn’t so consider how you want to finish the zip on the inside.)

    I plan to add a facing on Sofia’s next Library dress – she didn’t like the buttons either, mostly because her hair got caught on them so I added a covered placket instead to take care of that issue.

    If no one does it before I’ll take some pictures and post to Flickr.

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    Profile photo of TamaraTamara @justsewit

    Yes I agree with Lattemama, it shouldn’t be too difficult. As an alternative how does she go with snaps? I know it wouldn’t be the most ideal for a good version but for play or casual it could be ok.

    I haven’t done the zipper but was considering it. I have however lined the bodices to do away with the facing. This is one thing you will have to consider altering if you were to do the zipper. You could do the bodice lining as if doing the fairy tale dress. It is just a matter of cutting double amount of the front and back bodices.

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    Profile photo of purlknitpurlpurlknitpurl @purlknitpurl

    Oh geez, didn’t even consider the lining! Thank you! Latte mom, please help me understand what you mean by adding 1.5 inches ? Just confused about where and to whatart I would add ? Do you mean the zipper length? Best, purl

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    Profile photo of SarviSarvi @Sarvi

    I think Lattemama is suggesting finding the center back (visualize the dress viewed from the back. There’s a bit of overlap to allow for the buttons and buttonholes. Where would the line be where the left and right sides met if they were flush?) and then adding half and inch of seam allowance, essentially, to left side and half an inch to the right side. Instead of creating and area of overlap where the buttons would go, this creates a small extra width where the zipper tape will be attached.

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    Profile photo of TamaraTamara @justsewit

    So adding onto the ladies’ descriptions. If you make a bodice muslin in the size for your daughter, minus the facings and then pin it at the back with raw edges together, you will see how much is there (including the seam allowance to attach the original facing). Take this measurement and draw a line indicating that measurement down the back bodice pattern piece. Then I would suggest tracing a new piece (because you simply never know when buttons might be needed for this size again) and as you are drawing the straight line to mark going down the back, add the 1/2 or so inch (the measurement that you figure for the seam allowance) to make the new back bodice piece with the zipper.

    Just remember you will have to do the same to the skirt as this also has the button placket built in.

    I hope this is clear.

    Now as to zipper length, it depends on the size. Do you have the Fairytale dress pattern? I suspect you have the School Photo pattern as you have made reference to it. But the length of the zipper would be similar. You want it to be long enough to be able to get into the dress but not so long it carries on forever. I suggest to look at the SP dress pattern back or the FT dress pattern back to find out what length the zipper should be.

    Hope this helps.

    Tamara

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    Profile photo of purlknitpurlpurlknitpurl @purlknitpurl

    Thanks, everyone, for your help!! There are lots of steps I wouldn’t have thought of. Thanks!

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    Profile photo of cybele727cybele727 @cybele727

    That would be a good tutorial: changing a back button placket into a zip.

    On another note, can you change the type of buttons? (Not with hair getting caught issue.)

    I know when I have a back button dress, with the exception of the top button, I use thin, flat, less decorative buttons, because sitting on them can be uncomfortable. They might be the simple white shell kind, or colorful, but I keep my choice as to thickness and “bumpiness” to a minimum.

    Jenny

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    Profile photo of Liesl GibsonLiesl Gibson
    Keymaster
    @liesl

    If anyone wants to volunteer to write a tutorial on adding a zipper to this dress I’d be delighted to run it! I’d love to give you a a universal center back zipper tutorial, much like the universal zipper fly tutorial, but the process is going to be a little different for each dress pattern. Lattemama and Justsewit are on the right track, however; it’s really a matter of finding center back so you can eliminate the button extensions. And the School Photo Dress would be a good place to start in terms of the application. I love the idea of adding a full lining to the bodice, which would be very easy to do since you would use the same bodice pattern pieces and eliminate the facings.

    Cybele is also correct that low-profile buttons will be much more comfortable than thick buttons or anything with a shank (ouch!).

    I try to avoid zippers in our patterns as much as possible because they just seem less kid-friendly, and I think they intimidate a lot of people with regard to sewing. But don’t be afraid to make the change! I just wish it was so straightforward that I could give you a single set of instructions you could follow for any of our dresses.

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    Profile photo of Liesl GibsonLiesl Gibson
    Keymaster
    @liesl

    Gah, I should never comment on these forums–I always seem to shut down the conversation when I do so!

    Lotta has kindly offered to take photos of the zipper-adding process on the Library Dress she’s making. Stay tuned and give her a little while to do it, but I’m certain she’ll do a bang-up job on it and will make everything clear.

    Thanks so much, Lotta!

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    Profile photo of MelMel @Mel

    thanks so much Lotta! I’ll be looking for your pictures 🙂 My girls prefer zippers and I have to say I find them less anxiety-producing to sew than a row of buttonholes

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    Profile photo of purlknitpurlpurlknitpurl @purlknitpurl

    I’m very excited to see this — thanks Lotta! I also have to thank Liesl for teaching me how to install invisible zippers via the school photo pattern. I am currently finishing my 4th school photo dress!

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    Profile photo of TamaraTamara @justsewit

    Oh wonderful! I will be looking forward to the photos Lotta.

    Purl good on you! See this is a perfect example of how non intimidating the invisible zipper has become. And just between ourselves, I actually prefer the invisible to the other kind. For me they are easier to put in.

    Liesl, I made the library dress in a 6 month size with a lined bodice for our recent Agricultural show. I will take photos and post them in the flickr pool for everyone but I am not home right now so in a couple of days….

    But I also agree with you over buttons being simpler for little kids to be dressed with.

    Oh so exciting to have photos of the process for everyone to see!

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    Profile photo of SarviSarvi @Sarvi

    Not shutting it down at all, Liesl, I think it’s great to get peep into the designer’s mind, as it were, since you know the patterns best. But we seem to also get many great suggestions from our intrepid community here.

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