How is your holiday sewing coming along? Are you making dresses for your little ones? I shared Addison’s Christmas dress a couple weeks ago and I’ll be sharing the other girls’ dresses on Friday, along with a coupon code for an AWESOME sale on the 5&10 Designs Volume 1 eBook. ALSO….we’re providing a FREE sleeve pattern that can be added to most of the dresses in the pattern book. Pretty exciting stuff! Be sure you stop in Friday! Here’s a sneaky peek of one of my dresses….
Today, I want to show you how to install an invisible zipper on a lined dress. Sometimes I prefer the look of an invisible zipper over button closures, particularly on fancier dresses. An invisible zipper on a lined garment is not so complicated to install and I’ll walk you through it step by step. The zipper will be the final step when you are sewing your dress. If you are using the 5&10 basic bodice block pattern, you will add only a ½″ to the pattern piece at the center back for a seam allowance – you do not need any extra for “overlap” where you’d otherwise be sewing buttons – make sense? When completing the dress assembly steps, be sure you do not sew any seams into the open sides/the center of the back bodice pieces. The lining and the main fabric should be separate, connecting only along the neck seam. You will also want to attach your main skirt to the main bodice and your skirt lining to the bodice lining. The back will be open from the neck all the way down to the hem.
Now, for the zipper. Remove the zipper from the packaging and set it out along the back of the dress to help visualize the orientation of the zipper relative to the dress. Unzip the zipper and press it with your iron along the teeth to flatten it out. This step is really important to make sure you can stitch close to the teeth, but not through them – don’t skip the ironing of the zipper!!!
Now, take your zipper and turn it upside down. Separate the main dress from the lining. Place the raw edge of the left-hand side (the right-side now that the zipper is face down) along the raw edge of the left back bodice piece.
Pin in place, lining up the zipper stop with the neck seam where the main bodice piece meets the lining. There is a small tab of zipper above the plastic stop piece – that can flap above the stitch line for now – you can fold it away from the zipper edge and trim it down. Be sure to pin the zipper to the main bodice only, NOT TO THE LINING.
Using a zipper foot on your sewing machine, baste the zipper to the bodice, continuing down at least an inch or two below the waist seam. You may need to remove the garment from your machine, pull up the zipper tab past your stitching, and then continue sewing the rest of the zipper on.
Now that the zipper is basted in place, fold the lining down over the zipper – the right side of the lining will be touching the zipper and the right side of the bodice. Use the zipper foot and stitch the lining down to encase the zipper between the bodice and the lining.
Stitch as close as you can to the zipper teeth without stitching through them. I like to move my needle over just slightly to get as close as possible.
Turn the bodice right side out and check the zipper to make sure it zips up completely and is facing the right direction. Remember when you laid the loose zipper on the back of the dress – is the correct side of the zipper attached where it should be? Best to remove stitches and fix it at this point than wait until you’ve sewn in the whole thing.
Now, we’re going to repeat the process with the other side of the zipper. Separate the right side of the bodice from the lining and place the other side of the zipper right side down onto the bodice. Be sure the zipper is rotated correctly and not twisted. Check the close-up picture below – does yours look the same?
Now, repeat the same process of basting the zipper into place, turning down the lining, and stitching the back bodice, zipper, and lining together.
Check your zipper – doesn’t it look awesome?? Now to finish the dress, you’ll need to sew up the back seams of the skirt and the skirt lining. Do these separately and stitch right up until you meet the stitching for the zipper installation. This process gets a little crowded, but just go slow and when you’re done, everything will be contained and look nice and neat.