So! I am home from the longest, most wonderful weekend of fabric shopping EVER, and I feel like I’m sort of in a fabric coma. Kind of like a sugar coma, but better. I will most definitely be sharing highlights of fabric shopping in Los Angeles, but today, I am absolutely thrilled to be participating in Skirt Week!! I’m sure you’ve heard of Skirt Week – it’s the jam-packed, ultra-inspiring, series put on by Susan and Adrianna of Crafterhours – full of tutorials, competitions, and prizes!!
Today, I thought I would share a step-by-step tutorial for making a straight or A-line skirt that is lined with an invisible zipper. I’ve used the pattern that I drafted for the Chevron-inspired skirt I shared during Project Run and Play All-Stars. I am hoping to digitize my pattern pieces for you, but I’ve had some hiccups and I just don’t have that ready yet. However, you can easily draft your own skirt pattern. Basically, you want the waist to measure out to your child’s waist with room for seam allowances, then fan out just slightly over the hips, and end at your desired length for the hem (plus room for hemming). Because the skirt I’m sharing today has a zipper that rises to the top of the waist, you can create a skirt that pretty much just conforms to the curves of the wearer.
Okay, so let’s get started – again, we’re mainly concentrating on how to install an invisible zipper for this lined skirt. I was working from my stash and couldn’t help but use some of this gorgeous lace leftover from the lace dress I made for myself back in January.
I cut a front and back skirt piece from the lace and a heavier cream satin fabric. I basted the lace onto the other fabric pieces to form one “main” front and one “main” back piece of fabric, much like I did in this tutorial over at icandy handmade last year.
I then stitched the front to the back along the left side seam. I also cut out a front and back skirt piece from a separate lining material and joined those at the left side seam.
Next, I cut a piece of fabric for the waistband. It should be approximately 4 1/2 inches wide and the length of the waistline of the skirt (simply lay your skirt piece along the waist piece and cut to the same length). I also backed the waistband with some fusible interfacing to stabilize and add sturdiness. Now press the waistband in half along the length and open it back up. Next, with right sides together, align one raw edge of the waistband with the top raw edge of the main skirt piece. Pin and stitch together to join the skirt to the waistband.
Repeat this step on the other side of the waistband to join the lining to the waistband. When you lay your stitched piece out, you will have the hem of the lining pointing up with the waistband in the middle and then the main skirt piece with hem pointing down – does that make sense – all three pieces are now one. Next, we will begin installing the invisible zipper. Be sure to follow the package instructions on the zipper to press the teeth flat on each side. Place your skirt in front of you, right side up with the waist at the top – you’ll be working on the right-hand side of the skirt (essentially, the back of the skirt). With the zipper fully open, place your invisible zipper right side DOWN along the side of the skirt. Align the top of the zipper with the center seam in your waistband (so halfway up your waistband piece) and pin the zipper to the edge of the skirt.
Use a zipper foot on your sewing machine and baste the zipper in place. You are only going to stitch as far as you can before the zipper pull gets in the way – do not maneuver your zipper up to finish stitching down the length of the zipper – this will be done in the final step.
Okay, so you have your zipper basted onto the main skirt piece along the side – NOW, fold the lining down over the zipper so that the right side of the lining is now together with the right side of the skirt. The hemlines should align and the waistband should be folded (inside out) on that center fold. Also check to make sure that the extra tab part of the zipper (that is above the top of the zipper) is folded into the seam and not in toward the skirt. Pin everything in place. Now stitch along the zipper to join the main skirt to the lining with the zipper sandwiched in between. Again, stop when you get to the zipper pull at the bottom.
Turn the skirt right side out and you should have one side of the invisible zipper done! It should be fully contained within the side seam of the skirt – press the seam and pull the zipper up and down to ensure you haven’t stitched through the zipper teeth anywhere and that everything is working!
Now, we’re going to do the other side of the skirt. Open the zipper all the way up and open the other side of the skirt up – repeat the steps above – align the raw edge of the main skirt piece with the other side of the zipper – be sure the zipper isn’t twisted. Baste the zipper in place, fold down the lining right sides together with the skirt and stitch along the zipper again.
When you turn this other side out, press, and zip up the zipper – the above picture is what your skirt will now look like – joined along the zipper and open at the base and below the zipper. Now, we’re going to finish the side seams of the main skirt and lining separately. Lift the main skirt pieces off of the lining and turn them to join right sides together. Do the same for the lining.
Working on one set at a time from the wrong side of the fabric, stitch the side seam up to the zipper, making sure to join up with your seam from the zipper installation. It gets a little tricky up by the base of the zipper – just go slow and be sure that you’re not catching the lining in the main fabric seam, and vice versa. Repeat with the lining and press everything out really good – you should be all set! Now, just hem the skirt and the lining and you are DONE!!
I should add that this particular fabric combination – the heavy lace, the heavy underlayer, and the really lightweight lining actually did not turn out as well as I would’ve liked. There was too much bulkiness right at the waist/skirt seam which makes it difficult to get the zipper up right there. Also, the lining is so thin and has caught a couple times in the zipper. However, I have not had problems with this type of installation on other projects – I just think it was an unfortunate combination of specific fabrics in this case.
I hope you’ll be tempted to use an invisible zipper for a skirt (or even bodice) closure with this tutorial. It can be intimidating at first, but the end result is SO clean and beautiful, it is really worth giving it a try!
Be sure to check out all of the tutorials and information at Crafterhours, browse and submit your amazing skirts to the pool, and be inspired to sew some skirts this summer!! Have fun!