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Installing a Decorative Zipper

There are lots of fun decorative zippers out there these days and a student of mine recently inquired about installing one in a fitted skirt.

In this skirt, the zipper starts part-way down a curved seam in the front of the skirt. The zipper is meant to be visible, so the seam has to transition from being closed to revealing the zipper placket.

The stiff silk satin I chose for the example is a bit challenging, but I figured if I could get a decent result with that, then an installation with a more forgiving fabric and a matching decorative zipper would work just fine.

Here’s the partially sewn seam, along with a decorative zipper I found in my stash.

I basted a line to indicate the top of the opening, and I basted the eventual stitching lines of the zipper as well.

I pinned a piece of silk organza to the top of the opening, on the right side, to serve as a facing.

I sewed the facing into place. I stitched it twice, avoiding the seam allowance of the underlying fabric (I’ll be able to do a better job of slashing the opening that way).

Here, one side has been stitched.

And, here the other side has been stitched.

Now I can slash into the corners.

Once I’ve cut through the organza and the fashion fabric, I can pull the facing to the inside.

Before sewing the long vertical seams of the zipper, I need to sew across the top of it.

Here is the inside.

And more of the inside.

And here is the outside.

Now I can sew the vertical seams, with a zipper foot, from the inside.

I’m stitching right along my basted line.

This is what the inside looks like,…

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  1. Swiech | | #1

    I used the crystal zipper in a boiled wool jacket I made and found the crystals were hard to zip beccause of the weight of the wool. Your description of work was clear.

  2. User avater
    rakinboye | | #2

    this is very clear and i intend to try it asap.

    i am presently trying to make a gown with a horizontally ruched front and i create my own patterns.

    Do i ruche the fabric first before placing it on a pattern or do i ruche the fabric after i have made the pattern and factored in extra length into the pattern?

    will be grateful for a response

  3. ltgdmh | | #3

    in answer to "rakinboye" I personally would ruche the fabric before as you may want ro alter the amount of ruching afterward (depending on the fabric) and either waste fabric or not have alowed enough. Loved the jipper very clear and looked quite easy!

  4. PatMoore | | #4

    Trying this NOW!!! So happy I found this... thanks!

  5. User avater
    BarbaraHewitt | | #5

    Thank you! Very helpful.

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