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Tips for Sewing a Pickstitched Lapped Zipper in a Faced Edge

In the "Essential Techniques" department of Threads #185 (June/July 2016), Susan Khlaje shows you how to install a pickstitched lapped zipper.

In Threads #185 (June/July 2016), contributing editor Susan Khalje shared her methods for how to install a pickstitched lapped zipper in different garment scenarios. We promised to share her tips for working with a facing and this zipper application on a garment. Here we go.

As the associated story mentions, be sure to give yourself generous seam allowances, about 1 inch wide, and hand-baste along the vertical seamlines. You’ll work with the underlap, then the overlap, side of the zipper.

zippersMore on zippers:
• How to Sew an Invisible Zipper in a Knit Garment
• Video: Install a Folded Nylon-Coil Zipper
• 9 Zipper Installation Techniques

Attach the facing

1. You’ll sew in the facing first, then the zipper. On the underlap side, stitch the facing as far as the vertical seamline of the garment, then backtack. This enables you to fold the fashion fabric properly, just beyond the vertical seamline, as you create the underlap. Be sure the fold continues past the base of the zipper opening.

2. On the overlap side, stop stitching the facing in place 3/4 inch before the vertical seamline. Fold the garment’s seam allowance down along the seamline, then fold the fabric vertically right along the seamline.

Zipper beneath the lap

Sew the zipper to the underlap

Sew the zipper to the underlap

1. Fold under the very top of the zipper tape. Align the underlap fold along the right-hand side of the zipper coil, and pick-stitch the zipper tape in place by hand, or sew it in by machine.

2. Once the zipper has been stitched into place along the extended vertical seamline, fold the vertical edge of the facing so that it covers the zipper tape, and fell-stitch it in place. If your garment has a lining, adjust its vertical seamlines after you complete the overlap zipper side, so that the zipper tape is covered. The sample sewn has a facing with a bound finished edge.

Stitch the zipper to the overlap

Stitch the zipper to the overlap

1. As you did on the underlap, fold under the top of the zipper tape. You might need a few stitches to hold it in place.

2. Pick-stitch the overlap to the zipper tape by hand. Your stitches should be about 1/2 inch apart, and about 5/8 inch from the fold. Once the zipper has been installed, you can fold the vertical edge of the facing to cover the zipper tape, and fell-stitch it in place. As with the underlap, if your garment is lined, adjust the lining to cover the zipper tape.

3. The final step: a small hook and eye (or a tiny snap) can be sewn to the overlap to keep it in place. This step is not always necessary, however. Sometimes, the fabric folds nice and flat.

Small hook and eye sewn in to the overlap

Will you try any of the methods shared?

Photos: Mike Yamin


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  1. User avater
    conorwilliams | | #1

    Thanks for sharing

  2. user-447546 | | #2

    This is how I learned to install a couture zipper. I usually use inivisible zippers and machine install them.

    I had forgotton how professional a pickstitched zipper looks. I will certainly use this method again. Thank you Susan for the great lesson.

  3. User avater
    MaudGantt | | #3

    Thanks for sharing your tutorial with steps...

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