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Relocate Pants Zipper

almost | Posted in General Discussion on

I have a pants pattern with a zipper inserted in the center back. I’d rather insert the zipper in the side seam. Can I just move the zipper to the side of the pants pattern?  I know that I have to adjust the waist to open on the side, but what other adjustments do I need to make?  

Thank you!



  1. User avater
    Becky-book | | #1

    You may want to use a slightly larger seam allowance at the side where you insert the zipper. And be very careful stitching it in because the side seam is curved and center back may not be curved.

  2. Josefly | | #2

    Becky-book's answer is right. You may want to add fusible interfacing to the side-seam allowances where you insert the zipper, for a smoother application on that curved seam. There's info in the archives of this forum for that, and maybe in a Threads article or "Tips and Tricks," if you want to search for it.Does your pattern call for pockets in the side seams, or slant-seam pockets in the front? If so, you can insert a hidden zipper in the interior pocket seam.

  3. Ralphetta | | #3

    If you aren't making a muslin, you might want to baste both side seams together to be certain you don't need to make any minor adjustments in that area. Once you get the zipper in it becomes a big pain to "tweak" because you have to remove it. When I was first making pants i always preferred back zippers because I needed to make lots of adjustments through the hips. (I had no hips...it was all in the rear.)

  4. sewelegant | | #4

    When I was young I remember putting the zipper in the side seam almost as a given.  Back seams were common too.  Women never had a front seam zipper... too mannish.  How things do change!  Anyway, the side zipper was always a lapped seam application with the lap going from front to back so one wouldn't notice the closing.  It did have to work around the hip curve and I imagine that was one of the big reasons people readily accepted the easier back and front seam applications.  Lap seams are sometimes easier to do than middle seam applications; at least I think so.  I would go to a sewing techniques book to refresh myself on how to do this and it would just call for adding a little more fabric to the seam area where the zipper will go in.  It's not hard.

    1. Crazy K | | #5

      I'm sticking my  nose in here.........you wrote that side zipper are always a lapped insertion.  I have 2 pair of rtw capris with invisible zippers sewn into the side seam and also I believe 2 pair of rtw slacks with the same.........very neat and slimming.  These are all different brands so it isn't just a 'one brand thing'........I have to say I like them.  Inserting them may take a bit of fussing due to the curve but if inserted correctly, they should be fine.  It's something I will definitely try if and when I make a pair of dressy slacks.


      1. User avater
        purduemom | | #6

        I would agree with agree with Crazy K regarding the invisible zipper in the side and the resulting neat, slimming line.  I make all of my pants and capris and every pair either has a front fly zipper or an invisible side zipper.  Issue #119 has an article on inserting invisible zips and recommends centering a narrow piece of fusible interfacing along the seam line.  Using this technique always results in a smooth zipper insertion. I have never encountered any problems due to the hip curve.  I do widen the seam allowance on the zipper side of the pants and put in the zipper before stitching any of the side seam.  This gives a very nice transition from zipper to seam line. 


      2. sewelegant | | #7

        You are right.  I was referring to the time before invisible zippers were invented.  They are a good solution for todays sewing.   

        1. Crazy K | | #8

          Oops..........yes, way back when there weren't any invisible zippers.  All my skirts and the few slacks had side lapped zippers.  The only thing I had with a front zippers were my Lee Riders..........and I only had them because I lived on a farm and worked in the fields and also did a lot of horseback riding.  Jeans weren't something allowed in school....ever.  I graduated from HS in the mid 60's........

          Thanks for setting the record straight.  I guess I knew what I meant but I surely wasn't very clear.


          1. almost | | #9

            THANK YOU for all the great input!  I now feel confident to make the move to the side! I love the idea of inserting an invisible zipper or in the pocket seam....great ideas!

            I could be wrong, but to me a back zipper in pants screams "home made"!  So problem solved.


          2. stitchagain | | #10

            invisible zippers at the back really can be quite invisible

            I have put a few side and one back zipper in pants and skirts.  It seems like this is a great solution in terms of ease (easYness) and look.

            I have not tried this technique yet but here is a tuturial I found:


            She's right (as are a few of the other postings here) that you may have to reinforce if putting a zipper in the side seam.  One skirt I made the curve of the side seam stretched ever so slightly creating ripples.


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