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Wavy, bumpy zipper on bias

kbalinski | Posted in Fitting on

Almost done with dress A of Vogue 8107, but have a slight problem…

The zipper (center back) isn’t laying flat.  It’s bumpy or wavy, and I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the fact that the center front and center back piece are cut on the bias.  I followed the instructions carefully, and realize that the bias has a stretch to it.  How can I fix it so it will lay flat, and how do I prevent this problem in the future?  The fabric is tweed, and I love the style and the fit.

Any help is appreciated,



  1. rsolish | | #1

    i have the same problum with my bias cut skirt.
    any help? it has a side zipper that turned out bumpy and wavy.
    i don't have time to fool around with it so a simple answer would help alot.
    from Netanya

    1. kbalinski | | #2

      After I posted my question, I checked the archives, and found the same question with an answer!  We should've stabilized the seam before sewing the zipper in.  Basically, we need to rip out the zippers and either sew or iron an interfacing or thin fabric that will hold it's shape (unlike bias cut fabric that stretches!).  Then replace the zipper again.

      It makes sense to me, and I wish the instructions with the pattern had recommended that additional step.  Myself, I think I'll be using a strip of fusible interfacing the length of the zipper, and ironing very carefully so I don't stretch the bias again.

      Good Luck (to both of us!!!)


      1. Josefly | | #3

        I would suggest that after you remove the zipper, you hang your fabric pieces, or the garment itself, to allow them to stretch the way they're going to anyway when you wear thefinished garment. Otherwise, when you stabilize the zipper seam allowance, it won't be allowed to stretch while the rest of the fabric will, and after a couple of wears, it might make your fabric appear to sag away from the zipper/seam allowance. Then, after a day or so of hanging, stabilize your seam allowance and install the zipper. Some people actually stretch the fabric while ironing it, before sewing to mimic the stretching gravity later causes and minimize the effect of the seams, which themselves tend to stabilize the stretch somewhat.

        1. kbalinski | | #4

          Now I'm confused... Isn't it the stretch in the fabric that's causing the bumps?  Won't stretching it make the bumps worse or permanent?

          I trust your advice, and will hang the dress up before stabilizing.  Thank you for your help.


          1. Josefly | | #5

            Yes, it IS probably the stretching that occurred when stitching in the zipper on a bias seam; but you want to make sure the rest of the fabric and the seam can stretch the same amount, later, or you will get puckering at the bottom of the zipper when gravity has its full effect. I have had this occur with a ready-to-wear dress. When I mentioned that some people deliberately steam-and-stretch bias fabric before sewing, I should've said I don't do this because I don't trust myself not to over-stretch the fabric. Since your fabric stretched in sewing the seam allowance, it may not need to stretch additionally, but just hanging it will not over-stretch, and you can be sure that you get a more even stretch across the width of your dress or skirt.I am an amateur with some experience. Your question is a good one and you should always use your own reasoning to assess any comments I make. :)

          2. mem | | #8

            You need to steam it back to the original shape BEFOR you put the interfacing on

      2. rsolish | | #6

        thanks to all!!
        now just to find the time to fix it.
        i started working in the mornings so suddenly "all" the spare time i had evaporated!
        i hope to get to it this week.
        good luck to you and tell me how it worked. you'll probably have it done first.
        from Netanya

        1. mem | | #9

          When I say IT I mean the fabric not the zipper  .

          1. kbalinski | | #10

            End result...

            Thanks to all for your advice and assistance.  I ripped out the zipper, steamed the seam, used 1/2" wide fusible web, hand-stitched the seam closed again, and replaced the zipper.  It's much smoother now, not perfectly flat, but much less noticeable.  Had I stabilized the seam initially, I'm sure it would be perfect.  Too bad Vogue doesn't include that recommendation in the instructions.  Live and learn...

            The very end of the zipper still points out.  The stabilizer goes a good inch or inch + 1/2 beyond the zipper end.  Wondering if some hand-stitching would force a shrink in the tweed.


          2. mem | | #11

            I wonder if its the little metal bit at the bottom . You could sew your own zip stip and cut the metal one off but that might MORE disruption to your seam and that might cause damage which will just make things worse rather than better. It is probably a rather bigger problem to you than it would be to anyone else looking at this seam so just relax !!

  2. mem | | #7

    You need to take the zipper out . Steam it to shrink it down to the original size . Put a fuzible interfacing under the seam line and start again.

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