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zipper dilemma

kafree2fly | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi all,

I’m making a dress with satin detailing–1″ wide armhole, neckline and hem edging, with the neckline edging extending down the center front and back (so that there’s effectively a 2″ wide satin inset down the center front and center back, with the respective seams down the middle). Part of me thinks that this begs for an invisible zipper down the back so that the line is absolutely smooth; but part of me also is thinking about just inserting a hand-picked zipper, since I think I’m nominally better at controlling that. Anyone have any recommendations one way or the other? And has anyone combined the two techniques, i.e. inserted an invisible by hand?

I should have enough satin that I can attempt all of the above on the muslin and see which looks best; but I figured I’d throw this one out there to all of you to see if anyone has any suggestions.



  1. starzoe | | #1

    Could you get into and out of the dress without a zipper?

  2. damascusannie | | #2

    Is this a style that would lend itself to a side zipper? That way you wouldn't have to worry about that lovely smooth line down the back.

  3. moira | | #3

    I've had a lot of success with concealed zippers and find they can be inserted very successfully. I suspect your dress would lend itself to one of these sewn in by machine. I haven't ever done it by hand but I guess that would defeat the purpose. If I were you I'd practise a bit, making sure the top of the zipper teeth sit in the optimum place for where the V joins. You've got the extra bits so you'd want to re-create a copy of the back and try it out.
    Is the dress lined, or what happens on the inside of those back edges?

    1. kafree2fly | | #4

      Wow--thank you all for your quick replies! I'll see if I can address all three thus far...sadly, I can't get into and out of the dress without a zipper. ;) I hadn't thought about a side zip, though; and that might end up being a decent option--though it might also be a bit thorny, for the same reasons that I'm not sewing something that could easily be worn without a zipper: I'm a swimmer, and so I have to shape things pretty substantially through the waist and hips. This dress is shaped mostly by darts, though, so I might be able to put the zipper in the side. Meanwhile, Moria, you hit it on the nail about the combination of handsewing a concealed zipper possibly defeating the purpose! And, taking all three comments into account, perhaps a concealed side zip will be suitable. The dress will be lined, so I'll be able to cover my tracks (so to speak) in that regard! Since I'm modifying a pattern in the first place, I'm doing a lot of practice runs anyway...--K

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