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Zipper in bias-cut skirt

danakay | Posted in General Discussion on

I’m making a long bias-cut skirt from charmeuse and chiffon.  I’ve been worrying about the center back zipper for a week now.  Came to the sewing room tonight determined to at least baste it in, then decided that asking for advice on the job would allow me to put it off a while longer.

Both the fabrics are somewhat unstable on their own, together they are a challenge.  This is for a wedding dress so the center back is very important.  My concern is that the weight of the fabric won’t be enough to cause the end of the zipper to lay where it should and that there will be a tail wagging down the isle.  I bought an invisible zipper, then decided that maybe I would be better off with a light weight regular zipper.  Can’t find one in town.  Any suggestions, pitfalls to avoid or other advice?



  1. mygaley | | #1

    Dear Danakay, I would strongly suggest you interface the zipper opening with a piece of organza or even a layer of charmeuse; you probably will want to baste this by hand to the seam line.  If you decide to use the traditional zipper, Threads has had an article about hand-picking(sewing) zippers for a coutierier touch.  When you have bias and otherwise tricky fabric, it actually saves time sewing by hand.  One illustration that struck my fancy had the tiniest seed beads on the stitches on the outside; this makes a double row of little beads(pearlsl?) one  each side of the zipper.  God bless you as you sew--Galey.

  2. Julie B | | #2

    I second the advice to stabilize the seam. I think you could also carefully fuse a strip of lightweight interfacing to the charmeuse layer (but I would test on a scrap first). If you decide to handpick the zipper (which is a great couture touch and not very hard) here's a little trick I learned from my mentor. Use "tiger tape" (a tape used by quilters which is marked off in 1/4" increments) to keep your stitches an equal distance apart. First remove some of the stickiness of the tape by sticking it to some other fabric and removing several times. Then position along the seam where you will be hand stitching. The width of the tape will keep your stitches even in a vertical manner; the little "ticks" on the tape will keep your stitches an equal distance apart.

    You can make your own tiger tape easily. Use cloth surgical tape (available at any drug store, Johnson & Johnson makes a version). Stick a piece along a ruler and use a Sharpie fine point to make a tiny dot every 1/4" (or at whatever distance you plan to stitch). Make sure the ink dries well and don't forget to remove some of the stickiness of this tape, too, before you apply to your garment.

    Julie B
    No Va

    1. danakay | | #3

      Thank you Julie and Galey.  I'm about to start and plan to use both your suggestions.


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