Lately we have been experimenting with our existing patterns, ironing out any quirks and bumps and generally making things better. One thing that came to our attention is the method for sewing the exposed zipper in our “Relaxed Shift Dress” pattern, as it stands, it’s a little on the fiddly side and one thing that sewing should never be is fiddly! Sewing needs to just flow from one step to another without too much fuss and bother. So here is a much easier tutorial for setting in the exposed zipper without the fuss and fiddle.
See below images for written instructions.
- Stabilise: Fuse a 2.5cm / 1” wide strip of suitable weight fusing to each side of the zipper opening (apply to the wrong side of the fabric). Fusing should be slightly shorter that the length of the zipper (including top and bottom tapes).
- Marking: If your pattern doesn’t already have the end of the zipper marked or notched, notch or mark the end of the zip.
- Staystitching: The opening of the zipper should be wide enough to expose just the zipper teeth plus a little extra for room around the teeth to prevent any fabric from getting caught. Staystitch each side of the zipper opening 6mm plus the seam allowance (1cm for our patterns) from the raw edge, pivoting 90º at the end of zipper mark/notch. Repeat for both sides.
- Sew the Seam: With rights sides together, sew the seam (1cm seam allowance for our patterns) from the base of the zipper mark/notch, to the end.
- Clipping: Clip into the seam allowances on a diagonal to the zipper base, just to, but not through the staystitching. You may find it easier to cut each seam allowance separately.
- Pressing: Press seams open and neaten each edge. Fold and press over the allowance of the zip opening on the staystitching line.
- Stitch the lower edge: Working from the right side of the garment, fold back the top of the work to the start of the centre back seam to expose the ‘triangles’ of the clipped seam allowance, align the metal base of the zipper with the centre seam, (zipper should be facing downwards and right sides together) and position it just past the stay stitching. Pin.
- With a zipper foot attached to your machine. Stitch across zipper tape and triangles, back tacking at either end.
- Stitch the zipper sides: Flip zipper up right way round, tucking the zipper tape and triangles to the inside, Align the pressed and folded edge along the zipper tape and pin.
- Pinning: Turn back one side of the dress back to expose the seam allowance and zipper tape, re-pin seam allowance to zipper tape only and remove pins from the front. Repeat for other side.
- Sew Sides: Starting from the base of the zip, stitch along the staystitching line. Repeat for other side of zipper. Press with a pressing cloth.