Sewing

Moving an Invisible Zip

Sew… yes two Orlas in a month. I promise I will make something different soon! The lovely Harriet of Sew Me Sunshine gave me this amazing cactus fabric from her stash and after my first super successful cactus print Orla I made last year I knew I had to make a 2018 version!

2017 version of the cactus Orla.

To save pattern matching across the back pieces, lazy I know but it also saves lots of fabric not having to pattern match, I’ve started moving the centre back zip to the side. I couldn’t find any tutorials online about how to do this so just made it up as I went along and luckily it worked!

2018 cactus fabric.

I’ve never done a tutorial before so bear with me and I’ll try and explain what I did!

First up the back bodice and back skirt pattern pieces. If the seam allowance is already included you will need to remove this from centre back seam. I just mark on the seam allowance and fold it over. I don’t bother cutting it off as you can then reuse the pattern pieces with and without a centre back seam/zip. Mark all the new markings on the paper pattern pieces in a different coloured pen so it’s easy to see which markings are for each version of the pattern. The fabric pieces then need to be cut on the fold.

Sew any darts, the shoulder seams and facings as normal. Decide which side you would like the invisible zip. I obviously don’t have a preference as on some dresses it’s on the right and some the left! Sew up the side seam on the side that’s not going to have the zip. Finish the seam edges on the side that will have the zip and fold and press the seam allowance.

The zip I used for this dress is 22cm. You need to make sure it’s long enough to go across the waist seam so that when you are putting on the dress there is enough room from the zip opening for you boobs to fit past the waist seam.

I like to centre the zip across the waist seam. So half of the zip measurement is 11cm and then add the seam allowance, mine is 1cm, and mark this point from the waist seam up. Sew from the armhole seam to this point.

I then add the sleeves at this point.

Sew the skirt as per the instructions apart from the side seam where the zip is going and just finish these edges, fold and iron the seam allowance. Attach the skirt to the bodice.

Now for the zip. This is where I may waffle and not make sense but I’ll try my hardest to explain clearly.

With the zip closed and the dress right side out place the zip into position with the slider right up against the sewn section of the side seam.

Pin one side of the zip tape to the seam allowance as you would normally for an invisible zip and sew. I do this with the zip open. Make sure you only sew through the seam allowance and not the main body of fabric.

Close the zip and line up the both sides of the waist seam, again as you would normally for an invisible zip.

Pin and sew the other side of the zip to the seam allowance.

Finish the rest of the skirt seam in the same was as if the zip was in the centre back seam. Hem the skirt and you’re finished!

And that’s it! Basically it’s the same as a normal invisible zip in the centre back seam but without an opening at the top. Just remember to remove your seam allowance and make sure the slider is close to the sewn section of the side seam so you don’t end up with a hole at the top of the zip.

So close to matching up the waist seam.

I’m definitely not saying this is the right way to do it but I’ve used this technique a few times now and it works for me.

Pattern matching not required!

Have you moved the zipper in a dress or top?

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