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Sewing Q&A
Terry Siemsen

I'm seeing lots of fitted dresses with side seam zippers. Can you give me any hints on inserting them?
Susan T.,
Durant, IA

Fitted dresses, with either asymmetrical design lines or a clean simple look with no center front or back seam, are perfect candidates for a side seam zipper. They allow the garment to pull on over the head and shoulders, yet fit closely at the waist. Side seam zippers need to extend from just beneath the underarm seam to the hip. A lapped application is best for a regular zipper.

  • Complete all side seam fitting. Stitch the left side seam, leaving an opening for the zipper. Press under a 5/8" seam allowance on the garment front. Press under 1/2" on the garment back seam allowance (Figure 1).

    Figure 1

  • Tack together the two sides of the zipper tape above the stop. Adjust the zipper length at the lower edge. Create a new stop, if necessary, by zigzagging across the zipper teeth. Cut the excess zipper 1" below new stop (Figure 2).

    Figure 2

  • Position the zipper under the back seam allowance with the zipper teeth close to the folded edge and baste in place. Edgestitch close to the zipper teeth (Figure 3).

    Figure 3
    Place zipper under back folded edge; edgestitch.

  • Pin or baste the front seam allowance in place over the zipper, covering the machine stitching on the back. Stitch the zipper in place by machine, or hand pick using tiny backstitches for a more elegant look (Figure 4).

    Figure 4

  • An invisible zipper may also be inserted. Follow these instructions or the instructions on the zipper package.

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Related Video
How to Sew in a Zipper

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