Zip Tricks – Surface Mounted Zip

front of dressGone are the days when a zip was simply inserted with teeth covered into a centre back seam. A fashion favourite nowadays is to lay bare the teeth or even mount the zip onto the top and use the zip fastening as a design feature. With the introduction of pretty zips and decorative teeth, it makes sense to show them off. I’ve used the Surface Mounted zip insertion method on my zebra dress


Butterick 4386

Dress details
The dress I had chosen is a simple shift dress with front and back darts for shaping through the torso. It is Butterick 4386, available in sizes 8-22. I decided to reshape the neckline as I prefer not to wear high round neck garments (I don’t feel they suit a fuller bust, so prefer to lower it or add a V-neckline). And as the fabric is so dramatic, decided to add a surface mounted zip to further enhance the design.
close up of zip

Surface Mounted Zip

The ideas of a surface mounted zip is that it is totally on display so it’s great when using a zip with decorative teeth and pretty edges like this zip with lace edge tape.

  1. Neaten the raw edges of the seam allowance into which the zip is to be inserted and then fuse strips of interfacing, 2.5cm wide to the wrong side of the fabric in the zip placement area.
  1. Still working on the wrong side of the fabric, draw and then machine baste the zip placement lines 2cm either side of the neatened edges and the length to just below the zip stop..
  1. Fold the dress sections, right sides together and stitch the remainder of the seam from bottom of basting stitches to hem, taking a regular 15mm seam allowance.
  1. At the bottom end of the basting, snip diagonally into the seam allowance down to the corners, taking care you don’t snip the basting. Press the triangle at the base down to the wrong side.
  2. Turn the seam allowance for the zip opening to the RIGHT side along the machine basting. Press.
  3. Working on the right side of the fabric, place the zip, right side down hanging down towards the hem and with the zip stop just below the horizontal basting. Stitch across the bottom of the zip tape across the teeth section only, just below the zip stop.
  1. Bring the zip up and over the exposed seam allowances so that the teeth back of dressare over the gap between the two fabric pieces, pin and baste in place. Note that some seam allowance may extend beyond the zip tape on either side. Attach a zip foot and machine stitch the zip tape to the seam allowance close to the teeth.
  1. Unpick the basting, and then carefully trim back the seam allowance only from under the zip tape, Take care you don’t cut the garment fabric underneath nor the zip tape.
  1. Still with the zip foot attached, stitch down both long edges of the zip tape again, effectively encasing the raw edge of the zip opening under the zip tape. NB: If working with a lacy edged zip tape like the one I used, zip just inside of the scallop edging.

Author: Wendy

I love sewing and being Brand Ambassador for The McCall Pattern Company is a dream job for me. I've sewn all my life, edited sewing magazines, written 17 sewing books and written and starred in 10 DVDs - all on sewing! My aim is to promote sewing using the fabulous pattern ranges from Vogue, Butterick, Kwik Sew and of course McCalls - to show that is a fun and relaxing hobby which can result in stunning results.

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