I got a question from a reader yesterday that I thought would be great for you all to chime in and help answer.
I think we’ve all had to fix this problem at one time or another.
Here is her email:
Thank you for your blog!
I am working on my daughter’s bridal gown and will soon begin on the bridesmaid dresses. My question deals with the invisible zippers in the dresses. The bridesmaid dresses are strapless with simple a-line skirts in the back. There are three layers: chiffon, charmeuse, and lining. I have always struggled with getting a completely smooth transition to the seam at the bottom of the zipper, often getting a little bump. Since these navy colored dresses have nothing to help hide an imperfect installation I would appreciate any tips to achieve a flawless look.
Have a great day!
I too struggle with that same problem and I feel I am very qualified as a seamstress to putting in these zippers or any type since I have been sewing for about 50 yrs. and have 400 some patterns to show for my skills. Because the zipper has to be flipped I always have a lump. I have altered many dresses for proms and have noticed even the experts leave some sort of small bump.
I would not include the chiffon in the zipper if possible.
Finish the edges of the chiffon overlay with a narrow hem at the zipper area. You can get the smoothest possible on the charmuse ( stabilize with interfacing!) and the chiffon will lay nicer and cover anything you may be unhappy with.
I use steam to seam to line my zipper up. Then I don’t have the flip problem. I would also follow Leslie on finishing the chiffon and letting it lay over the zipper. Ambitious undertaking. How many bridesmaids?
I will be making seven bridesmaids’ dresses. Quite a few, but I love to sew. The store bought dress I am patterning the dresses after has the chiffon sewn in with a french seam below and it looks absolutely perfect. I’ve tried to analyze how it was sewn but can’t take it apart because one of my daughters currently wears the dress for dancing.
I would go to http://www.craftsy.com and download their free video on installing zippers and invisible zippers. It is a very informative video lesson I think you would enjoy watching. You also can ask the expert questions and she will answer them. Make sure you go to the actual website to find this video.
Yes, there are many videos online on zipper installation, but addressing that bump is still difficult. I have noticed that I usually get a bump if the garment is A-line in style. In other words, the garment has a flare to it and the zipper has to cross over the straight of grain and maybe that’s why it doesn’t lay flat. Just a thought.
Thank you, I will check them out.
I had this problem (40 yrs. in the business, 20 of them bridal)
There’s a great solution posted on you tube under invisible zippers,
the last 4-5 inches of the seam is not sewn until the zipper is put in. Works great!!
I used to always have trouble with that as well. What I did to help eliminate it was to only sew the zipper on the outer fabric, or have both the outer and the inner layers sewn together, but this usually created problems for me later on during fitting, so I don’t do it much anymore.
When attaching the zipper I would get a zipper that was 3 inches or longer then the seam I needed it for (and fix it up nice later, this gave me lots of play room), then I would iron my seams flat so I had a good idea where I needed to attached the seam on the invisible zipper, then attach the one side first. After attaching the one side I would re-iron in and lay out the garment flat and proper (the way I wanted it) so there is no bump. Then I would pin it in place with the zipper zipped together. Pinning with the zipper zipped up was what allowed me to line up the fabric without the bump. The pinning is important at the bottom. The zipper can then be unzipped and pinned normally. The pinning and Ironing at this point usually takes some work and a few tries before I can get it just right, but it was worth the work in the end as I didn’t have that frustrating bump on the back of my garment. Basically the more pre-work I did to make sure it went together nicely, the better my zipper and seam turned out.
Would applying the bottom of the zipper with Wonder Tape then hand stitching it help?
I too used to do LOTS and LOTS of bridal and after 5:00 wear. I definitely agree with not including the chiffon layer in the hidden zipper. Put your zipper in first before you do side seams, or the back seam, then do the zipper leaving just a hint of open seam at the bottom of the zipper. This means if it has a bodice top and bottom your going to have to construct the back pieces, but not the center back seamfrom top to bottom, you will have pcs of fabric then. Besure you have the invisible zipper foot and use it. It really does make the insertion easier Press your zipper out according to the instructions enclosed on the zipper packaging. Your going to have to do some maneuvering to get the sewing stitches down past where the back pieces meet at the waist because of the chiffon. Then after the 2 sides of the zipper are sewn, sew from the bottom to where the zipper ends, leaving just a few stitches unsewn at the bottom. Just a few.
. I think the idea about craftsy is a super idea, and another great site is http://www.professorpincushion.com . You’ll have to look around on the site to find the articles on zippers. all that being said, I HATE PUTTING zippers in and I had a sewing business for many yrs. Good luck!!!
You’ve taken on a huge job 🙂 When is the wedding ?
First, go to the bride store and see how they are installed professionally.
I would install the zipper in the main fabric, hand stitch the lining in place. Let the chiffon float over it.
Here is a find on Google.
I’m not sure if I’m following correctly what is being asked? Are we talking a bump from the stitching going over the zipper or a bump where the zipper itself ends?
Hi there, Theresa! She’s asking about the bump where the zipper ends. Got some advice you’d like to share?
I think I may – I tend to buy a slightly longer zipper than necessary, leaving it a bit past the sewn part, allowing it to hang under the dress eliminating the little flip that it creates if shorter. Picture a tail, hidden inside the dress. Majority of the time this works, but on a few rare occasions it’s just too noticeable that long (for very light/sheer or very figure fitting dresses). But this being probably heavier weight fabric and the lighter weight invisible zipper, this should work. And because it’s the lighter invisible zipper, it shouldn’t be uncomfortable when they sit either.
If it were lighter weight fabric, too fitted, or a regular zipper (not invisible) I’d tack the bottom of the zipper to the lining, so that the lining becomes the extension of the zipper. This option doesn’t completely eliminate the problem, but it certainly makes it look better than before. I do believe some of the RTW dresses I’ve worked on had a variation of this, by having a piece of lining fabric sewn over the zipper end onto the lining, sort of like a pocket or patch on the end.
So hopefully I understood the question. Good luck to her and Congrats on the new SIL! x)