My favourite dress closure is a hand picked, lapped zipper. But I couldn’t find a method for a lined dress that didn’t look a total mess. So I figured out a way to get a perfect finish every time! This method is not the most straight forward, and can seem counter intuitive, but it gives such a neat finish it’s well worth the extra effort.
This tutorial is based on a centre back zip using standard 5/8″ seam allowances and only covers how to create a neat lining. You will need to know how to install a lapped zipper. These steps need to be completed before installing the zip.
- On the right side edge of your bodice, place the zip right side down with the teeth facing in. Ensure the zip stopper is below your 5/8″ seam allowance. Baste the top few inches of the zip only.
2. Pin the lining to the outer fabric, right sides together (RST).
Fold the edge of the lining in 5/8″. There should be a small gap (1/8″) between the zip and lining.
3. Fold the zip over the lining and pin. Your lining should extend past the zip 1/8″.
4. Sew the lining to the bodice along the neck edge using a 5/8″ seam. If your bodice is not yet constructed, sew the first few inches only.
5. Turn the bodice right side out and give yourself a pat on the back!
6. As you did for the other side of the bodice, place your zip on your outer fabric with the teeth facing in. Be extra careful at this point. Some parts might seem twisted, but make sure everything will line up properly once the zip is finished. Also check that any horizontal seam lines will match up (like waist or midriff seams). Baste the top few inches of the zip in place.
7. Place the lining onto the bodice, right sides together. Fold the edge of lining in by 3/4″. (I used a larger allowance here as I wanted to line up the chevrons).
8. Fold the zip over the lining by 5/8″. The lining should extend past the zip by 1/8″. (The lining extends further in this picture).
9. Sew the lining and bodice together using a 5/8″ seam. If you haven’t already, sew the remainder of the lining to the bodice around the neck edge.
10. Turn right side out making sure your corner is nice and square. You may need to poke the corner out.
11. Using your preferred method, sew the zip to your dress. I like to hand-stitch mine as I can make the stitches almost invisible.
12. On the inside hand sew the lining onto the zip. All done!