Installing a Lapped Zipper (the easy way).

Lapped zippers used to seem so intimidating to me! For a while I thought it best just to stick with invisible zippers because I thought it was a lot less challenging, and I was always afraid I was going to ruin my garment. The more vintage clothing I made, the more I encountered a side lapped zipper. I decided a while ago that it was time I learned. I have done a lot of reading on various ways to install a lapped zipper, several of which make you dissect your seam allowance and do a bunch of math to figure out the proper placement.  I finally came across a method that was super fast and super easy, to me it is actually a lot easier than any other zipper style. So without further waiting, here is the easiest way EVER to install a lapped zipper.

The project I’m demonstrating on is a little summer dress I made for my niece – Shannon – finished product photos to come.

(Click on photos to enlarge)


Step one: Stitch the back (or side) of your garment with your allotted seam allowance – mine is 5/8 in. . Baste the top portion of the seam where the zipper will go (see photo left), and use a regular stitch the rest of the way down. Iron the seam open.
Step two: Place the zipper face down, centering the zipper on the seam. I like to place a pin on the side of the garment that I want to make the lap. This part is optional, but it helps me remember!


Step three: Now you need to pin the zipper in place! On the side you want lapped, pin through all the layers (zipper, seam allowance, and garment back),  on the opposite side only pin through the zipper and the seam allowance. Now fold the garment back to the side that is getting lapped. Take your piece over to the machine and baste all the way down the length of the zipper.


Step four: With your garment still folded in half, fold back the zipper (so it is facing up). You should now see three sections – a section to the right of the zipper teeth, a middle section, and your original seam.
Pin the zipper in place, now it is time to sew again! You’ll be sewing a regular stitch all the way down the middle section. (I tried not to cover it up all the way with the little arrows, I hope it’s visible in the photos!)
Step five: Once you stitch in the middle portion, fold the zipper to the original face down position. You’ll be able to notice, that the middle of the zipper is now off centered.
Time to sew again…use a regular stitch to sew all the way down the right side of the zipper, when you get to the bottom, keep your needle in the down position, lift the presser foot and turn the garment…continue to sew. This allows you to get that bottom portion. Don’t forget to backstitch!


Step six: Remove the original basting stitches and voila, you’re done!

There you go, an easy to install lapped zipper!

I’ve been working on a couple of different projects, for a while I could never bring myself to finish them. I am working on a 1960’s dress (unfinished), a pencil skirt (barley started) and a dress for my niece – which I finally brought myself to finish. Honestly I think I’m way more excited about her dress than she will be, but we’ll see…

I’ve been trying my hand at pattern drafting-something I’ve been meaning to learn for a while now. Tonight I drew up a simple pencil skirt pattern. I’m excited to try it out with some muslin and see if it fits, or if it is just a complete and total failure (which I really hope it’s not). I snapped a picture of it with my cell phone, before I retired for the evening. I honestly do not know why it uploaded to wordpress sideways, since I edited it when I sent it to my computer. Oh well, it is too late for me to deal with photo-rotating-shenanigans.


-Happy Easter

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