The Jade pattern offers instructions on how to insert an exposed zipper at the center back. It describes our preferred way to do this, but there’ll be a post about alternatives in the next couple of weeks. If you use a different method, keep in mind that you’re looking for a way to insert a zip without a center back seam.
In this tutorial we’ll be following Step 8A-F and Step 9 of the Jade instructions. I’m showing this on scrap pieces and not the whole skirt, but the process is the same. Here we go!
- a standard zipper, 5,5″ (14 cm) long
- a zipper foot
- basting thread + needle
- your Jade skirt, with Step 1-7 completed
At this point you’ll have your waistband attached to the back and back lining and cut into the interfaced rectangle that you sewed. The lining is pinned out of the way so you have room to insert the zipper.
Step 8A: Baste the zipper in place
Open up your waistband, the seams opened up. The waistband and back piece seam allowances should be folded towards the waistband. Lay the zipper upside down on the left side of the rectangle, on right side of the skirt. Baste in place. Check if you haven’t accidentally caught the lining.
Step 8B: Sew right side
Sew the right side of the zipper. The best way to do this is to start at the top with the zipper opened up. When you get close to the zipper pull, stop with the needle down. Pull up your presser foot and close the zipper. Most machines have two heights: halfway when you pull the lever up, and even higher when you push the lever further up. This can help when closing the zipper with the needle down.
Then finish stitching, ending right at the bottom of the zipper teeth.
Step 8C: Turn under
Turn the zipper to the right, and tuck the bottom between the shell and the lining. Flip the left side of the skirt to the right, so the lining is facing up and the back of the zipper is facing you.
Step 8D: Baste and sew left side
Flip the left side of the skirt onto the right, so the lining is facing up and the back of the zipper is facing you. Align the unsewn side of the zipper with the edge of the cut rectangle of the back piece, right sides together. Baste and sew as in previous step. Be careful not to catch the lining.
Step 8E: Sew bottom
With the right side of the back shell facing up, flip the bottom towards the top so you can see the bottom ends of the zipper. Pull the triangle down and sew it to the zipper ends. Try to catch the triangle along its broadest side.
Step 8F: Handsew the lining
Unpin the lining and tuck it in, folding it alongside the zipper teeth. Pin it to the zipper and handsew in place.
Step 9: Finishing up
Fold the waistband lining down and fold the seam allowances in place. Halfway step 9, your zipper and waistband should look like this. I’ve handstitched the waistband in this case, but you can also use the stitch in the ditch method.
If all went well you’ll have an exposed zipper, but without any seams showing on the outside! If you have any questions let me know in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.