The Infamous Lapped Zipper

There are many ways one can set a zipper into a garment, but my personal favorite is the lapped zipper.  It provides a clean, fancy finish that hides the zipper completely!


Before beginning to set your zipper, make sure you a good amount of seam allowance on the seam where the zipper is going (I suggest at least 1.5″).  Where the zipper will be ending i.e. skirt portion of a dress, past the waist seam), make sure it is seamed together securely with a back-stitch from where the zipper will be stopping.

  1. Using the longest stitch on your machine, Baste the Center Back (CB) seams (or wherever you closure may be) together and press open.
  2. With the top of the garment closest to you and the rest laying away, extend the LEFT seam allowance out from the rest of the garment.  DO NOT extend anything except the seam allowance.

  3. Take your zipper and lay it next to the CB Seam.  The coils of the seam should sit right up next to the seam but NOT on the seam.  Pin in place and baste the zipper to the seam allowance with a zipper foot.  The stitch should be around 1/4″ away from the coils.
  4. Turn zipper face up.  Carefully create a fold with the fabric between the coil and CB seam next to the zipper and pin in place.
  5. Stitch (size 3) the fold to the zipper.  Stitch on the edge of the fold close to the coils.
  6. Lay zipper flat over the garment, now sitting over the RIGHT side of the seam allowance.  Turn garment right-side-out and mark where the coil of the zipper is with pins, holding the zipper/seam allowance in place and giving you a line to sew next to.
  7. Stitch (size 3) on the right-side of the fabric along the pins, careful not to stitch too close to the coils (about 3/8″ or 1/2″ from CB Seam).
  8. Now the fun part!  With a seam ripper or tiny pair of snips, cut the basting stitch of the CB seam that you stitched in Step 1.  Be careful not to cut the fabric and stop when you get to the bottom of the zipper basting without cutting any of the skirt seam.
  9. IMG_2330
  10. Ta-Da!  A zipper magically appears!  Here is what it should look like from the outside and inside:
  11. IMG_2331IMG_2332

For the vlog about lapped zippers, click here.

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