OAL2016: Part 2 (Zipper + Finishing)

15 Jun

Hey everyone! Welcome back for the second (and final!) sewing post of the Outfit Along πŸ™‚


At this point, you should have your skirt mostly assembled (all seams except the center back seam) with the waistband partially attached (not finished). Today, we will insert the zipper and finish the waistband in one go! IΒ  am making my skirt with this awesome rayon crepe from StyleMaker Fabrics (don’t forget that there is free US shipping/discounted international shipping on all orders through 6/30/16 when you use the code OAL2016 πŸ˜‰ ), using my Spiegel 60609 sewing machine. If you missed the previous posts, here is Part 1!

For this particular skirt, I am sewing an exposed metal zipper. If you hate exposed zippers, that’s ok! You have options! Check out my tutorial for sewing a lapped zipper, and also my tutorial for sewing an invisible zipper.

For sewing the exposed zipper:

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Start by marking a rectangle where the zipper is to be inserted. For a 9″ exposed zipper on a garment with a 5/8″ seam allowance (if your measurements differ, you will need to adjust these accordingly!), make a rectangle that is 10″ long and 7/8″ across. I use a Chaco Pen liner, but again – anything works! Then go over your markings with a long basting stitch on your machine. Don’t be lazy and skip this step. I know it’s tempting, but trust me on this one. The stitches will make it visible from both sides, and also won’t rub off.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
If your fabric is very lightweight and/or drapey, you will want to interface the area where the zipper is going, just to give it some extra support. I cut strips of lightweight fusible and applied them over my basting lines.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Clip into the bottom corner of the rectangle at a 45 degree angle, being careful not to snip into your basting lines.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Fold along the vertical basting stitches and press.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Starting at the horizontal basting stitches, sew the center back seam at 5/8″, ending at the hem.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Press the seam allowances open.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
On the right side of the skirt, lay the zipper face down with the bottom facing toward the waistband. Line the horizontal basting stitching just below the zipper stop.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Sew along the horizontal basting ONLY, using a zipper foot. PROTIP: I just found this out, but you *can* move the needle of the Spiegel 60609. While the machine is on straight stitch (#1), increase the zigzag width to 7.0 and that will move the needle! So you can get RIGHT UP IN THERE to do that zipper!

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Here is the bottom of my zipper after it is attached. You only need to sew along the basting stitches – not the entire width of the zipper tape.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Flip the zipper to the inside of the skirt and press the line you just sewed.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Now turn back the skirt pieces, one at a time, and sew the zipper tape to the skirt along the vertical basting stitches, starting at the zipper top stop and ending at the bottom stop (don’t sew all the way to the very end of the tape). Again, use a zipper foot and move your needle over to one side if you can.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Here is what things should look like after you’ve attached both sides. Note that the top of the zipper will NOT reach the top of the waistband – it should only go about halfway, since we are folding the waistband to the inside. On the Hollyburn, there is a notch to indicate where the waistband folds – so the zipperΒ  stop should reach that notch.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Now we need to finish the waistband. Fold the seam allowance (5/8″) along the long raw edge to the inside, and press. You may trim this seam allowance down to 1/4″ if it’s bulky.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Fold the remaining bits of the top of the zipper tape toward the inside of the waistband, and pin to keep them out of the way (if you accidentally sewed down this part, you gotta unpick πŸ˜‰ ).

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Now fold the waistband down to meet right below (about 1/8″) the stitching line at the top of the skirt, making sure that the top zipper stop is even with the top of the waistband fold. Make sure the raw edges are tucked in around the zipper and pin everything into place.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Now to topstitch! Starting at the top of the zipper, topstitch 1/8″ from the edge down to the seamline where the skirt meets the waistband, lower your needle and pivot. Then continue around the entire waistband until you reach the other side of the zipper, pivot, and sew back up to the top.

Alternately, you can also topstitch around the entire exposed zipper – but you’ll need to sew down the waistband in a second pass πŸ™‚

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Now pat yourself on the back for sewing an AWESOME EXPOSED ZIPPER WTF.

Finally, just a couple more things to finish your skirt! If you want to add belt loops or the waistband tabs, you can do so now. Then you just need to hem. I ended up taking about 3″ off my skirt length to make it more of a mini, and then finished with a double turned hem (1/4″ on the first turn, 3/4″ on the second) that is simply topstitched. Here are my hemming tutorials if you need a refresher!

That’s all for today! As always, please let me know if you have any questions!! How is your sewing coming along? πŸ™‚


17 Responses to “OAL2016: Part 2 (Zipper + Finishing)”

  1. Birgit June 15, 2016 at 9:20 am #

    This is such a better explanation and way to do this than I read in sewing magazines, so thank you!!

    • LLADYBIRD June 16, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

      Yay! Glad you like it πŸ˜€

  2. Hila June 15, 2016 at 4:42 pm #

    I wasnt planning on an exposed zip but seeing this has me thinking I could do it. I cut out my Hollyburn out and will sew up at weekend.

    • LLADYBIRD June 16, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

      You can totally do it! It’s stupid easy, especially compared to how much more complicated it looks πŸ™‚

      • Hila June 21, 2016 at 6:23 am #

        It is stupid easy and I did it πŸ™‚

  3. esewing June 15, 2016 at 6:19 pm #

    Skirt looks great , the exposed zip is perfect with that fabric – great instructions – thank you

    • LLADYBIRD June 16, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

      You are welcome! And thank YOU! πŸ™‚

  4. Kate @ Fictional Thoughts June 16, 2016 at 4:42 am #

    I’ve never inserted an exposed zip before. I’ve always been slightly intimidated by them. Thanks for the tutorial. I will definitely try an exposed zip using your method in my next skirt!

    • LLADYBIRD June 16, 2016 at 2:01 pm #

      Definitely give it a try, I think you’ll be surprised at how easy they actually are πŸ™‚

  5. Joanne June 18, 2016 at 12:53 am #

    Great tutorial. Exposed zippers make me cringe. I’m also really digging the flat piping!!

    • LLADYBIRD June 20, 2016 at 2:18 pm #

      Cringe because they are super overdone in styles today, or because they look really difficult? πŸ˜‰ It’s ok if you hate them – doesn’t bother me one bit haha πŸ™‚

      • Joanne June 20, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

        Haha. I cringe because they’re difficult. I like the look of them no worries. πŸ˜‰

  6. Sara March 14, 2019 at 3:29 pm #

    Do you have any tips or suggestion on how to hide the serged edges? I have an aversion to exposed edges of any kind! The only thing I can think of is to bind the edges after the zipper is inserted..but wondering if there’s a way to do it without any extra binding during the zipper install itself?

    • LLADYBIRD March 15, 2019 at 1:40 pm #

      Hi! I think your only option would either be to bind the edges after installing the zipper or insert a full lining. Any other way to hide the edges would probably be too bulky.


  1. Wednesday Weekly #41 | Helen's Closet - June 15, 2016

    […] LLadybird is hosting the outfit along, and she did a great tutorial on inserting an exposed zip. […]

  2. OAL2016: My Finished Outfit! | LLADYBIRD - July 29, 2016

    […] about the modifications to make this particular skirt (see: Choosing Your Fabric, Flat Piping, and Installing an Exposed Zipper), so I’ll just brief over the key details […]

  3. OAL2017: Invisible Zipper + Hemming | LLADYBIRD - June 30, 2017

    […] you are sewing a lapped zipper, here is a tutorial for that! Or you can do an exposed zipper! THIS IS YOUR DRESS, U DO […]

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