Skip to Main Content
Enjoy Free Shipping Until Sunday
  1. How-To
  2. Basics
  3. Sewing a Lapped Zipper in a Skirt

Sewing a Lapped Zipper in a Skirt

sewing

A lapped zipper is a great technique for sewing in an all-purpose (not invisible) zipper. The finished zipper has an overlap on the left side of the opening that covers the zipper. On the right side of the opening, the fabric is stitched very close to the zipper teeth.

Sewing a Lapped Zipper in a Skirt

I love lapped zippers. They give a beautiful, classic touch to a garment, and they hold up to sturdy fabrics really well. A lapped zipper is perfect for a skirt side seam zipper, because the lap will cover the zipper teeth. Here’s what you’ll need.

Sewing a Lapped Zipper in a Skirt

Instructions:

Step 1

Sew the seam up to the zipper opening. The opening will usually be marked by a large circle on a pattern.

Sewing a Lapped Zipper in a Skirt

Step 2

Interface the seam allowances on the opening. This reinforces the zipper opening and results in a more attractive zipper, in my opinion. Cut 1” strips of fusible interfacing on-grain and fuse them within the zipper opening seam allowances.

Sewing a Lapped Zipper in a Skirt

Step 3

On the left side of the zipper opening (this is as you’re wearing at it, NOT as you’re looking at it from the outside), turn the seam allowance under ½” and press. This will create a tiny underlap at the base of the opening.

Sewing a Lapped Zipper in a Skirt
Sewing a Lapped Zipper in a Skirt

Step 4

On the right side of the zipper opening, turn the seam allowance under 5/8” and press.

Step 5

On the left side, pin your zipper in place so that the zipper teeth are just next to the fabric’s fold.

Sewing a Lapped Zipper in a Skirt

Step 6

Install a zipper foot on your machine. Stitch the zipper in place, stitching right on the fold of the fabric.

Sewing a Lapped Zipper in a Skirt

Open zipper

You can move the zipper pull out of the way, if needed. Just make sure to always have the needle down if you need to lift the presser foot to do so.

Sewing a Lapped Zipper in a Skirt

Stitch on fold of fabric

Sewing a Lapped Zipper in a Skirt

First row of stitching completed

Step 7

Close the zipper and pin the right side of the opening in place so that its fold just matches the line of stitching you made in step 6. You’re pinning through the fabric and through the zipper tape.

Sewing a Lapped Zipper in a Skirt

Step 8

Now you’re going to stitch the L-shaped topstitching that holds the overlap in place. On your first lapped zipper, you’ll probably want to mark your stitching line first. Using an invisible marker, draw a line 3/8” from the fabric fold, and then make a horizontal line at the base of the zipper opening.

Sewing a Lapped Zipper in a Skirt

Step 9

With the zipper open, stitch along this line. When you get to the bottom, close the zipper and pivot to stitch horizontally across the base of the zipper.

Sewing a Lapped Zipper in a Skirt

Stitch on marking

Sewing a Lapped Zipper in a Skirt

Pivot at base

Sewing a Lapped Zipper in a Skirt

Finished zipper closed

Sewing a Lapped Zipper in a Skirt

Finished zipper open

After you’ve gotten comfortable with the process, you may find that you can use a mark on your machine’s metal throat plate to guide you, rather than using the disappearing ink marker.

If your skirt has a facing, you’ll need to fold it slightly out of the way of the zipper when you stitch it in place.

Sewing a Lapped Zipper in a Skirt

That’s it! I hope you’ll give lapped zippers a try.

Categories