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Forum > Pattern Modifications, Design Changes & Pattern Drafting > Changing a back zip to a side zip

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Changing a back zip to a side zip
Good tutorial?
DonnaH
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DonnaH
Intermediate
Texas USA
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Date: 1/18/13 5:03 PM

Are there are any particularly good reasons why you would or wouldn't do it?

Easier to reach (for most of us), and being able to leave out a back seam (and the pattern matching of the fabric) are the ones I've heard, but are there other reasons?

When you do change a back zip to a side zip, do you sew above it (and below the arnscye) or just sew it in as if it was a back zip? Any reason why one way is better? (I have RTW that does both.) Sleeves seem to mean sew in above the zip, lol, but not all sleeveless means "open" zipper.

I'm thinking about doing this w/ either the Coffee Date Dress or the Burda Sonja or Danielle. But first I need to practice my invisible zipper skilz. I've only tried once and it was a hot mess.

Any good tutorials on converting to a side zipper? Maybe it's just too obvious? I'll take any on inserting invisible zippers, too, but if I can't get it from the Colette Sewing Handbook, I'm not sure anything else can help me, lol.

andye
andye  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/18/13 5:20 PM

One of the Threads issues has an article on this: May 2011 No 154

"Masterclass: Move a back zipper to the side."

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Bernina B330
Feet: 1,2,3,3A,4,5,7,8,10,13,16,18,20, 29,32,35,37,50,64,70,71,82,85,86, 92

Amy-may
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Amy-may
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Date: 1/18/13 9:55 PM

Any time I can get my head through the neckline, I move the zipper to the side.
There is nothing to it, just insert an invisible zipper into the side seam. Practice with invisbles, they are very easy and forgiving - and who really gets a good look at your armpit and side seam? Unlike the center back, which gives many folks with nothing better to look at plenty of time to evaluate your zipper skills.

sings2high
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sings2high  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/18/13 10:30 PM

Generally speaking, a side zipper is closed on both ends and it ends a few inches below the armseye. First, it's very easy to unzip accidentally if it opens fully at the top. Secondly, on a hot day, that zipper head could get extremely irritating. And your underarm area gets lots of rubbing, so if you ever had nickel dermatitis, you'll have it again after 3 hours rubbing the zipper hardware into your skin.

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Measure twice, cut once. While this saying is useful in many ways, I have no qualms about editing my posts.

UFOs completed in 2014: 1 - woohoo! finished my oldest UFO - an apron cut out in the mid-80s with a pattern from the mid-40s! and the bias binding promptly disintegrated in the wash! Ok, it was from my Great-Grandmother's stash, which means it was bought anytime from the 1910's to 1970's.
Projects started recently completed in 2014: 4
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tigergirl
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tigergirl  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/19/13 0:41 AM

Like Amy-may, I often change the zips to be side zips. I don't use invisible zips but it's just a case of putting it in at the side seam rather than the back.
I've done both sewn above the side zip and not. I've never noticed any irritation to my underarm or accidental unzipping but it's less fiddly to finish off the top of the zipper if there is some closed seam there.
Basically, it all depends on my mood.

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Brother BM-2600
Janome 693
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petro
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petro  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/19/13 5:29 AM

I frequently move zips from the centre back to the side. For me, a back zip doesn't feel especially comfortable, you lean back in your chair and get cold steel . I usually put the side zip either side of the waistline and have it eight to ten inches long, depending on how fitted the garment is. Sometimes I have run it right up to the armscye on sleeveless dresses, so that is just like the classic centre back zip.
I either use invisibles (easiest) or if I can't get one at the time I use an ordinary zip and insert it with a small flap covering it. This is less easy because the shaping at the waist means that the part of the seam allowance which has to be turned back and stitched through is shorter than the line its stitched to.

SandiMacD
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SandiMacD  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/19/13 12:21 PM

I prefer front closures. Back is way too hard to reach and an exposed zipper pull at top irritates my neck. Same or side. Just have sensitive skin. Anything that has a zipper where the teeth or pull have any chance of touching skin gets worn over the top of a blouse or other item.

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sewing brings joy and meaning to my life...

Nancy K
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Nancy K
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In reply to DonnaH <<
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Date: 1/19/13 10:13 PM

If you are putting a zipper in the side of a dress especially if it's a fitted dress, you need to make sure that the zipper is at least 7" below the waist or you won't be able to get it on. It needs to go up to about an inch or two of the sleeve seam. If this is a sleeveless dress you can have it open all the way to the underarm.
If you are putting one in a shell it can open from the bottom up.

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nicegirl
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nicegirl
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Date: 1/20/13 5:57 PM

I do this frequently, as well.

My cautions:
1. Make sure the neckline is wide enough to pull over your head.

2. I don't do this in a dress with a full-ish skirt. The zipper acts like boning on one side, and can cause the two sides to sit differently, even in a heavier fabric. In a fitted dress, the difference is generally not noticeable.

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http://theslapdashsewist.blogspot.com
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2007: purchased 115+, sewed 105+
So close to parity, yet so far

Trying again in 2008
Yards purchased: 133
Yards sewn: Somewhere around 95

2009? I give up

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