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Tips & Techniques > Add a Zipper Underlay to Skirts

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Posted by: monijo

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Posted on: 6/6/10 1:07 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 1 people   Very Helpful by 6 people   

Some sewing techniques should not be allowed to die. One of them is the zipper underlay for skirts. The advantages of an underlay are:
it prevents the zipper from snagging undergarments;
it provides a shield of skirt fabric if your zipper breaks open in public or you fail to zip all the way up;
it improves the fit of the skirt;
it gives support to the underlap of the waistband.

The underlay can be either a single or double layer of the skirt fabric. To sew an underlay, follow the directions given below.

1. Adjust the waistband to accommodate the width of the underlay.
2. Insert the zipper.
3. Cut either a single or double lengthwise strip of skirt fabric that is slightly longer than the length of the zipper.
4. Cut a single strip 2 1/2-inches wide.
5. Cut a double strip 5-inches wide.
6. If using a double strip, fold the strip in half lengthwise. Press flat.
7. Edge stitch along the fold.
8. Clean finish the long cut edge and one short edge. Press flat.
9. With the skirt wrong side up, place the underlay over the width of the zipper tape so that the tape is completely covered. The folded edge should be to your right.
10. Re-position the cut side of the overlay so that it is runs evenly alongside the left seam allowance of the zipper opening. Pin or baste in place.
11. Stitch the cut side of the overlay to the left seam allowance. Be careful not to catch the skirt in the stitching.
12. Tack the lower edge of the underlay to the left seam allowance.
13. The skirt is now ready for the waistband. Place additional closures where needed.

Source: The Singer Sewing Book; Jessie Hutton and Gladys Cunningham; page 181; The Singer Company; Ny, Ny.; 1972.

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Patti B said... (6/7/10 9:34 AM) Reply
You're right -- this technique shouldn't die. Thanks for the details.
elsew said... (6/7/10 8:24 AM) Reply
Thanks for a reminder of a great zipper installation. I used to do this all the time in my earlier sewing days and just got lazy....this is such a simple yet effective way to maintain the line of the garment in the zipper area. I used to do this when putting in a side zipper in a dress (which was common place back in 'those' days!)
Fran G said... (6/7/10 6:58 AM) Reply
Sounds like a really "neat" couture touch. Thanks for suggesting it and for the very detailed instructions!
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