Valerie Dress Invisible Zipper Hack for Nursing Access!
Hey friends! Sonia here today to show you how I put an invisible zipper in the side of my Valerie dress for accessibility! This hack can be used for any kind of accessibility, though for my purposes it is for breast-feeding access. It’s pretty simple, and even if you’re newer to invisible zippers like I am, this is a really fun hack!
As always with sewing zippers, the process is much easier if using a stable fabric. I’m using a bottom-weight athletic poly spandex knit from www.thefabricfairy.com which provides a nice shape to this dress and holds the zippers up well, keeping them perfectly invisible!
OK let’s get started :-) The first step is to use stabilizer along the side seams of your Valerie dress, on both the front and back. Stabilizer is applied to the WRONG SIDE of your fabric so you won’t see it. This is super important, as we don’t want our knit fabric to stretch or distort when we add a zipper. I use a knit interfacing, which is lighter weight and has a little bit of give, as opposed to woven interfacing. Do this to both sides of the front and back, in four places total.
Next, take your invisible zipper and, using wonder tape, temporarily adhere it to the RIGHT SIDE of the fabric. Invisible zippers then flip under to face up, so it’s important that your zipper is applied to the right side of your fabric. Wonder tape is of course optional, but I always use it (especially when sewing with knits) so that nothin shifts while sewing.
Then go ahead and use your sewing scissors to create a small snips towards the bottom of your zipper. You’ll see that my zipper doesn’t have a stop because it was longer than I needed, but the way that this is sewn in, you don’t need one. So go ahead and snip on both the front and back, so you have a visible stopping mark to stop sewing your zipper.
Now we sew in the invisible zipper. A couple tricks to get the best results are to first iron your invisible zipper open, pushing the teeth away from the zipper tape. This helps you sew very close to the zipper teeth. Also if you have an invisible zipper foot, this process is easier, but you can use a standard zipper foot as well. Stop at your snip mark and back stitch. Repeat on the opposing piece. Now both sides of your zipper are sewn! Go ahead and repeat on the other side of your dress, if applying zippers to both sides.
Once both sides of your zipper are sewn in, close your zipper and place the front and back right sides together. Match the snip marks/where are your stitching stops, and pull your zipper away from the dress. Clip/pin as necessary. Starting as close as possible to the end of your stitching, sew the rest of your side seam. Repeat this process for the other side of your dress!
Next, since we sewed our side seams first, you will sew your sleeve seam; we will be attaching the sleeves in the round. Hem the sleeve FIRST before sewing the under-arm seam. Also go ahead and sew your shoulder seam at this point. (Not pictured.)
To attach the sleeve in the round, I found it a lot easier to baste the top of the zipper together. I stitched both horizontally, and then zigzag the very top of the zipper together, to make sure it was stable and wouldn’t separate when attaching the sleeve.
Clip your sleeve in using lots of clips. Optionally, you can use pins over the zipper. I used a stretch stitch on my sewing machine to sew on the sleeves, since we will be sewing over our zipper and I didn’t want to do that on my serger. Using a sewing machine also allows you to trim the ends of the zipper once everything is sewn, to reduce bulk.
Lastly, you will complete the rest of your dress as instructed, by adding the neck band and hemming the bottom, and giving a good press. And that’s it, you’re all done!
I hope you enjoy this hack!