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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Move a Side Seam Zipper in a Dress

This dress was a little big across the top edge and chest area, but not in the waist. The front had no seams to take in, so the only option I had was to take in the sides a little. The problem? The zipper is a side seam zipper. I took in one side the standard way. I took in the other side by moving each half of the zipper slightly inward, without removing the zipper entirely. The bottom half of the zipper stayed where it was and I coaxed the top half slightly off-line in order to tighten the sideseam. The alteration was not even noticeable.

fraying bra strap

To begin with, I took the zipper stitching out, but only about halfway from the top edge down. The dress has a facing at the top, hiding the raw edges and the ends of the zipper tape. I had to remove a few of the topstitched stitches in order to free that edge.

fraying bra strap

I then realigned the zipper and pinned it into place. As you can see here, the zipper is moved in about ½". Then it gets tapered back into the original stitch line. I had to stitch the zipper into place using the invisible zipper techniques I explain in step 6 in the Invisible Zipper Tutorial

Sew new strap to front

I then folded the facing back down, right sides together and serged the excess seam allowance off. (The black you see here is the ribbon for hanging)

fraying bra strap

This shows where I need to replace the topstitching. The picture is deceptive. The ends really do meet evenly at the top of the zipper!

Sometimes, messing with the zipper sounds like a scary thing to do. It may be hard to get it to look right. In this case, though it was quite easy and took very little time.


  1. That was awesome. This technique helped me alter a beaded prom dress with a side zipper. My biggest challange was not losing all the beading. Thank you for your tip.

  2. Thank you musicalswan. Did you take pictures? I'd love to see the results. Thanks for viewing.