Lapped zippers – the best zipper insertion for dresses

Lapped zippers are the most popular of all zipper applications - it comes with a small flap over the zipper teeth concealing the opening

Lapped zipper Application 

Lapped zippers are the most popular of all zipper applications on garments. I think the reason is that in a lapped zipper you have a small (false) covering over the zip – so “no exposed zipper teeth”; the zipper opening is concealed very well from all and sundry – the best type of zipper application for most clothes if you do not want to show off your openings.

This lapped effect is an effect created by a creative sewing technique – the lapped zipper sewing technique.

Lapped zipper application is the most favored zipper attachment for side seam openings and for back of the dress openings and even for skirt openings.

How to sew a lapped zipper – 2 best ways

Sewing Lapped zipper without a seam opening

Sewing lapped zippers

Take your bodice and mark the area you want to attach the zipper – measure this length

lapped zipper sewing

Cut out a piece of facing piece measuring 3 inch width and length equaling the zipper opening length plus 2 inches.

lapped zipper opening

Mark the center line on the facing piece – equaling the zipper length.Mark 1/4 inch to either side of this line , tapering to meet the center line at the bottom edge – see the picture below.

sew lapped zipper

Keep the facing piece on the right side up bodice. Pin or baste stitch in place.Sew over the stitching line you have marked – the center line is the cutting line – your sewing line should not touch this cutting line at all.At the bottom edge make a single stitch across- this is to make the cutting to the tip easy and thus enable smooth turning out.

how to sew lapped zipper opening

Cut through the cutting line.

how to sew lapped zippers

Turn the facing to the back side.Pin in place or baste stitch in place.

lapped zipper diy tutorial

Keep the zipper on the back of the garment on the left side and top stitch in place.Use zipper foot as you sew this

lapped zipper sewing instructions

Now bring the other edge over the zipper opening and pin in place.Then stitch along the edge a little to the inside, catching the zipper edge and the garment. This edge will be placed over the zipper opening – giving that lapped effect.

sewing a lapped zipper

Finish the neckline with bias tape.

tutorial for sewing lapped zippers


How to sew a lapped zipper – the easy way for back of dresses with a seam opening.

sew lapped zipper

You can sew a lapped zipper on a plain seam very easily. You need the two fabric pattern pieces and the zipper.

Step 1

As a first step to sewing a lapped zipper there sew a center seam.

sewing a lapped zipper

You have to sew baste stitching for the length for the zipper opening and continue sewing regularly for the rest of the seam. 

Step 2

Next Press the seam open.

lapped zipper

Step 3.

lapped zipper sewing tutorial for dresses

Arrange and Bring one seam allowance of the central seam  on one side and the rest of the garment on the other side.

Step 4

sew lapped zippers for dresses

Open the zip . Now keep the zip on the central seam, wrong side up, aligning the zipper teeth directly on top  of the seam. Pin in place. Baste stitch along the seam allowance, where you have pinned.

Step 5

Flip the fabric so that the zipper front is facing you to one side of the cloth. Now there is a fold near the zipper teeth. Top stitch along the edge of this fold – you will have to use a zipper foot to sew close to the edge.

Step 6

Turn the whole thing right with the fabric pieces to both side of the zipper. Close the zipper. 

Sew some 1/4 inch from the center seam on the other side of the zipper (which is not sewn) catching the zipper seam allowance also. Make a horizontal stitch at the bottom. 

You will be Stitching up the side of the placket through three thicknesses — the zipper allowance, the seam allowance, and the garment. You can sew this from the wrong side of the garment or front of the garment.

sewing lapped zipper
Remove the machine-basting on the center seam and the zipper edge hand basting stitches.
how to sew a zipper

Related Posts : How to sew zippers – the different methods ; Best way to sew Invisible zippersZipper Repair – 10 problems and answers ; Different types of zippers.

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

1 thought on “Lapped zippers – the best zipper insertion for dresses”

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this! I’ve been practicing your way of inserting lapped zipper and it’s one that gives best results for me. It’s so easy to follow and zipper looks neat at the end. I’m about to try it with lining. Do you have any tips on that?

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