How to Sew an Exposed Zipper

Greetings my lovelies. Today I am detailing my easy method of insertion for an exposed zipper. This is an easy method for showcasing a lovely metal zipper for a statement in a seam – especially the Centre Back of a Dress.

The only thing I would say is that you have to be very accurate when setting up the seam turning for the zipper opening – and making sure the bottom “facing” of the zipper is fully flipped to the inside of the body.

If you mark accurately and sew accurately you will find the below steps very easy to implement.

The Madison Colour Blocked Dress is the perfect example of where to use the exposed zipper method. It creates such a statement for a wonderful design.

And a BIG SHOUT OUT to our Synthia G – the image above is her gorgeous colour blocked Madison and her equally stunning exposed zipper in her CB seam.

If you have missed my 4 previous posts in celebration of the Madison Colour Blocked Dress release be sure to check out the following posts.

If you missed the previous 3 posts be sure to read:
1. Fitting for Bust Projection and Princess Panels
2. Fitting for Lower Bust Point and Princess Panels
3. Madison Colour Blocked Dress Pattern Tester Roundup Part 1

4. Madison Colour Blocked Dress Pattern Tester Roundup Part 2


Step 1.

Using your zipper teeth as the width setup measure and mark either side of the zipper teeth the finished opening for the turned edge of your body seam. The above image shows that I marked 6mm (1/4″) either side of the zipper teeth.

The above image shows a closer view of my spacing for finished zipper window.

Step 2.

Draw a chalk guideline parallel to the cut edge of your garment the width of the pattern seam allowance PLUS the width calculated in Step 1. Here is it 1.5cms (5/8″) for the seam allowance PLUS 6mm (1/4″) for the zipper window opening – total is 2.1 cms (3/4″).

The length of this chalk guideline is the length of the zipper teeth including the bottom stopper – plus 3mm (1/8″) allowance – plus whatever seam allowance that has been calculated for the top edge of the body. (see above image)

The above image shows a closer view of Step 2. It shows the extra seam fold to be taken for the zipper window and then the regular seam allowance for the body seam.

Both sides of the pattern piece should be marked.

Step 3.

Cut out 2 squares of poly organza (or similar) approx 5cms x 5cms (2″ x2″). Place the squares over the seam transition corners at base of zipper window opening marked in the previous steps. Pin in place to hold.

Step 4.

Stitch the corners of the zipper window seam junction. The organza will act as a facing reinforcement for the corners and give extra strength when pressed and turned back. It will also stop any fabric that is likely to fray or split on itself.

Step 5.

Snip into the corners of the seam junction. Be careful to not snip beyond your stitch line but also ensure you snip right into the corners otherwise you will get corner puckers when turning the organza facing to the inside of the body.

Step 6.

Turn the entire seam over through the length of the zipper window turning.

Flip and fold over the organza facing at the bottom of the window. Ensure your corner clip in the previous step allows the corners to sit flat and square. Press well.

The above image shows the wrong side of the body completed in Step 6.

Step 7.

With right sides together pin the body seam allowance below the zipper window opening. Here it is 1.5 cms (5/8″).

Flip up the organza facing and stitch entire seam length as a continual seam.

The image above show the completed seam as detailed in Step 7.

Step 8.

Position bottom of zipper so it is centred to the seam line of the body.

Flip the body back on itself and stitch end of zipper just below the teeth to the organza facings.


Step 9.

Fold the seam back at the pressed edge of the zipper window and pin the pressed edge/seam well to the zipper.

The pressed edge of the body will be 6mm (1/4″) from the edge of the zipper teeth as calculated in Step 1.

Step 10.

Sew down one side of the body edge in the well of the pressed seam.

Step 11.

Complete the other side of the zipper window opening as detailed in Step 10.


And VOILA !!!…you have a lovely featured exposed zipper sitting in your seam.

And the details of Madison Colour Blocked Dress are :

The Madison Colour Blocked Dress is for a sewing level of Confident Advanced Beginner and Above.

On Sale for a limited time only – $8.95 (US)
(AU/UK) 6 – 28
(US) 2 – 24
(EU) 34 – 56
Cup Sizes – B, C, D, DD

Madison Dress Sewing Pattern (PDF)

Lots of love to you.
Cheerio xx
Ann at Designer Stitch.




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