How to Switch from Zipper to Button Closure
Blogger: Jayme Hogg
How to Switch from Zipper to Button Closure
When looking at new patterns, I’ve been guilty of shying away from the
ones that have zipper closures. It’s not that I don’t like sewing them, I’m just
more comfortable with buttons! When comfortable with specific methods,
we tend to complete those projects a little faster, which is a huge part of the
attraction. I’ve had a couple of projects in mind lately, and decided it would
be a fun opportunity to show how to change a garment with a zipper closure to a button closure!
An overview of the changes to each:
Easton was a very simple hack with minimal changes. With a zipper that is
located in the back of a garment, we only need to extend the back bodice center to allow the 3/4" (2 cm) overlap for the bodice. I added 3/8” (1 cm) to the center portion of the back bodice pattern piece, which allowed the 3/4” (2
cm) overlap because the pattern piece will be cut as a mirror image set. No
extra seam allowance is necessary because the original pattern pieces
already include a back center seam allowance for sewing the zipper closure. With the zipper being changed to a button closure, a skirt placket was also added.
Sydney has a side zipper, which means the zipper is placed in the already
existing 1/2" (1.3 cm) side seam allowance. Because we will be making Sydney to overlap in the back center, we need to add 7/8” (2.25 cm) to the back center bodice and cut two mirror image sets (1 set main, 1 set lining) instead of cutting the pieces on the fold. Here’s the breakdown for the 7/8" (2.25 cm): 1/2" (1.3 cm) seam allowance for the back center of each piece, and 3/8” (2 cm) to create the 3/4" (2 cm) overlap for the button closure. A skirt placket was also added.
- Extend the back bodice bottom piece 3/8” (1 cm) at the center and cut 2
mirror image sets (1 set main, 1 set lining)
- Cut a placket: 2.5” X 7” (6.5 cm X 18 cm) (1 main)
- Cut 2 dress skirts on the fold. Do NOT cut 2 back skirt pieces.
1. Follow all tutorial instructions until page 37. When sewing across the top
of the back bodice piece, sew the center portion as well. The sides and
bottom should remain unsewn.
2. Clip the corners and trim with pinking shear, if available. Turn right
sides out. Press.
3. Attach the back bodice piece according to the tutorial instructions.
4. Add buttonhole approximately 1/2" (1.3 cm) down on wearer’s left side of
the back, bottom piece.
5. Skip page 44 in the tutorial.
6. Construct the skirt according to the tutorial, but skip any directions that focus on preparing the zipper closure because the back skirt should be one full
7. Add placket to the back center of the skirt. For instructions on how to add
a placket: How to Sew a Placket – Little Lizard King.
8. Gather the skirt the same width as the bottom of the bodice, making sure
to keep the placket ungathered. With right sides together, align the front center of the skirt with the front center of the bodice. Align the side seams of the bodice and skirt. The placket pieces should be aligned with the center of the back, bottom bodice pieces. Sew to attach with a 1/2" (1.3 cm) seam allowance. Finish the waist seam.
9. Overlap the back, bottom bodice pieces 3/4" (2 cm) to mark placement
for the button on the opposite side. Sew the button in place. Done!
- Extend the back bodice pattern piece by 7/8” (2.25 cm) at the center back. Cut 2 mirror image sets (1 set main, 1 set lining)
- Cut one skirt placket: 2.5” X 7” (6.5 cm X 18 cm) (1 main)
1. Follow all tutorial instructions until page 41. When working on the simple
skirt/underlay skirt, sew both sides of skirt pieces together, not just the
wearer’s right side. Finish the seams. We don’t need to prepare the zipper
closure, so skip page 42 and 43.
2. Continue with skirt instructions. If choosing to make the scalloped
overlay option like I did, sew both sides together when reaching page 47,
just as before with the simple skirt/underlay skirt. Both sides should be
sewn and have the seams finished. There shouldn’t be any partial open
3. Skip page 49 and any instructions that focus on preparing the zipper
closure. Follow the directions to finish the skirt. Once the overlay is
topstitched and the front center is basted, place the overlay skirt over the
underlay skirt, lining up the side seams. The wrong side of the overlay skirt
will be touching the right side of the underlay skirt. Baste the skirts together
with a 1/4” (0.6 cm) seam allowance around the top circumference.
4. Add the skirt placket to the back center of the skirt. For directions on how to add a placket: How to Sew a Placket – Little Lizard King.
5. Sew gathering stitches between the gathering notches on the front and
the placket on the back. Set the skirt aside.
6. Follow the instructions on constructing the bodice, remembering that the
back piece is now two separate pieces instead of one. Skip the part of page
57 where we are instructed to finish the wearer’s left side of the main and
7. Follow tutorial instructions on drawing the seam allowance for the
scalloped part of the bodice. Pause on page 61.
8. Sew down the center back of both pieces when sewing the front and
neckline. If creating a sleeveless bodice, sew the arm curves as well. Clip
the curves and trim the seam allowance, using pinking shears, if available.
9. Turn the bodice right sides out and press. Top stitch the front, neckline,
and back at this time. Do not top stitch the arm curves yet.
10. Follow instructions on how to sew the sides, but be sure to skip all the
extra steps for the zipper closure on the wearer’s left side. Both sides
should be sewn simply like the wearer’s right side in the tutorial.
11. At this point, buttonholes need to be sewn on the wearer’s left, back
bodice piece. The bodice front has not been basted together yet. Mark button placement on opposite back piece and sew on buttons.
12. Follow the tutorial instructions starting on page 73 that explain how to
align and baste the front bodice pieces together. The front bodice buttons
do not need to be functionable because the back has a button closure.
Therefore, I sewed the buttons in place and skipped the buttonholes.
13. Gather the skirt/skirts the same width as the bottom of the bodice,
making sure to keep the placket ungathered. With right sides together, align the front center of the skirt with the front center of the bodice. Align the side seams of the bodice and skirt. The skirt placket pieces should be aligned with the center of the back bottom bodice pieces. Sew to attach with a 1/2" (1.3 cm) seam allowance. Finish the waist seam.
14. Overlap the back, bottom bodice pieces 3/4" (2 cm) to mark the placement
for buttons on the opposite side. Sew the buttons in place. Done!