A while ago I posted about cleaning out my closet and donating some dresses. Well, sometimes you just don’t want to get rid of something and instead end up chopping it in half and making something else from the remains. That’s what I did with one of the dresses hanging in my closet. I decided to make it into a skirt. In fact, I have another dress that I’ve decided to do this to as well. This one ended up giving me an unexpected problem so I thought it’d be better to focus on this little bastard than the other. Plus, I haven’t finished the other dress…

anatomy-of-a-zipper
Crazy useful picture from TheSewingLoft.com for understanding zippers and this post.

The Easy Part

img_20160807_145738986The first thing I did was remove the bodice from the skirt piece. I’ve done this a few times so it wasn’t anything new or difficult.

I also knew I would have to cut down the zipper to fit the new length. I folded the zipper over to see where I wanted it and marked it. Then I removed from of the teeth so I could have a place to put the stoppers (the metal things at the top of a zipper). I also decided I wanted to save the original stoppers. I tried and failed and went to the store to buy some new ones. With the zipper stoppers attached it only took an hour or two.

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All the teeth.
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Pretty little zipper ready to be sewed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was feeling very confident about this quick transformation and wanted a picture of the finished product so on the dress form it went! When I was pulling the zipper up I quickly found out the stoppers weren’t the right size and didn’t stop the zipper (actually called the slide) from flying off the track. No biggie, I thought. I’ll just put the slide back on the track and replace the stoppers with something smaller. I. Thought. Wrong.

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I took the picture anyway because fuck it.

Trial and a Error

The goddamn slide would not go back on.

I tried to manually feed the teeth into the slide. Didn’t work.

I tried to gently pry open the sides to manually place it on the track. That didn’t work. In fact, I wasn’t very gentle and actually broke the slide.

I tried to use my industrial craft glue to repair the slide. Didn’t take.

Fuck it, I thought. I’ll just buy another slide. I went online and ordered a nice selection of slides.

After awaiting a couple days for the slides I sat back down to find one that fit. Which none did. They were the goddamn Goldilocks of slides. They were either too small or too big but none where the right size.

When that didn’t work I knew what had to be done. I didn’t want to do it but I had no choice. I ordered a new zipper.

Out With the Old, In With the New

Now, the concept behind installing a zipper isn’t that difficult. It’s the execution that’s the trying part. I tried to find a zipper that was metal like the current one but I couldn’t find one small enough. Did you know that zippers come in a variety of sizes for different articles of clothing? I didn’t. I do now. Lucky me.

I eventually settled on some zippers that were the right size but were plastic but couldn’t decide on a color so I bought a lot. Then I waited for them to arrive. Once they were here I got into the mindset of what needed to be done and got to it.

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All the zippers in all the colors!

 

The End Result

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Not perfect but it works!

I removed the old zipper (R.I.P) and baste stitched (that’s a temporary stitch) in the new zipper. Then I sewed it with my sewing machine, cut the zipper down (probably should have done that sewing but whatever), added stops (I bought new ones), and sewed under the stops just in case. Boom! Done.

I haven’t taken sewing lessons so I mostly wing anything I do with the occasion guidance from Google. I get an idea in my head and I figure out how to get there. It may not be the right way or perfect looking, but it gets the job done. I don’t think the skirt looks bad. It’s not perfect but if anyone says something then they’re a shithead for looking that closely at my ass.

TL;DR

I turned a dress into a skirt, broke it, then fixed it the only way I could. I hate zippers.

 

dresstoskirt
Boom! Refashioned!
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