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Simple Shirts with Exposed Zippers (works as cardigan too!!)


Zippers are kind of a quirky thing right now. 


They are not only used for function…..but for style.  Usually zippers are added onto clothing but are not meant to be seen………however, they can be added as a statement.  Or an accessory.  And you have to admit, they kind of add a fun little detail to fashion right now.  We’ve all seen them added to shirts, pants, clutches, jewelry, etc.   So while at the fabric store the other day, I picked up a few to add to some shirts.



And am excited to see how them turned out.  They really gave these shirts some kick. 


And who doesn’t want a little kick now and then.



The zippers are completely functional.  So each of these shirts can be layered over other shirts…….just like a fun new cardigan.

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I know I’m going to have to explain to my mom that I know that zippers are meant to be hidden. 

But even my mom will have to admit that a fun and colorful zipper really adds some cool detail.



Would you like to add some zippers to your shirts?


First of all, you will need separating zippers.  They are the kind that open at the bottom, like a zipper for a coat.  And make sure the zipper is at least as long as the front of the shirt……or longer.  I bought my zippers at Joann’s.  (Also, I bought all the shirts at Old Navy.)


Place the zipper (face up) along the front center of the shirt.  Pin in place.  You could tape the zipper in place like I did here……but it’s not as crucial to get really close to the zipper teeth so I wasn’t as worried about the pins getting in the way.  But you choose your technique.)


Then, with your zipper foot on, start at the bottom of the zipper (and at the bottom of the shirt) and sew on the very outer edge of one side of the zipper and sew all the way to the top of the shirt.  Then sew the other outer edge of the zipper, starting at the bottom of the shirt again, and sew up to the top.  (Make sure and backstitch at both ends.)


Then, unzip the zipper and cut right down the center of the shirt.


Because the zipper is just a bit too long, you’ll need to cut it off.  But first, while the zipper pull is down at the bottom of the shirt and out of the way, you need to sew little stops at the top of the zipper……so that the zipper will stop at the top of the shirt.  You will make stitches on each side of the zipper, right between two of the teeth so that the pull can’t go past it.  To do so, put your sewing machine on the zig-zag stitch and change your stitch length to zero.  This will make a zig-zag stitch without it moving forward at all.  Push on the foot pedal and allow the thread to sew back and forth to create a bump of thread.


See how that looks?


Then cut off the zipper right above the next zipper tooth and then melt the edge of the zipper with a lighter.


Next, turn one side of the zipper over and tuck the raw edge of the fabric under, towards the zipper.  Pin in place.


Then sew from the top, making sure you are sewing through the folded under fabric that’s underneath.  Remove the pins as you sew.


Now zip up the zipper and you’re all set.



Now make another one.  Or two.


A great little shirt with a funky zipper…….or a thin little cardigan.



Ashley Johnston

Administrator at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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