1950s | Vintage Sewing

More help please

February 9, 2012

Hello again. I recently posted about an Anne Adams pattern 4826 looking for fabric advice recently and now I have another question for you all.
This will be my first real vintage pattern as up until now I’ve mainly used vintage-inspired patterns. I am in the process of tracing and altering the pattern and am trying to figure out if I should alter the way it fastens. It has the buttons up the front and then a 10″ zipper on the side at the waist. This seems like a lot of effort to get myself into when wearing it so I was thinking of maybe extending the zipper and not putting real buttonholes down the front? Or it also has a center back seam that I could put a zipper in…
Has anyone tried this with a vintage pattern before? Or possibly another option? I’m just looking for some general advice and opinions. Thanks!

  1. I haven’t actually done it, but I don’t see why you couldn’t? I have, on the other hand, cheated and not done functional buttons all the way down dresses that were supposed to have them: American Weekly 3740 (1940’s) only buttons from the waist up, because that was all I needed to get in and out of it–the lower buttons are just sewn on, with no buttonholes. As long as you can get your head through the neckline, I don’t think it matters that much.

    Dresses with two methods of fastening are a pet peeve of mine, too. I’m in the process of working out how to extend a front button opening below the waist into the skirt on a housedress, so I can avoid a side zipper. (I very much prefer side zippers to back zippers, though. I think few things ruin a vintage look like a big zipper running down the back of a dress. It’s like a big scar.)

      1. Loved the AW dress, so cute! I wold have omitted the tie and done the buttons down too. I love the yellow; I’m always drawn to yellow but I have a hard time wearing it unless its mellow an pale. Maybe I would try a multi colored print on yellow like you did.

  2. Wow! I LOVE this dress! I don’t see any reason why you can’t extend the zipper. If you still want the look of the buttons, just sew them on sans button holes! Who’s gonna know?

  3. I love the pattern you purchased and can’t wait to see the final result! As for your question, I think adding a long side zipper instead of just the waist zipper would work out fine. I haven’t done this with a vintage pattern but have with new ones using an invisible zipper and I liked the final result. I also agree with LittleBlackCar, a side zipper would look nicer than a back zipper. Hopefully that helps a bit!

  4. I would (and have) just put in a center back zip, myself. If there’s already a center back seam, then it’s a no brainer.

  5. I recently made an Anne Adams a few post ago and it too called for a side zip. I omitted it. The top of the dress opened to the wait and that’s really all you need. As long as your shoulders when put above your head are smaller in width than your waist, it should fit. These patterns tend to run a squidge roomy too. Start without the zipper, try it on, then you can always rip the seam to put a zip in. It’s worth trying, zippers do ruin the look IMHO.

  6. Wow, y’all are so helpful! If I put the zipper on the back it would probably be an invisible one so that it wouldn’t ruin the look of the dress. I think I might be leaning towards the longer side zipper. I’ll probably still use an invisible zipper though since I’m petty sure I don’t have a metal one in my stash long enough…

    On a side note, has anyone ever thought of a notions swap? Or know a site that runs one? I have quite a few vintage zippers and a bit of vintage bias tape and ric rac that I know I’ll never use that came in lots that I’d love to trade out for colors I’m more willing to use.

  7. It just depends how much of a stickler you are for authentic fit. I’ve done exactly what you are proposing (extending the zipper) a couple of times, but that does change, ever so slightly, the way the dress will lay. It isn’t that important to me, but if it is to you, stay with the instructions as given.

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