How to Replace a Zipper with Buttons
I'm fortunate enough to have a huge collection of vintage buttons passed down to me from women in my family who sew. And while I'm usually a big fan of a simple zipper, buttons are a great choice to add a beautiful design detail to your next project.
This tutorial will teach you how to replace a zipper in a woven dress pattern and replace it with some buttons. If you've been scared to give a zipper a try (you shouldn't, they're easy!) this is a great pattern modification to make.
For this dress, I used the FREE Orla Dress Pattern by French Navy. However, any fitted bodice pattern you love will work for this tutorial.
Let's get started!
How to Replace a Back Zipper with Buttons
Remove your seam allowances from the neckline, shoulder, and center back seams. On the Orla Dress, this is 1cm. Determine your button size. For this dress, I chose 1". Remove an additional rectangle from your center back seam that is half this width.
For the dress above, I removed the 1 cm seam allowance from the center back seam and then an additional 1/2".
Trace your pattern piece (now without seam allowances around the neck, shoulders or center back) on a new piece of paper. Swedish tracing paper, parchment paper, or brown craft paper will do the trick. Make sure there is plenty of space remaining on the paper to create your new pattern piece.
Extend a line out from the top of the center-back that is double the width of your buttons plus 1/4". For my dress, I extended this line out 2 1/4" to accommodate my 1" buttons. Mirror this line on the bottom. This is your new pattern width. Draw a line parallel to your center back line that connect both widths. This is your new center back line. This extension will become our button placket.
Add seam allowances back to the neckline and shoulder seams.
Repeat steps 1-3 on the skirt.
Now here's how you sew it up!
Sew your facing, lining, or bias tape to your neckline. You will not need to finish the raw edge on the center back seam, this will be enclosed in the placket.
With wrong sides facing up, fold the center back seam down 1/4". Press into place. You might find it helpful to baste a seam line 1/4" from the edge to guide you.
Fold the center back seam to be equal to the size of your button. In the example above, this was 1". You should now have a folded placket piece that's perfectly enclosed at the sides.
Stitch your placket into place at the top, bottom and sides.
Add your button holes and buttons - the hack is complete!
Want to find the other tutorials involve with hacking this dress?