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Lillian with Zipper

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

Learning new techniques keeps us coming back to our sewing machines. This project will help you overcome a fear of sewing with zippers. We use the Children’s Corner Lillian and replace the buttons in the back with a zipper as your girl matures.

Lillian was revised in March 2021. In this update, there is a wider range of sizes in one pacakge. The back features a wrap-around facing giving a more finished look. Note which version of the pattern you are using. If it is the 2021 copywrite, you will not use the lining pattern to make Lillian with a zipper.


Children’s Corner Lillian Invisible zipper: 9" - 14" Zipper Foot (preferably an invisible zipper foot) Fabric Marking Pen Tissue Paper

Cutting Instructions

1. Trace the dress back of Lillian on tissue paper. Mark center back line. NOTE: if using the 2021 printing of the Lillian pattern the fold line on the facing will be the cutting line.

2. Remove 1/4” from back edge, and draw a new back cutting line.

3. Use this new pattern piece to cut dress back and lining. Add 1” length to both the front and back for hem allowance. In this version, we will hem the lining and dress separately and will not have side vents.


1. Stitch shoulder seams of dress.

2. Stitch shoulder seams of dress lining.

3. Place dress lining on top of dress matching right sides together and stitch dress to lining at neckline, stopping 1 1/2” on either side of the center back line.

4. Stitch armholes. Trim and clip seams.

5. Turn dress to right side and press well at neck and armholes.

6. Zipper teeth will curl toward the back of the zipper. Uncurl the teeth and press with a medium-hot iron, to make it easier to stitch close to the teeth.

7. Place the open zipper on the center back line with the garment fabric right side up and the zipper face down. The top of the zipper teeth should be 1/8” below the seam line of the neckline. Mark dress at top of teeth with fabric marking pen. Repeat with other back.

TIP: There are several ways to secure the zipper to the fabric. You can pin the zipper in place with pins. Place them parallel to the zipper teeth. You may also went to try using small drops of water soluble fabric glue. The third option is to use a product called “Wonder Tape". This is a 1/4” double-sided water soluble tape that will hold the zipper in place. 8. With the edge of the zipper aligned with the edge of the fabric and starting at the neck, place the zipper teeth in the left side of the two grooves on the zipper foot. If you are using a regular zipper foot, place the zipper teeth to the left of the foot and move the needle position so that the needle is just to the right of the teeth.

9. Stitch as far down the zipper as you can. Your foot will keep you from being able to stitch to the very end. Be sure to backstitch. Close the zipper first to make sure that the stitches are not too close to the teeth.

10. Place unzipped zipper to the garment fabric with right side together. Secure this side of the zipper the same as before. 11. Starting at the neck, place zipper in right groove of the zipper foot or to the right side of your regular zipper foot and move your needle position so that it is close to the teeth. Stitch as before and backstitch. Again, zip the zipper to be sure that these stitches are not too close! 12. Pull the bottom end of the zipper away from the dress as shown and using a regular zipper foot and moving your needle position to the right, start stitching where you left off and finish stitching the back seam of the dress. Press seam open using 1/2” seam allowance.

13. Finish stitching neckline at back. Turn right side out.

14. Stitch back seam of lining from bottom of zipper to hem using 1/2” seam allowance.

15. Press these seams open continuing to press 1/2” seam allowance up to neckline.

16. Whipstitch lining to the zipper keeping the folded edge of the lining away from the zipper teeth.

17. Stitch entire length of side seam of dress and lining. Press seams open.

18. Hem separately 1” for dress and 1 1/4” for lining.

Adapted by Lezette Thomason and Susan Whitman

*this blog was first published in 2017, and revised in May 2021.

Click the printer icon below for printable version.


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