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Zip it!

Updated: Dec 6, 2020

As we get dressed in the morning still wiping the sleep from our eyes, or undressing at night exhausted from the day, not many of us consider how we get into and out of our clothes. This is one of the most important considerations for a designer, whether couture or ready to wear. After many years in the fashion industry, I have noticed that often young designers who do not sew, overlook adding openings to their garment designs. There are some fashion shows where the models are actually sewn into the garment before heading onto the catwalk! I believe that actually sewing and wearing your own creations makes you consider first hand how easy the garment is to wear.

Bumps & Lumps:

It should be celebrated that we are not all the same size and shape! However a few things are certain, our heads are bigger than our necks and our hips are bigger than our ankles (lol). It is a blessing to live in an age where there are so many choices of fabrics, thick, thin, stretchy, plastic-coated, organic, recycled, the list goes on. Even a stretchy pair of leggings though needs elastic to stay up. I guess unless you're aiming to show off your Gucci underwear, you would wear something that actually stays up. Enter the elastic, zip, velcro or button.

Get Personal:

When you make patterns and sew, you have the freedom to choose the silhouette which suits you best. Some love the bellowing shape created by fabric gathered onto elastic. Some like the clean look of an invisible zip, or you could have the utility look of a chunky exposed zip. There tend to be openings more commonly used for certain items. Children's-wear love a placket, blouses love a button, jeans love a fly front and although these openings have settled into "what works best", these are not the limit. I once worked for a designer who has a client that requested extra long zips in all of her made-to-measure garments. This was because she has super long nails which restricted her from clamouring into clothing; she wanted to easily step into her clothes and zip them up.

Do not be Afraid:

Firstly, don't be afraid to try something which you believe is "not you". Sometimes the elasticated waist which you thinks accentuate your hips, actually make your waist look smaller. Sometimes the button placket at the back neck makes a nice feature. Also if you sew, try something new. I often avoided sewing an invisible zip until I learnt a technique which makes inserting them so simple. Even if you do try something new, it is easy enough to revert to your previous style, so why be afraid?

Until next time, maybe spare a thought for the humble zip in your trousers, or the elastic in your pj's. Someone considered that when making it for you.

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