If you’ve always wanted a front closure bra, but couldn’t decide which closure to use, you might have looked at the possibility of a zipper closure. If you think that might be a tough bit of sewing, don’t worry. In this tutorial, we’ll share how to add a zipper to your bra.
There are a number of closures for a bra. You might have considered a set of hooks and eyes or a front clip of some sort. The problem (as I see it) is the hooks and eyes add too much width to the front of the bra – that’s a space that already is very narrow, to begin with. Adding the sewing flanges plus the row of hooks and eyes adds a lot of
The front clips can be problematic too. Most front clips are designed to be used with a partial band bra. That’s a bra that must use underwires as part of its engineering. If you do not want wires, a front clip is out.
Likewise, if you have a larger bust, a front clip may not be available in a tall enough size to adequately support the whole bust. generally speaking, the width of a clip increases in proportion to its height, so even if you found a tall clip, it may be much too wide for the space.
A zipper may be the answer.
A zippered bra closure works best on bras that some “real estate” in the bridge area. This includes any integrated bridge bra with a centre front seam. The bra shown here is our Ingrid but a sports bra like Alison or Kerri), or any bra with a wide enough space to hold the zipper coil will work well. A zipper is even no problem with the Sweet Sixteen Bralette!
To prepare a bra front for a zipper, you need to consider the width of the zipper
You also need to add a seam allowance for the zipper. Zipper tapes are 1/2″ wide (12 mm). There is already a 1/4″ (6 mm) seam allowance on a bra with a centre front seam. Therefore you will add another 1/4″ (6 mm) to that.
All in all, you will be adding 3/8″ (9 mm) to the centre front seam of the bra.
Install the zipper
Stabilize the back of the fabric in the area where the zipper will be inserted
Then, sew the front panel to the cups. The pattern we show here is the Ingrid, so your bra might look a little different.
Next, add the neckline stabilizer. A stabilized neckline edge goes a long way to keeping the bra against the chest wall. Don’t ignore this support
Add the bottom band elastic.
Now you are ready to add the zipper. Choose a separating jacket zipper. You may find a dress zipper too lightweight for a front closing. A “big tooth” zipper is quite bulky but we found a zipper that was just right for the job. It also had the advantage of being able to lock at any height, allowing us to partly un-zip if we wanted to.
We basted the zipper in place, aligning the edge of the zipper tape along the raw edge of the fabric. The bottom edge of the zipper is level with the bottom edge of the bra. Once you are sure the two bottoms are even with each other, go ahead and stitch once again, close to the zipper coil, using a zipper foot on your sewing machine.
Turn the bra to the right side to check if all is well. if it is, then topstitch the zipper on each side. At this point, you’ll be glad you added the interfacing along the zipper coil! Topstitching a zipper on stretch fabric without that fabric being stabilized is a sewing nightmare.
Only after the topstitching can you cut off the excess zipper coil. Do I need to mention to lower the slider to the bottom before you cut?
You can add the fold-over binding to the neckline edge, which also finishes the top of the zipper nicely.
On the inside, the fold-over can turn back and be hand-stitched in place.
The finished zip-front bra, ready for you to wear.