My Favourite Zip-less Patterns, by Camilla (@she_sew_fabulous)
Hi, my name is Camilla and I hate zips.
Yeah alright, I know it’s not a secret, but surely I can’t be the only one who actively avoids patterns with zips in? I’ll go stretchy, I’ll do poppers and recently I even realised that buttonholes aren’t SO bad (as long as you accept that the first one, much like the first pancake, is always doomed to fail) but zips? Nah, I’m alright thanks, I’ll find something else to make.
Okay, okay, as a teacher, I’m always telling my kids that they’ll never get better at something if they don’t try it and this is true. I do actually have a few courses booked in for later in the year (one to make jeans and one which is just a class about zips), which will make me tackle this silly phobia of mine head on, but until then, I’m going to content myself with (mostly) zipless sewing. I CAN do them, I just prefer not to because they’re just never quite right. I definitely need some help in that respect!
But I’m not one to let the things I don’t like stand in my way and even without zips, there’s alot of fun to be had in the sewing world! So, following a conversation with my bestie Jay over lunch a few weekends ago, I’ve put together a round up of my favourite zip free patterns so that you can have as much zip free fun as I do whenever I go near my machine!
1.Waves and Wild Heyday Dungarees
Lots of home sewn dungarees have a zip in there somewhere (often I don’t realise until I’m partway through assembling the pattern pieces because I never read instructions properly), but the Heydays are proudly zip free. They’re so easy to make that I know I will 100% be making more of them in the new year, once I’ve finished my current run of collabs, presents and makes for other people. These are definitely beginner friendly BUT the thicker material is sometimes a bit of a challenge, so bear that in mind.
2. Tilly and the Buttons Stevie
THE most beginner friendly pattern of all time, the Stevie is simple, versatile and endlessly customisable. There’s an add-on pack which include long sleeves, a gathered skirt and a patch pocket, but I’ve done all sorts of things with it (see my previous post on pattern hacking). At its core, Stevie is totally beginner friendly and one of the simplest things you’ll ever sew. Hardly a surprise I’ve made so many!
3. Helen’s Closet York Pinafore
I’m a huge fan of Helen’s Closet and have made loads of her patterns, but the York is definitely my most remade one of all. It uses bias binding, which I’m aware is a tad on the fiddly side until you get used to it, but it has barely any pieces and results in a really flattering dress. There are different neck options and lengths too making this a great repeating pattern. Also, it’s great for layering which means you can wear it in both the summer and winter months. Who doesn’t love versatility in their makes?! It's pictured here with a fab detachable collar I won from @green.circle.textiles
4.Peppermint Magazine Bardon Dress
Like the Stevie, Bardon is a great one for hacking but, at its core, it’s a really simple and really lovely summer dress. It has darts (often mine are wonky but hey, who’s looking?!) and tiers and results in a really flattering, floaty summer dress. You can hack it in loads of ways, from sleeves to plackets to using the bodice from one and the skirt from the other...it’s a great one to sew and really quite straightforward. It does use bias binding, but hey, you’re an expert on that now after all those Yorks, right?!
5.Vanessa Hansen Frankie Tankie
I can’t get enough of this pattern. Seriously, I want shoulder ties on EVERYTHING I own!! I’ve so far made this as a reversible top, a jersey dress for me and a summer dress for my friend. It’s really simple but so effective. Plus if you use a facing, you don’t need binding, so that’s a delightful bonus! The Frankie Tankie is a great one for beginners and improvers alike and I just think those shoulder ties make it look like it’s been shop bought. Add it to your to-make list today!
6.Sewing and the City Perry Top
Christine from Sewing and the City sent me this pattern in return for a blog / Instragram post about it and honestly, I can’t speak highly enough about it. It’s really simple and looks so effective (those sleeves are just divine right?!) There’s not a zip in sight and it brings the drama with puffy shoulders and a statement back. Who needs zips when you look this good?! Another one which has been added to my repeat make list, when I get a chance to repeat things!
7.Make with Mandi Bolt Culottes
Winslows are good but Bolts are better because they are totally and 100% zip free. Plus look at them : look how gorgeous they are!! They look shop bought, they come together so well and they are so easy, I cannot stress that enough. The pocket tutorial Mandi has on YouTube makes the technique for making them a breeze. Everyone needs Bolts in their life. Everyone. If you haven’t made them already I strongly suggest you do because they are one of the most fun things you’ll sew and will become a total wardrobe staple.
8.Made by Rae Trillium Dress
I made this dress when I was fairly new to sewing and it wasn’t quite right so I remade it when I was doing the SewMuchProgress21 challenge. It does call for shirring on the back but, I’ll let you in on a secret : mine has none. Not a bit. No shirring whatsoever and I think it looks great. I mean, if shirring is your thing then go for it, yours will be a finer Trillium than mine, but if shirring scares you or you don’t know how to do it (like me!) then it’s perfectly fine without it and still looks good.
9.Sew Different Artista Dress
This was my first make of 2021 and I love it. Playing with stripes on this design was alot of fun and though it’s a fairly simple construction, it does use stretch, so if you’re not familiar, I’d start with something a little simpler (see my next suggestion). The shape of this dress is super flattering and I always get lots of compliments when I wear it. A definite addition to the no-zip list. In fact, as far as I’m aware, all of the Sew Different patterns are zipless so she’s a great resource for those that are zip-phobic, like me!
10. Schnittchen Patterns Laisa Shirt
A great beginner stretch pattern! I’ve worn this t-shirt over and over and over again and I love it. The raglan sleeves, the shape it hangs in. It’s a beauty and I’m not kidding, I think I put it together in less than an hour. This is definitely going to be my go-to t-shirt design from now on.
So there we go : being zip-phobic doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! Who else is like me and actively avoids zips whenever they can? I refuse to believe I’m the only one!! Zip phobics and zip lovers alike : do you have a favourite zip free pattern that you make again and again? I’d love to hear it (and add it to my list!) and until then : happy (zip free) sewing!!