Armani Prive, SS11.
Sometimes in the fashion industry zips are used as a feature of a garment (especially when it comes to sportswear) but in the world of sleek futuristic couture nobody wants to know how you got into your garment. At the recent Georgio Armani Prive collection the openings to the garments were neatly hidden into seams using invisible zips (sometimes called concealed zips).
In this Autumn/Winter Couture collection the invisible zips were mainly used up the centre front of the symmetrical garments and also appeared on the slender ankles of the models to help create the painted-on finish of their leggings. On the strapless dresses the zips were likely to be hidden in the side seams of the garment. In this position the closures will be neatly concealed away under the models arms, no more noticeable than a side seam.
Where the zips are hard to spot in the images below be sure to look out for the very tiny and perfectly colour matched zip pulls.
Georgio Armani Prive, Couture, SS11
What makes these zips more “invisible” than standard zips is that the zipper teeth are not visible from the outside of the garment. This is because the invisible zip rolls the edges of the fabric together in it’s wake, making it look as though there is simply a seam there and not a zipper at all.
Invisible zips also use no extra topstitching on the outside of the garment so there are no lines of stitching running parallel to the zip.
Invisible zips are relatively easy to insert into your garment, provided you set-up your sewing machine with the correct invisible zipper foot (as in the image below). This foot helps to roll the zipper teeth out of the way so that you can sew your stitches right into the roll of the zip.
Most invisible zips come with instructions to help use them but there are a few tips to help you to achieve the right finish:
- If this is your first time using an invisible zip, practice on spare fabric first with a spare zip before using this technique on a garment. If possible look at your own garments to find an example of an invisible zip as this will give you a better idea of how it should sit when finished.
- Pin the zip into position first to ensure that you are placing the correct side of the zip onto the correct side of the seam allowance.
- For a high end finish you can baste (or lightly hand sew) your zip into place first to ensure the fabric will fit smoothly before machining into place.
In true couture garments the final zip position would also be sewn in by hand, but invisible zips in themselves are by no means reserved to couture. They are most commonly used in ready-to-wear from high both end designers and high street manufacturers and are normally sewn in by machine.
Catwalk images from style.com
Invisible zipper image from M.Recht
Invisible zipper foot image from TheDapperBun