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View Full Version : Doing up that side zip on a formal dress....


Goldryder
July 3rd, 2009, 11:00 AM
....OK...minor niggle/dilemma here, so looking for ideas on how to tame that most awkward problem of doing up the zip on a formal dress when it is on the left hand side (ie from waist to under the arm), when you only have one pair of hands available (you're own)...?

I have been having all sorts of fun and games trying to fathom out an easy way to do side zips up on my formal dresses, but have ended up in a right pickle doing so.

Any ideas or tips on how to tame that zip would be very much appreciated :o

Lynn the Cruiser
July 3rd, 2009, 11:12 AM
I HATE SIDE ZIPS!!!!!!!!!! I rarely buy a dress that has one. I am very claustrophobic and a side zip makes me feel all closed in. On my first cruise, I had a strapless dress with a side zip. I went up to the cabin , by myself, to change. I couldn't get the zipper down, I got all panicky, and almost went for the scissors to cut myself out of the dress!!!!!:eek:

cb at sea
July 3rd, 2009, 11:45 AM
I have the same problem with some back zippers---sometimes, I just can't reach to the top, if it's a lower cut back...
I've never been adverse to asking the room attendant (if they're around) for help!

Happy ks
July 3rd, 2009, 12:36 PM
There is always an item that helps to adapt:

http://www.wrightstuff.biz/cordzipperpull.html

Andee
July 3rd, 2009, 01:07 PM
You can do the same thing with a piece of string--thread it through the hole at the end of the zipper pull, grab the two loose ends, and pull.

Goldryder
July 3rd, 2009, 03:18 PM
hmmm the string idea is OK for back zips, but side ones can be a little trickier to tame since you aren't pulling from the center of them, if that makes sense, you're usually pulling from the front/side sort of direction...:o

I have 3 dresses, all side zipped, all a right pain in the backside to do up...will have to find an easy way to manage it somehow :o

Happy ks
July 3rd, 2009, 04:27 PM
Maybe the aid with a handle would work better?

http://www.wrightstuff.biz/combutaidzip.html

CowPrincess
July 3rd, 2009, 04:41 PM
What works best for me (though it hardly qualifies as "great" help :) ) is to use my right hand (my dominant hand) to hold the dress taut just below the bottom part of the zipper and to use my left hand (non-dominant) to pull the zipper up. When zipping down, I reverse the place of my hands.

wanasail
July 3rd, 2009, 09:53 PM
Zipper pulls would be great if you have the kind of zipper head with a hole in it. My two dresses with side zips have invisible type zippers with sleek, no hole heads. They are a pain in the butt. :mad:

iheartbda
July 3rd, 2009, 10:14 PM
All this time, I thought it was just me. I'even resorted to putting the dress on sideways, zipping it up, then squiggle it back to "right" it. Only works because it's a one shoulder dress. Best thing that I've found that works for me everytime is for DH to zip it:)

kaseyoz
July 3rd, 2009, 11:31 PM
Guess it would be even harder by the second formal night with all those extra meals....

Jane110
July 3rd, 2009, 11:55 PM
This really gives me a chuckle, as I'm always so happy when there's a side zip, as opposed to a back zip. Side zips are so easy for me, and so I assumed the same for everyone else.
My hands reach the side of my torso easily.
See, now you all have me worried that my arms are too long!:eek:

You can't reach the left side of your torso w/ your right hand, and vice versa?

BTW, I have on of those zipper pulls for back zip dresses and it's terrific!

Goldryder
July 4th, 2009, 04:31 AM
Guess it would be even harder by the second formal night with all those extra meals....

...I have 9 formals on the next cruise....:eek: :o

I am so pleased that I am not the only one who has battles with side zips...they get so fiddly when they refuse to do up and I get stressed...fingers aren't what they used to be thanks to arthritis & a mild stroke (patience has never been one of my virtues either)....

The three dresses are designer ones that were at a sale and I couldn't resist them, one can be wriggled about but the other two definitely can't...

I will give the zip pulls a try but any other ideas will be gratefully received too, please :)

Lois R
July 4th, 2009, 07:42 AM
This really gives me a chuckle, as I'm always so happy when there's a side zip, as opposed to a back zip. Side zips are so easy for me, and so I assumed the same for everyone else.
My hands reach the side of my torso easily.
See, now you all have me worried that my arms are too long!:eek:

You can't reach the left side of your torso w/ your right hand, and vice versa?

BTW, I have on of those zipper pulls for back zip dresses and it's terrific!

Hi Jane:) ahhhhh....see what you get for assuming?:D
I absolutely HATE dresses with side zippers:eek:...not because
I am claustrophobic but just because they are a total pain the
a$$ to do.
Lynn, so sorry you had to cut yourself out of that dress:(

Jane, have you moved yet? Wishing you and hubby an easy
transition:)

10splyr
July 5th, 2009, 12:53 AM
when the invisible zippers encounter seams such as the bodice seam with the skirt seam (that would be 4 layers of fabric if the garment is lined) it then becomes a real B**c* and, as far as I am concerned, almost impossible to do by yourself. I'm not talking about lower end garments either b/c I have a David Meister that is REALLY hard to zip.

I really think all dressmakers need to think about leaving a small amount of fabric "give" on the zipper when a dress is supposed to hug your body.

laurspag
July 5th, 2009, 10:37 PM
I used to do a lot of sewing, but don't really have the time anymore. I understand that manufacturers think the invisible zippers are great, but they're only great if you can zip them. I've had a few dresses with no problem, but all those bias cut dresses with the side zipper are horendous. I actually bought a new dress for formal night, partly because it took me and my husband about 20 minutes to get it unzipped when I was trying it on a month ago. My new dress has a back zip, and I need help zipping it because I can't reach it. However, the zipper moves!!! ;) I'm not stuck!

iheartbda
July 6th, 2009, 12:01 AM
when the invisible zippers encounter seams such as the bodice seam with the skirt seam (that would be 4 layers of fabric if the garment is lined) it then becomes a real B**c* and, as far as I am concerned, almost impossible to do by yourself. I'm not talking about lower end garments either b/c I have a David Meister that is REALLY hard to zip.

I really think all dressmakers need to think about leaving a small amount of fabric "give" on the zipper when a dress is supposed to hug your body.
Oh I hear ya'.
I have an Anne Klein cocktail dress that is shutter pleats the whole way down and it's lined. So every 1 1/2 inch along the 18 inch zipper I run into a spot where the zipper doesn't want to clear. Even DH has a hard time zipping it and complains but once I'm in, the dress fits like a glove and I love it. BTW, DH likes to unzip it.:p:D

Goldryder
July 6th, 2009, 02:20 AM
One of my formals is going to be a real challenge, it's a PearceIIFironda and has a halter neck but with added 2" wide ribbon shoulder straps that are sown in. The dress has a side zip and a cumberbund type waist to it...triple whammy on the zip obstacle department.

To get it on you have to go at it from underneath, then head through one set of ribbons and the halter (the halter neck is buttoned but doesn't need to be opened). Once you are in the middle of all the straps you then have to shimmy it all into the right place due to it having an inbuilt bra support and then finally a hook & eye under the arm before attacking/taming the zip that runs from about hip level up to the hook & eye.

The dress is 100% pure silk & silk chiffon, I am 5'11" tall and it's about 3" longer than I am tall, it's black with a delicate floral spray pattern on it, the ribbons are scarlet red and they start at the bust and go over the shoulders, down the back into a bow and then drape onto the floor, they too are 100% silk. The dress is BEAUTIFUL..just a right pain in the whoozit to get into and do up :o

The dress is here...the boddice is a little complicated, the ribbons go right down the back. I have bought a special pair of shoes to wear with it too, black peep-toe courts, with 4.5" heel and 1" sole that are covered in sequins, they look really nice with the dress and lift the hem off the floor too :)

Jane110
July 9th, 2009, 01:11 AM
Hi Jane:) ahhhhh....see what you get for assuming?:D
I absolutely HATE dresses with side zippers:eek:...not because
I am claustrophobic but just because they are a total pain the
a$$ to do.
Lynn, so sorry you had to cut yourself out of that dress:(

Jane, have you moved yet? Wishing you and hubby an easy
transition:)

Sorry folks.....this is OT.....

Haven't moved yet Lois. We hit a few snags with the NYC Dept of Buildings, and just yesterday got the permit to combine the two apts, so the wall will be broken through tomorrow! YAY!
Most of the other work is done - freshly painted, new moulding, a wall built to create an office area, new a/c's installed. All that's left to do is to create the "saddle" between the two apts where the wall was, then sand and lacquer the floors. The french doors I bought haven't arrived yet; they're being made in Cal. They're mahogany, with etched glass and then zinc inlaid 1930's like design within the glass, which will look pretty across from the wrought iron railing. The apt was built in 1937 and I'm trying to keep the architectural details in that style.

I'm going on a two night cruise at the end of the month and will be bringing 2 side zip dresses! I love 'em! :)

Chigirlcruzin
July 9th, 2009, 07:05 AM
This really gives me a chuckle, as I'm always so happy when there's a side zip, as opposed to a back zip. Side zips are so easy for me, and so I assumed the same for everyone else.
My hands reach the side of my torso easily.
See, now you all have me worried that my arms are too long!:eek:

You can't reach the left side of your torso w/ your right hand, and vice versa?



LOL...I was thinking the same thing...I have no problems with side zips...what's wrong with me?

slrmerc73
July 9th, 2009, 10:05 AM
^I've always found side zips easier than back zips. Guess I'm an odd one as well :).

But truthfully, back zips aren't really much of a problem either. I have long arms (my "wingspan" is about 3 inches longer than my height).

Bonnie Voyager
July 10th, 2009, 03:12 PM
This really gives me a chuckle, as I'm always so happy when there's a side zip, as opposed to a back zip. Side zips are so easy for me, and so I assumed the same for everyone else.
My hands reach the side of my torso easily.
See, now you all have me worried that my arms are too long!:eek:

You can't reach the left side of your torso w/ your right hand, and vice versa?

BTW, I have on of those zipper pulls for back zip dresses and it's terrific!


Ditto here! When I first read this thread I thought I must be misunderstanding something because side zips are obviously much easier to reach than back zips! :eek: ;) So, as it turns out, I've been mistaken all along! Our ability to easily access our side zippers places us in a special group! ;) We are an anomaly! Now I feel sort of "special" :D

iheartbda
July 10th, 2009, 03:26 PM
Ditto here! When I first read this thread I thought I must be misunderstanding something because side zips are obviously much easier to reach than back zips! :eek: ;) So, as it turns out, I've been mistaken all along! Our ability to easily access our side zippers places us in a special group! ;) We are an anomaly! Now I feel sort of "special" :D
Add to that, anyone who has THEIR OWN Henry makes them even more special?:D
What's he been up to lately....behaving himself?:p

Goldryder
July 11th, 2009, 06:14 AM
Like I said, I find side zips hard going since the stroke...I am right handed, the zip is on the left side, so the right hand has to argue with it and along with the arthritis, well the right arm isn't as good as it used to be...and since I travel alone, I get pretty stuck, hence asking for ideas around the problem :o

I guess I could leave the side zipped dresses at home but they are really nice and it would be such a shame to do that :(

Bonnie Voyager
July 11th, 2009, 08:26 AM
Add to that, anyone who has THEIR OWN Henry makes them even more special?:D
What's he been up to lately....behaving himself?:p


Henry is great! In fact he just enjoyed some delicious Costa Rican coffee! (I spilled some freshly ground beans on the floor and Henry couldn't wait to suck those up! :D ) Henry is peeking at me as I type though! He is hoping to have some danish with his coffee! ;) Oops! I just dropped a crumb! Here comes Henry! :)

Jane110
July 11th, 2009, 11:32 AM
Ditto here! When I first read this thread I thought I must be misunderstanding something because side zips are obviously much easier to reach than back zips! :eek: ;) So, as it turns out, I've been mistaken all along! Our ability to easily access our side zippers places us in a special group! ;) We are an anomaly! Now I feel sort of "special" :D


Hmmm......that word "special" has taken on new meaning in the past decade. LOL!

When I was in high school, I was a member of RASP - Redheads Are Special People.
Now we can create a new club, SASE - Sidezips Are So Easy! :D


I don't know who Henry is, but he can come clean my house anytime!

packedandready
July 11th, 2009, 06:09 PM
If the zipper is on the left side I hold the top of both sides of the zipper with my left hand and lean my left hip against a piece of furniture, door jam, ect...(to hold the fabric in place) and that leaves my right hand to zip it up.

CowPrincess
July 11th, 2009, 06:59 PM
Is Henry a Roomba? :D

iheartbda
July 11th, 2009, 07:17 PM
This is Henry that was used on RCCL.
Bonnie has her own and once posted a wonderful set of pictures of all the things that she and Henry have been doing. Wish she would post them again...hint, hint.

How coud anyone not think that little face is the cutest?


http://images.smarter.com/product_image_s/51/91/17849791.jpg (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/vacuum-cleaners/numatic-henry-micro-hvr-200m-professional-canister-vacuum-cleaner/pd--ch-51--pi-17849791.html)

wanasail
July 11th, 2009, 08:50 PM
After struggling with a side zip this evening I have determined that the problem with me is the boobage. The darn things get in the way when trying to reach across to the zipper. I hadn't given it much thought before, only that I didn't like them (the zippers not the boobs) but after analysing the whole process I find it's my chest that gets in the way. Smaller breasted women don't have as far to reach around to the zipper. :o

2sunny
July 11th, 2009, 10:00 PM
I do not think I could get dressed at all if not for my DH. He is an absolute lifesaver. For our last cruise I bought a beautiful pale green dress that was on sale at Ann Taylor. I was chiffon with the same chiffon used to make a center/waist section about 4-5" wide. This waist section was highlighted with a 'very' narrow dark green material. This dress had an invisible zipper up the back. The dress was a size 18. I wear a 14 or 16 but for some reason always wear an 18 in formal dresses. I am large busted (38F). The dress fit me with plenty of room - it was not tight and I have 4 other Ann Taylor formal dresses the same size. Because of the insets etc. the zipper would stick at the waist area even when I was not in the dress. Well, formal night came and DH could not zip this dress for anything, his finger tips got sore from gripping the tiny zipper. THEN he could not unzip it! I was stuck! Well, he pulled up and he pulled down and it was getting to be dinner time so finally he just yanked the He** on it and it ripped! I loved this dress! Notice the past tense! You would think they could put a zipper in a dress that would work! It was NOT too tight on me - even DH said it was not that it was tight it would just not GO. I was really sad!

iheartbda
July 11th, 2009, 11:35 PM
[quote=2sunny;20331338You would think they could put a zipper in a dress that would work! It was NOT too tight on me - even DH said it was not that it was tight it would just not GO. I was really sad![/quote]
That's the downside of invisible zippers. They give a nice finished look but anytime they have to pass a couple of layers of fabric, they get very ornery.

I had one formal that had to be zipped just right or it got stuck either going up or down. I discovered that the zipper tape itself was fraying from, I'm assuming, people having tried it on and having to force it. I had paid next to nothing for it and fortunately I was able to carefully repair the zipper tape.

Bonnie Voyager
July 12th, 2009, 08:22 AM
This is Henry that was used on RCCL.
Bonnie has her own and once posted a wonderful set of pictures of all the things that she and Henry have been doing. Wish she would post them again...hint, hint.

How coud anyone not think that little face is the cutest?


http://images.smarter.com/product_image_s/51/91/17849791.jpg (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/vacuum-cleaners/numatic-henry-micro-hvr-200m-professional-canister-vacuum-cleaner/pd--ch-51--pi-17849791.html)



Just for you...

http://entertainment.webshots.com/slideshow/565233651DAsieF

(and YES! I had a little too much time on my hands that day! ;) )

Goldryder
July 12th, 2009, 08:34 AM
After struggling with a side zip this evening I have determined that the problem with me is the boobage. The darn things get in the way when trying to reach across to the zipper. I hadn't given it much thought before, only that I didn't like them (the zippers not the boobs) but after analysing the whole process I find it's my chest that gets in the way. Smaller breasted women don't have as far to reach around to the zipper. :o

Same trouble here....the chest does tend to get in the way a bit :o

Maybe we should get the vacuum cleaner onto them, since it has managed to get onto the thread, a form of liposuction, maybe?...can't see what the connection would be otherwise :rolleyes:

Bonnie Voyager
July 12th, 2009, 09:52 AM
Same trouble here....the chest does tend to get in the way a bit :o

Maybe we should get the vacuum cleaner onto them, since it has managed to get onto the thread, a form of liposuction, maybe?...can't see what the connection would be otherwise :rolleyes:


I apologize that Henry invaded your thread. :o I was just answering iheartbda's questions about Henry, as they appeared, since she asked me specifically. I didn't think it would continue as a topic. I'll just let it go from here on out though. But, just an fyi...Henry can't zip a side zipper either :eek:.

...And he has NO boobs at all! ;) :)

iheartbda
July 12th, 2009, 01:11 PM
Same trouble here....the chest does tend to get in the way a bit :o

Maybe we should get the vacuum cleaner onto them, since it has managed to get onto the thread, a form of liposuction, maybe?...can't see what the connection would be otherwise :rolleyes:
All threads wander a bit from time to time so sorry that you took umbrage at a little humor. ;)

Thanks Bonnie.:)

*Wink*
July 12th, 2009, 01:57 PM
Wow.. Hope my post fits your standards and what's allowed and what's not.. Not that I care.

Put a thin ribbon through the loop of the zipper. One that's long enough so you can reach it beyond your ample "chest." Raise your arm, grab the ribbon with the other hand, and pull.

Jane110
July 12th, 2009, 06:13 PM
After struggling with a side zip this evening I have determined that the problem with me is the boobage. The darn things get in the way when trying to reach across to the zipper. I hadn't given it much thought before, only that I didn't like them (the zippers not the boobs) but after analysing the whole process I find it's my chest that gets in the way. Smaller breasted women don't have as far to reach around to the zipper. :o

That makes sense. Maybe that's why I don't have any problems with side zips, I've got nice small boobies that don't get in the way. Small boobies + long arms = easy side zips. Makes perfect sense! :)

Bonnie - does RCCL sell Henry's?

iheartbda
July 12th, 2009, 07:39 PM
That makes sense. Maybe that's why I don't have any problems with side zips, I've got nice small boobies that don't get in the way. Small boobies + long arms = easy side zips. Makes perfect sense! :)
I don't have long arms but I can also get around small boobies.;) It's that several thicknesses of fabric that that catch for me.

Bonnie - does RCCL sell Henry's?
Henry can be purchased here as well as siblings, George, James, Charles and Hetty.:D
http://www.chemiclean.co.uk/Numatic1.htm

Or here.
http://www.smarter.com/se--qq-henry+vacuum+cleaners.html?source=google_000+051a+ 100+000047ab_mtypeb_keyword_henry_vacuum_cleaners