Thanks everyone for the helpful comments about my tartan dress project! I’m all set to start sewing now.
One final thing I had to do before starting was to pick a zip to go with the fabric. I want to do an exposed zip so I need something quite chunky. I have a large collection of unused zips so I really want to use one of those rather than buying a new one. Here are the three that I have that are about the right weight, shown against the fabric:
I was expecting that the silver one would look best, but to my surprise I’m preferring the bronze one. This is especially good as I have the silver one in two lengths, neither of which is quite right, but the bronze one is exactly the length I want. It’s a separating zipper, which isn’t ideal, but I can just stitch over the end to stop it opening.
I’ve been looking up tutorials for exposed zippers. There are quite a few for the type where you stitch the zipper tape on top of the fabric, for example this one on BurdaStyle and this one on CraftStylish. They both fold the seam allowances of the zipper outwards and sew the zip on top.
However I want the sort where the zip is sewn under the fashion fabric, like a regular centred zipper, but rather than sewing it under a basted seam and then undoing the basting, you make a slot in the fabric and sew the zipper into the slot. The width of the slot means that the teeth and some of the zipper tape is exposed. I’ve tried this on a couple of dresses before and neither’s perfect although they are both wearable. Recently I found this interesting PDF of zipper application techniques which has some useful hints in it for exposed zippers (page 4). In particular it has you sew the end of zipper to the tiny seam allowance you get at the bottom of the slot. I’m hoping a combination of that and a lot of interfacing on the edges of the slot will make this go more smoothly than before. Wish me luck.