Hack a Full Zip Pattern into a Half Zip

Today I have an easy tutorial for hacking a full zip sweatshirt pattern into a half zip. I used the Zippy Jacket (affiliate link) from Blank Slate Patterns, as this post was originally posted for the Blank Slate Sewing Team, but you can do this to any zip-up pattern.

Hack a full zip pattern into a half zip

I originally had no plans to modify this pattern, but I really wanted to use a red zipper. I counted four 7inch red zippers non-separating zippers in my stash (why??) but nothing long enough to make the jacket. But perfect for a half zip!

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I made the size 7/8 for my tall seven year old. The fit is just perfect, and he says it’s really comfortable. It must be, because he wears it all the time.

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The pockets are my favorite feature of this pattern. You don’t find a lot of sweatshirts with these rounded pockets, and they give you a great chance to give a little peek of an accent fabric.

If you too have a stash of way-too-short zippers (or a little one who does better with a pullover), turning the Zippy Jacket into a half zip is really easy.

1. Instead of cutting two separate pieces for the front, cut one on the fold.

DSC_07502. After sewing your pockets, begin your zipper install. Draw a line from the neckline about five inches. (You may have to adjust the length if you are making a very small size – this one was size 7/8)

DSC_07783. Cut down your five inch line. Fuse a small square of interfacing to the back, allowing your interfacing to go over your cut. Then make a slit thorough your interfacing, like in the above photo.

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4. Fold the front piece in half, right sides together. Sew a basting stitch from the neckline down to the bottom of your cut. Lay it right side down and press your seam open.

DSC_00315. Lay your zipper down on the seam. You want the bottom metal part of your zipper to be just below the end of your seam. Your zipper will be sticking out over the neckline, and that’s good. You can tape or pin your zipper in place. I like to put a couple of pieces of scotch tape on the back and then pin a couple times on the front.

DSC_07966. Turn the front piece over and stitch around the zipper with your zipper foot. Make sure you leave about an inch at the top (as you can see in the photo) to attach the collar. Then use your seam ripper to open up your basting stitch and remove the stitches.

*Truth be told, I like to remove my basting stitch first, before I stitch around the zipper. I like when the zipper is a little bit more exposed, when I’m using a colored zipper like I did here. If you do that, just make sure you pin around your zipper to keep it securely in place. So my picture above shows more zipper than yours would if you did yours the way I originally described. But I’m a sewing rebel like that..

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Then, complete the rest of the pattern according to the instructions, except for the waistband. Attach the waistband as you did the sleeve cuffs (I did not alter the waistband’s size), since there is no longer a zipper going to the bottom.DSC_0860

This is really a must-have pattern! I may or may not have have squealed with joy and sent pictures to a sewing friend after I finished it.

DSC_0922The main portion of the jacket was upcycled from an XXL sweatshirt I picked up at a thrift store. With the zipper and pockets in the front, I used the original front of the sweatshirt and made it into the back. We gotta show our Wisconsin pride!

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I’ve already dreamed up three other Zippy Jackets (affiliate link). Good thing I have three other boys who also enjoy a good mama made garment!

Happy sewing, friends!

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3 comments

  1. I have a 1/2 zip jacket and hate the pullover thing I have to do to wear it.
    I want a full zip jacket ONLY the 1/2 zip zipper part is just terrific in looks and function.
    Any chance of adding another half zip to the bottom and making me a really happy camper?
    I thought of sewing in velcro to the bottom half but not sure how that would work.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated !!!
    THANKS !!!!!!!!

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