How to Sew A Romper with A Zipper – No Pattern Required!

Zipper Week sponsored by Zipit Zippers

I love rompers. I mean, I am that adult that totally would wear them all day everyday.

But alas, this one is for Scarlet. I’m totally going to make myself one soon.

Learn how to sew a romper with a zipper…

How to Sew A Romper with A Zipper – No Pattern Required!

For these rompers I used Rashida Coleman-Hale’s Washi Tape (from Fabricworm) and Robert Kaufman Essex Linen for the solids. You could use cotton but linen is nice for summer.

We will make the bodice first. Measure around your child’s chest and add one inch (this is your length). Measure the distance you want the bodice to be from the top of their chest to the waist and add one inch (width). Cut a piece of fabric for the bodice. Also cut a contrasting piece of fabric for the bow using the same length measurement and 4.5″ wide.

Hem one long side of the bow piece. Now lay your bodice fabric wrong side up (if you pattern is directional, you want the top of your pattern facing north), and lay the un-hemmed edge of your bow fabric right side down. So the right side of your bow fabric is facing the wrong side of your bodice fabric. Pin together.

Sew together with a straight stitch, finish the edge by serging, sewing with a zig zag stitch, or cutting with pinking shears, and fold the bow fabric over to the front. Give it a nice press/steam.

Now fold your bodice in half, with wrong sides facing, so the two short edges aline. Baste togther (sew with a straight stitch set to the widest setting your machine will allow).

Bring the seam to the center and iron it open.

Now set your bodice aside and let’s make the shorts. You could easily just make a gathered skirt, but these shorts are so fun and simple. You do not need a pattern. Here’s what you do. Grab a pair of shorts that fits your kid and fold them in half. Lay them on a folded piece of fabric, with the outside edge of the shorts aligned to the fold. Use the shorts as a guideline but trace extra wide around them – you want these to be much bigger at the waist and roomy. See pic for example:

Cut out that piece of fabric, and another one just like it.

Open up your two pieces of fabric and lay them together right sides facing. Pin the curved edges together on both sides.

One one curved side you may sew the edge together and finish (serge or your preferred method). That side will be the front of your shorts. On the other curved side, only BASTE the edges together.

Now pick your shorts up and move your seams around to the center.

Pin the center seams.

Sew across and finish the edge.

Turn your shorts inside out. Make sure the basted seam is to the back from here on out.

Now how do we make these crazy shorts fit? Lay your bodice out. Lay your shorts under it. Measure how much wider your shorts are than your bodice. In my case, they are 5″ wider. It doesn’t matter how wide, we are going to make pleats to bring them down to size.

So since my shorts are 5″ wider than my bodice, I need to make pleats that will eat up 5″ on the front, and 5″ on the back. I want to do a pleat on each leg in the front and back, so that’s 2.5″ per leg. You may have 3″ or 8″, just do a little math to figure it out. So here’s what you do. Fold the shorts in half. Use a ruler to find the center of the leg and mark.

Now since I want my pleats to eat up 2.5″ on each leg, I measure 1.25″ on each side of my center line and mark.

Make your marks on the front and back of each leg (so four total sets of marks), before moving on to pinning the pleats.

Ok, let’s pin our pleats. So bring one outer mark in to meet the inner mark, and pin.

The other side in slo-mo…

Now all four of your pleats are pinned. Double check against your bodice that the shorts now fit it perfectly and adjust pleats as necessary.

Just for fun, on the pink romper, I made the pleats in the very center instead of one on each side, but honestly it’s not as cute.

Now, turn your bodice inside out. Keep your shorts right side out. Make sure the back of the bodice and the basted seam of the shorts are on the same side. Slip the bodice, top first, over the shorts, and pin along the edge.

Make sure the seam is lined up well. This is where your zipper will go. But be sure NOT to pin the seam together. Put a pin on either side of it.

Now WITHOUT SEWING THE SEAM CLOSED, sew all the way around and finish the edge. Leave that center back seam unsewn.

Flip the bodice open, and the whole piece inside out. Press the seam again so it’s nice and flat.

Get your zipper out. I used the gorgeous 12 Inch Flamingo Pink Metal Zipper from Zipit Zippers. Lay it right side down along the basted seam. You can attach it with pins or try the glue stick trick (apply hot glue, iron to activate).

Use your zipper foot and sew each side of the zipper down. Notice that because of the zipper pull being in the way, my stitches start below the top of the zipper. That’s ok, we will go back and fix that in a minute.