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.

Now turn your item right side out and grab your seam ripper. Rip that basted seam!

Open your zipper and pull out all those little threads.

Turn it around again, and now that you can move the zipper pull out of the way, finish sewing the top of the zipper on each side of the garment.

Now a little hand sewing. Sew a hook and eye closure at the top of the zip.

And let’s make the bow. So from the top of the bodice fold down a make a couple crimps including both layers (the bow and the bodice fabric), and pin.

On the bottom of the bow, crimp and pin just the bow fabric (not the bodice):

Hand sew through the layers to secure. You could add some buttons or something if you want, but I like it clean just like this.

Now let’s add the straps. First we make them. Cut two pieces of fabric 4″ wide by the length you want your straps (good time to try your romper on your model), or you could do like me and just always make them crazy long and worry about cutting them down later so you don’t have to ask too much of an uncooperative child. So iron your strip in half down the long way. Then open it up and use the crease you made as a guide to iron each side into the middle. See both steps here:

Now iron in half again, enclosing the unfinished edges in the center. Sew along the unfinished edge. Then sew the other edge so it’s matchy matchy. See both steps here:

Finish the edge of your straps with a zig zag or serger. Now here’s the fun part – you can attach them without any handsewing YAY! Start by attaching the straps to the front. So lift up the bow bit and pin the strap to the bodice only.

Sew the strap to the bodice with a nice secure box-with-an-x stitch. Make sure to sew the strap right up to the edge of the bodice fabric (so it doesnt hang funny in front), but not the the bow fabric.

Repeat on the other side. Here’s what it looks like when the straps are attached.

Try it on your model and mark where the straps should be attached in the back. You can criss cross them in the back if you want, but it does make it a little harder for small kids to wiggle in and out of. You could also sew a button hole on the back (where you would have attached the strap) and then sew buttons on the strap, so you could resize it as your kid grows and get more wear out of it. Then repeat on the back.

All you need to do now is hem your shorts to the right length for your kiddo.


Start your zipper foot! You will be pleasantly surprised to find how easy zippers can be. Need some zippers to get started? Check out our intro to zipperspost.

Zipper Week – Sponsored by Zipit Zippers.




I LOVE IT!!! So cute!

Thank You for the step by step pleating instructions. I have a skirt that I’ve been trying to attach to a tank. I always get so frustrated I just give up. Now my daughter will have her dress for vacation after all! Yay! She might even get a romper…just keep breathing, it’s just a zipper!

Emiko F

Rompers are so cute! But, alas, I find them to way to impractical with regards to diaper changes and/or toilet usage. I guess I’ll just be making a cute dress with a zipper.


I love the fabric you used. I think I’m going to make two rompers soon one for each of my girls. I’ve got two girls ages 2 and 7. My 2 year old is named Scarlett too.


I just finished my romper. I love it and can’t wait to see it on my daughter tomorrow morning. I did do a gathered skirt instead of the shorts though. I love the look of the shorts but i know my almost 4 year old would NOT wear it if it wasn’t a dress or a skirt! Thanks so much for the tutorial. The only trouble i had with the whole thing was attaching the straps at the back as i put them pretty close to the zipper. It was tough smoothing out the bodice fabric and not catching the bow fabric with the stitches. Overall it turned out great and this was by far the most elaborate project i’ve ever done.


Does Scarlett need help undoing this for bathroom breaks? I LOOOOVE it, and my first thought was to make one for my daughter’s first day of kindergarten, but I don’t think her teacher would appreciate needing to help her undress 🙂 Just wondering… I may just do it with a skirt instead.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *