Zipper Neckline T-shirt Hack

By Aneesah, 11 Mar 19

Introduction / Rant

If there’s one piece of practical advice I can give to any female person who intends to have children one day — stock up on breastfeeding-friendly clothes. Even if you’re not pregnant yet! I swear people make such a business out of nursing-friendly clothes nowadays. My problem with the ones on the market tend to be:

  1. The price. Rarely do I find anything below RM40, most are in the RM60-70++ range.
  2. The length. Lots of tops are short. I tend to prefer tunic length or knee-length, so I can wear them with jeans.
  3. The material. I don’t know about you, but the ironless tops I find are of synthetic, non-breathable fabric which also doesn’t handle stains very well and stretches out over time.

My solution has been to add zippers to my existing clothes. Now, I’m not a professional and haven’t really looked into how to do this the proper way, but I’m sharing my cheat way of doing this because I think I have to!

What you need

This T-shirt was purchased at one of those “reject” stalls at a mall for RM25. Quality is acceptable, size is generous and at most I’ll have to reinforce the hems if the stitches break off.
Interfacing and zipper
You will also need iron-on interfacing, a zipper (mine is 10″), an iron, as well as a sewing machine with thread.

Ideally what goes with a T-shirt would be lightweight interfacing, as we are using the piece as a facing to finish the back of the fabric. However, I only had heavyweight interfacing and it works fine — the front of my shirt will just be unnecessarily stiff but I don’t mind as it will be covered by my tudung when I wear it.

Let’s do this

I cut the interfacing into a long strip: longer than the zipper and about an inch wider on either side. I round the corners and cut the top edge to fit the curve of the neckline exactly. I placed the zipper on top of it and marked the length of the zipper.

Interfacing sewn
Sew the interfacing onto the T-shirt.

You can mark the centreline of the T-shirt by folding it in half. With the T-shirt right side up, place the strip of interfacing shiny (glue) side up, matching the centreline with that of the T-shirt. Pin in place and stitch a long “U” shape the length of the working part of your zipper (or just slightly shorter), making sure not to accidentally sew the back of the T-shirt. We are preparing to cut an opening for the zipper to peek through.

Stitching the zipper
Sewing in the zipper

Next, with a pair of scissors, I cut straight in between the lines of my “U”, through the T-shirt layer and the interfacing. I also cut two slits into the interfacing near the bowl of the “U” — this might not be necessary when using lightweight interfacing, I just didn’t want to have any warping problems when turning things inside out.

Next, turn the T-shirt inside out and pull in the interfacing so that the shiny side is facing the wrong side of the T-shirt. With a hot iron on one hand, press the interfacing into place and make sure all of it sticks onto the fabric. Now you basically have a long slit in your neckline.

I pin the zipper into place (tuck in the top edges so they don’t peek out of the collar), turn my T-shirt right side out and sew it on with a straight stitch.

I used a regular zipper and regular presser foot, but I suppose a hidden zipper would work too.
Inside the T-shirt
This is how the inside looks like. If the interfacing were a regular piece of fabric, we’d have to stitch around the raw edges now so it wouldn’t flap around. But hopefully the adhesive on this would stick for a long while.


And there you have it. I’ve done this to two more T-shirts so far and alhamdulillah they work well.

Another T-shirt

Happy hacking!

What do you think?

I think...