Blast from the Past: Invisible Zipper Tutorial

I’ve decided that every now and then, it would be nice to have a blast from the past post – meaning a post that I’ve already published long ago and far away and that would be fun to showcase again. It also means that if needed, I’ll revamp the post to include updated info. One thing I’m finding is that I receive a lot of email questions about things I’ve already answered in previous posts. But the person inquiring wouldn’t really know that I’ve already answered that sort of question if they haven’t read me for very long. So I thought, why not? I’ll post an oldy, but goodie post every so often to keep things fresh around here.

Today’s blast from the past is my invisible zipper tutorial. I also released a free Craftsy class last year that deals with all things zippers, so if you haven’t, check it out. Without further adieu, my blast from the past this Friday:

I’m actually not the biggest fan of invisible zippers, but at the same time, I love the way they look. It’s like there’s nothing there. When inserted well, they look amazing so I’ve got a few tips for these babies, because in my opinion, invisible zippers are a rather weak closure. Weak in that, they seem to rip apart the easiest, get caught on fabric, thread, you name it. OK, ready? Let’s get started.

You will need the following:

  • a zipper opening (obviously something to put the zipper in, you know, like a skirt or dress)
  • an invisible zipper
  • organza, fusible tricot or this fabulous fusible stay tape in the 1 1/4″ width
  • an adjustable zipper foot
  • an invisible zipper foot – optional. I have inserted a zipper using this method with an adjustable zipper foot, but I always have such mixed results. This however is totally up to you.

Step 1 – Cut two 1 1/4″ strips of your stabilizer a few inches longer than the length of your zipper. Apply it to your zipper opening. Below I’ve used this precut fusible stay tape.

Step 2 – You will need to mark the seam allowance for the zipper opening. I prefer to temporarily press/steam the seam allowance in place, however, you can also use your own method for marking the seam line. To temporarily press something just give it a little bit of steam and finger press along your seam line.

Step 3 – Open the zipper with the zipper pull pulled all the way to the bottom of your zipper and with right sides together pin one side of the zipper tape to one free side of the zipper opening. Stitch in place. As you stitch from the top of the zipper to the bottom (or to the zipper pull, where you can’t stitch anymore) try to keep the zipper teeth out of the way of the machine needle with your finger. Stitch close to the zipper teeth being careful not to catch the zipper teeth. Backstitch a few times at the bottom of the zipper.

Step 4 – Pin the opposing side of the zipper the to the opposite seam allowance now. Repeat step 3 and stitch this side of the zipper from top to bottom.

Step 5 – Close the zipper. At the base of the zipper, pull up the free zipper tape with your fingers and spear a pin from one stitched side to the other. Stitch and backstitch in place with an adjustable zipper foot from just above the speared pin to the end of the garment.

Step 6 – Press your seam allowance open at the bottom of your zipper opening. Turn over and lightly press your zipper whilst closed. From here, you’re finished! Zip your zip up and down, making sure it doesn’t catch on anything and then sit back and admire your handiwork. You just inserted an invisible zipper!

A few things to consider:

Here’s some of my thoughts on invisible zips. These are things I’ve found out through experience as I’ve used this zipper application a bazillion times. Keep in mind that these are just my thoughts and you might have different ones – which is totally great too. I think we all have some strong opinions on invisible zips, here are mine:

  • I don’t ever put my iron directly on the zipper coils. This includes pressing open the zipper coils so that you can get closer to the zipper coils with your regular zipper foot. Every time I’ve put my iron directly on the teeth coils, the zipper has come apart AFTER I stitched it into the garment and while I was wearing it. Yeah, just rips right in the middle of the zipper too. Rips right apart, I tell you! I’ve done this more times than I care to admit (and I’ve seen it happen to others just as much because they did this very thing). Don’t do it! If you have to press an invisible zipper, only press the tape.
  • Invisible zippers have to be stabilized, in my opinion. They are so likely to warp. By that I mean that they bubble or the bottom jets out and looks really funky. Stabilize the zipper opening with the organza, fusible tricot, or stay tape and you’ll get a much better, stronger outcome.
  • Don’t use an invisible zipper on a garment that requires lots of stability or that is using the zipper to help keep something in place – aka a strapless gown, aka a bridal strapless gown with lots and lots of skirt layers. Since they’re the weakest of all zipper applications, I’ve found that they don’t do well in those types of garments. Better to have something much stronger and more durable and avoid a zipper blow out incredible hulk style.
  • Trim down bulky seams around a zipper. Grading, trimming and clipping corners are all good at helping keep invisible zippers zipping up and down without a hitch.

That’s about all I have to say about invisible zips. What are your thoughts? I admit, I do like the way invisible zips look. Enjoy!

May the odds be ever in your favor.

  • Ellie - I have a question which has always puzzled me when it comes to reinforcing around zips…. How would I attach the organza? I get how something fusible would attach, but how would I attach the organza without stitching showing through?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Ah! When you use silk organza, you’ll baste the strips of organza to the zipper opening using a smaller seam allowance. Since the seam allowance is going to be on the inside of the garment, it won’t show and once the zipper is inserted you can remove the basting stitches if desired. Since organza is stiff, its easy to sew with and usually won’t slip and slide around so tacking it down at the seam allowance works just fine (or you could even use a fusible web to hold it in place too). Hopefully this makes sense!ReplyCancel

  • Julia at Home on 129 Acres - It took me forever to start using invisible zippers, but now that I have, I love them. I haven’t experienced the splitting that you have, and fingers crossed I don’t. My biggest learning curve was how to match horizontal seams across the zipper (like a waist seam). After ripping out a few zippers, I finally thought it through and posted my own tutorial (it’s at if you don’t mind me sharing).ReplyCancel

    • lucy - Julia, your tip about basting is a good one. I would add that the basting only has to be in the area that the seams are in; much less to rip if you need to try again.

      I love invisible zippers and recommend them to all my students. They are so much easier to install and for young girls, my primary students, they yield much better results.ReplyCancel

  • ltinuviel - I think it’s pretty easy to put an invisible zipper on a two pieces of fabric. It’s harder to attach it to the pencil skirt in progress. And of course, the real mastership – attaching that zipper to the skirt and its lining. It doesn’t exist tutorial for that.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - You are right! It is pretty easy to put in a zipper on two pieces of fabric in the flat – which is why you put a zipper in a pencil skirt whilst keeping it in the flat for as long as possible. Also, in my Craftsy class there is a video tutorial for how to attach an invisible zipper with a lining – and I did it in a pencil skirt! Definitely check it out!ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - Your tutorial is what taught me how to do an invisible zipper successfully! I must have referred to it twenty times when I first started sewing! Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Doris - Sunni, thank you so much for this invisible zipper tutorial. I like the looks of them best in a dress especially. These other sewers that do the tutorials I think are in the selling business as much or more than teaching, and your way of putting in the precious invisible zip is just the best. Thank you! DorisReplyCancel

  • Anita Boeira - Oh my goodness! At last! Just tried this method and it worked so much better. I still need some practice, but this is the best zipper I ever sewed! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Favorite Pattern: Anna Dress, by Hand London | Anita Boeira - […] this is the first dress that I put a zipper I’m not embarrassed of! I used this tutorial from A Fashionable Stitch and it’s the best zipper I have ever sewed! It was pretty easy, but I need add a few more of […]ReplyCancel

  • Fiesta dress for Sew Dolly Clackett (By Hand London Anna dress) | Colette's sewing & stuff - […] it, but I wasn’t going to do it again!).  I referred to both Lauren’s tutorial and Sunni’s tutorial, as well as the By Hand London Anna […]ReplyCancel

  • no knitted knickers - I finished my first ever hand made item of clothing last weekend – a Ginger skirt from Colette – complete with an invisible zip. I watched endless tutorials and read countless blog posts and practised a few times on a scrap of fabric. But I’m embarrassed to say that I broke a needle on my first attempt because nowhere did it mention that the needle setting had to be centred. Never underestimate the ignorance of a novice! Thanks for the tutorial.ReplyCancel

care package


Whilst in the throes of Project Sewn, I contacted Lauren about exchanging care packages. Its something that I’ve seen other bloggers do for each other and to be honest, I was totally jealous that I hadn’t got myself in on this action! I think, if ever there was a time that I needed it, its been this season in my life. Owning a brick and mortar shop and allllllllllllllllllllllll of the stuff that goes with that is beyond anything you might imagine hard. Since this past November I’ve had my share of crazy. And to be frank, it diminishes your spirit big time. Some days it really does seem like one big let down after another. Why, just yesterday, I had to deal with the weirdest, most surprising situation yet. Seriously, every single day there seems to be a new thing. And the last thing I need right now, is another thing. Sigh….


So I thought it was definitely time for a care package. The idea of receiving one got me unbelievably excited (especially cuz I could use a treat in a real bad way) and the idea of putting one together for someone else put me over the moon. Lauren’s been on my radar for some time and I finally got up the nerve to ask her about it. I have a serious girl crush on Lauren. Like, she says things that I would totally love to say and I look up to her “I don’t take crap from anyone” attitude. Oh my goodness! She has a fabulous sense of humor and she’s real down to earth and she lives in Nashville. She’s supah time warp sewing fast and everything she sews catches my attention and I always think about ripping off her stuff because I love her makes. I’ve read Lauren’s blog forever (I’m pretty sure since just after she started writing one) and I can only imagine meeting her in real life.



So this last week, we exchanged some seriously stupendous care packages. I had to show you glimpses of what Lauren put together for me because it was/felt/is really special. Some crazy fab fabric and wonderful notions, patterns and oh my gosh my favorite – this pretty little dish (I’m thinking small buttons or pins would be lovely in here) and (I die!) these strawberry buttons with matching green buckle slide. She wrote me a lovely note and is pretty much the best sewing friend ever!


Now, let’s talk some straightness here. I’m not posting this to make you feel jealous (though if you were a little green with envy I totally wouldn’t blame you) but more to tell you that you should do something like this with a sewing friend that you know in real life or through the interwebs. It’s unbelievably wonderful to receive a sewing care package, especially when you know that you really really need one. I felt totally spoiled when I received Lauren’s package and it was such fun putting together a care package for Lauren. So fun! Oh happy day!

Now, back to the business of being well, businessy. And sewing up all this sewing goodness too. Cheers!

  • Leslie - Lauren is a gas, isn’t she. Press the foot to the pedal! Your package is so special and unique. Enjoy.ReplyCancel

  • Doris - Sunni girl, you are way too young and pretty to be feeling overwhelmed with all the businessy shop stuff. With your personality and sewing smarts and great tastes, you will go far. Hugs, DorisReplyCancel

  • Nhi - Aw this is just too sweet. I love the idea of a care package. We all need a little fun surprise in our life. Especially you with all the craziness that comes with the business.ReplyCancel

  • EmSewCrazy - That is a pretty amazing package! What a great pick me up. Thanks for the encouragement to reach out to a friend!ReplyCancel

  • Eileen - This is such an unbelievably wonderful idea! I haven’t received a care package since I was in university and my mom sent me one. To get a sewing care package??? I’d be over the moon! Glad to hear that your lovely package picked up your spirits a little….ReplyCancel

  • Miss Crayola Creepy - That’s so awesome that you two were able to swap gifts! Rochelle at Lucky Lucille and I send each other gifts every now and then and it always brightens my day to receive them. It TOTALLY makes my day when I get her thank you texts when she receives mine :) I’m so thankful for my sewing friends on the world wide web!ReplyCancel

  • lisa g - what a great care package! running a shop kinda sounds like life with kids… you hope at some point a day will run smoothly, and it never does! things you can’t even possibly imagine happen and it’s easy to get frustrated with the negative. i hope you can look back and see that you’ve done a great job. take pride in the small accomplishments because they do add up!ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn - Yep, I’m kinda jealous. Lauren is one of my favourite bloggers (blogesses?) too. A care pkg from her would be guaranteed to be awesome – and it was!
    I’ve started dabbling a very little into the sewing-stuff-swap with a friend who’s currently living in Germany. We had our first round a couple months ago and she sent me a piece of silk twill with the most beautiful butterfly print on it, like ‘high fashion’ butterflies, lol. It’s going to make a gorgeous something!
    Reading posts like this make me want to do more. I do need to do a major purge of my outrageously huge stash this spring…..anyone wanna play with me? ;o)ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - Aw yeah! I’m so thrilled you liked everything in the package – because I had so much fun picking everything out and putting it all together! Not to mention, receiving your care package was pretty fun too :D yay! Sewing care packages are the best :) ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - When I was quilting, the blog ladies used to organize a Christmas swap. All handmade goodies, I sent one package to Norway, I’m in Canada. It was so exciting to receive than also to wait for your secret partner to post that they received their package.ReplyCancel

  • The Nerdy Seamstress - This is so awesome. I would love to meet some sewing friends too. Sewing care packages are the best, especially coming from someone that put thought and care into the package. You’re one lucky gal!ReplyCancel

  • Rochelle New - Care packages are THE best! I really think there should be a thing where people who really need a sewing boost, or a general pick-me-up, can put themselves on a list to get a special present in the mail from a fellow sewer. Like a secret santa but year round and it doesn’t have to be a secret. Someone should make that a thing. Lord knows I have enough stuff in my stash that needs a good home…ReplyCancel

  • Colleen - Let’s get this out of the way: LAUREN IS THE BEST.

    And, I’m really bowled over by the lovelies she put together for you. The strawberries!!!!! I hope that the high and the long-distant hug you got from these sort of overrides any real crazy you have lingering. And, I really hope smoother seas are ahead. It would only be fair. xoxReplyCancel

Portrait of the seamstress as a young lass


It’s my birthday today. Oh my goodness, I’m 32. That’s me above, when I was 5 – my first day of kindergarten, wearing one of my favorite sweaters exploding in small white hearts. I have a soft spot for fabrics with hearts, rainbows or strawberries (and that was totally a strawberry necklace you saw me wear yesterday!) – that’s definitely the 80s kid in me. Most definitely. I think my mom digs hearts too because you can see lots of hearts behind me on that wall (photo above). So definitely an 80s childhood and genetic thing.

It’s been an exciting and fun last few years. Gosh, I’ve had a blog for a long time. Like for as long as I’ve been married and that’s been 6 years! It’s been wonderful meeting you – in real life and online – and its been such a wonderful outlet to be able to write here and share what I do with you. I’ve been through a lot of stuff and you’ve been right there with me: lame day job, transitioning to a burgeoning online shop, tailor’s hams and seam roll sets (which I don’t make anymore, sad…), taking on the challenge of owning a real life store, a dress that nearly claimed my life and lots and lots of other sewing fun.

I’m excited for what this year will bring for me. Can’t believe I’m 32. Its interesting to see what life has in store for you which may or may not be what you have in store for yourself. Roll with the punches, right? Here’s to living a full life! Yay! And surrounding yourself with those you love – and that includes you, dear readers!

I’m off to eat homemade hamburgers and fries (yes, I’m a total garbage gut, yessssss) and begging my husband for that pair of shoes that I’ve been drooling over for weeks. I mean, you’re only 32 once right? Hip Hip Hooray!

  • Maggie - Happy Birthday!! I have so enjoyed reading your blog for the past few years (I think I came in around year 4) and have been inspired by your passion, courage, perseverance and, of course, your style! I hope you have a fabulous day, you deserve it :) ReplyCancel

  • Alaskapsych - Happy birthday, Sunni! It’s my birthday too! (But I am much older). Enjoy the day!ReplyCancel

  • Joanne - Happy Birthday! Here’s to a great new year, full of new, great things!ReplyCancel

  • Sandra - Happy birthday Sunni, thanks for the posts and tutorials! Wishing you a fabulous 2014.ReplyCancel

  • Sewcial warrior - Happy Birthday! Being 32 isn’t that bad, I turned 32 November 2013 so remember the 80′s fondly too. Have a great day, and enjoy the hamburger. Yum yum!ReplyCancel

  • Nakisha - Awww! Adorable!

    Happy Birthday! It’s ALLLL uphill from here! ;-)

    I love my 30s so much more than my 20s!ReplyCancel

  • Stevie - Happy Birthday Sunni! You have done amazing things and we have loved reading about them! I still have a sleeve roll and tailors ham you made and I use them almost everytime I sew. I’d love to see you’re store one day but its a long way from the UK!

    I hope that husband spoils you today xxxxxReplyCancel

  • Debbie - Happy Birthday, and many more. You are an inspiration to me!!! Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Cadi - Oh my goodness, it’s my birthday today too! :) Happiest Birthday dear Sunni! Enjoy your day, eat all the things, and I speak from experience as a now 36 year old, 32 is a great year. Thanks for everything you share with us!ReplyCancel

  • Graca - Happy Birthday! Thirty-two, you’re still a young one! Hope you have an awesome day and the hubby surprises you with those shoes.ReplyCancel

  • Becky - Happy, Happy Birthday! You can’t believe you are 32? LOL! I just had a birthday a couple of months ago, and I can’t believe I’m 63! Enjoy your life, it will seem so short when you get to my age. You were and are such a cutie!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - Happy birthday! I’m sure you will make whatever comes to you this year a success, you always do!ReplyCancel

  • lisa g - what a cute pic! happy birthday–hope you get those shoes! ;-) ReplyCancel

  • zilredloh - Happy b-day Sunni! Hope you have a wonderful day/weekend celebrating ahead of you. :) ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - How cute!!! Happy birthday!!!ReplyCancel

  • Tasha - Yay, happy birthday from a fellow April baby! (I’m next Thursday, woot.) And how holy stinking cute are you as a kidlet! Cheers to 32 for you, and hoping the next year brings lots of great challenges and fun.ReplyCancel

  • Houseofpinheiro - Happy birthday… In two months we will be the same age.. How time goes..ReplyCancel

  • maddie - Happy birthday, Sunni!ReplyCancel

  • janna - Happy Birthday :-) Hope you day is fun filled.ReplyCancel

  • Rochelle New - A very happiest of birthdays to you, Dear!! I hope this year is your most spectaculous one yet. You have a whole lotta things to be proud of so far. Keep it up :) ReplyCancel

  • Maris Olsen - Happy birthday Sunni! May the coming year be full of blessings, love and joy!ReplyCancel

  • lloubb - what a cute pic! cheers!ReplyCancel

  • Sewing Princess - Happy birthday Sunni! You are also an April lady like myself. You have the loveliest hair color! I have been following your adventures since 2010 and I am very proud of your endeavors! To many more happy yearsReplyCancel

  • Vanisha - Happy birthday! Grateful for your blog sharing of beautiful sewing and sew grateful for your shop!ReplyCancel

  • Rory - No wonder I like your blog so much — we share a birthday. Studies show that the best people are born on 4-4. Hope you had a great day!ReplyCancel

  • Gail - Happy birthday, Sunni!ReplyCancel

  • Tasia - Have a wonderful birthday, Sunni! Hope 32 is a great year for you!ReplyCancel

best dressed


Here’s the Simplicity 1654 finale! Ha ha! Since I already had this white leather jacket that I made and never blogged from last year, you’re getting a double dose of sewing goodness today. I’m seriously, seriously surprised at the outcome of this dress. I had some pretty grave doubts that this pattern would pass muster. I have no idea why, I just did. But I’m wonderfully, pleasantly surprised. Yes. I love it when stuff like that happens.



In true commercial pattern style, the bodice is the only part lined via the instructions. For this dress in particular, I would rather have the entire dress lined, so that’s what I did, in rayon bemberg lining. I tried a new technique for lining this type of bodice style – meaning that it doesn’t have sleeves which can give some cause for serious pause. I’ve tried lining sleeveless bodices before, several times and each without success. But it just so happens that I agreed to alter a dress for a customer at my shop – perish the thought, right?!? To make a long story short, I found a RTW way to sew a lining to a sleeveless bodice without too much fuss and without leaving a shoulder seam open in the lining or having to do bindings at the neck or the armhole. All this due to an alteration I had to think fast with. I’m tempted to create a video tutorial for it, but we’ll see. Needless to say, this dress is lined pretty beautifully.


I’m pretty happy with the fit of this dress. I had to take in the waist about 1 inch and with the alteration I did to the neckline for the strap, this is actually one very comfortable dress. And seriously, those two little fitting alterations were the only alterations I did! For me, this pattern fit quite well, especially for all the stuff that’s going on here. It happens all too often that I’ll go a little nuts and make the bodice section a little too snug and then once I’ve eaten a meal, the only thing I can think of is tearing that dress right off. I took extra care NOT to do that here. There’s still some nice eating room which the practical girl in me loves. And this lovely aqua linen – it will be super fantasmic come summer when the heat is roasting the skin right off my bones!


This is actually the second round for this bodice. The second round has the bodice entirely interfaced with a very lightweight tricot like interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. The first round was not interfaced and there was rippling in ever single seam. Yikes. So I block fused the bodice, recut it all out and things went much better. Just something to keep in mind if you are planning to make this dress in a lightweight fabric that could benefit from stabilization.


Now you’re probably wondering about the jacket. It’s McCall’s 6611 (now out of print even though I swear this pattern just came out last year??) and its leather. I made it last spring and never said a word about it here. There’s actually several things from last year that you haven’t seen. Anyway, this was my first time dealing with leather and I have to say, its such a controversial textile! In that so many people have so many different opinions on how to work with it. Unfortunately, I didn’t do enough research about it and ended up listening to everyone and everything and well, it shows were you to look hard enough. You can actually tailor a leather jacket. That means you can apply interfacing and that also means that you can press it too. You just don’t want to press it with steam. Moisture damages leather, heat doesn’t. This is lambskin and it took 4 hides. Additionally, for such a small jacket, I didn’t have enough hides. So I had to go to my local leather place (there’s actually a few in Utah, crazy enough) and I bought a deer hide to go with my lambskin. The deer hide didn’t quite match so I pieced the front panels together so that it looked intentional. I think the jacket is OK, but to be honest, not my favorite. Meh. I lined the jacket and ended up tacking those front lapel pieces in place since they flopped around like a fish out of water when they weren’t tacked down. Still a wearable jacket though and wear it I will with this dress for Spring! Yay!


Now off to finish up some much needed tops, friends! Ciao!

  • oonaballoona - oh. my. GAH. sunni. just take the perfect shade of blue and make it into a masterpiece and make me choke on my morning coffee. is that a coverstitch on those seamlines? and that jacket is swoony as well! would you like it better if you belted it?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Thanks Oona! I do love this particular shade of blue. The topstitched seamlines on the bodice are actually just….zig-zagged. That’s what the pattern actually called for and at first I was skeptical, but it looks pretty darn awesome in the end. Totally worth a try.

      Hadn’t thought about belting the jacket, but definitely worth a try. Ohhhh!!ReplyCancel

  • Doris - I hope you do come up with an easy technique for lining on video. I can do it but would love to see your version. Hugs, DorisReplyCancel

  • Kathy - I love the details on the bodice of that dress. Takes it from a great dress to a spectacular dress.ReplyCancel

  • seamsoddlouise - Beautiful dress and jacket. That colour is perfect on you. Wow. The top-stitching is beautiful too really funky and modern.ReplyCancel

  • shannon c. - Your dress is gorgeous! Also, I’d love love love a video tutorial on how you did the lining. I have made several sleeveless lined dresses and never found a satisfactory way of finishing it all.ReplyCancel

  • Kely - Love the dress! The lines are so interesting and the colors really make the dress come alive.ReplyCancel

  • Maggie - I had some doubts when I saw the first post of this dress, but I am eating my words! This dress is gorgeous!! I thought all that front stitching would be too busy, but it works out so nicely. And that color of linen is to die for! Just beautiful.

    My hand is also raised for the lining tutorial, please :) ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - I had serious doubts too – I just didn’t know if the bodice would work all that well on me and with the topstitching…. But I’m totally pleasantly surprised. A definitely a-list pattern in my book.ReplyCancel

  • Elena - I love everything about this outfit — dress, jacket, red shoes. What a great look for you!ReplyCancel

  • Tasha - video please!ReplyCancel

  • sallie - Absolutely stunning, Sunni!! That blue looks so SO gorgeous on you! And I love the coverstitch detail to highlight those awesome geometric seamlines. The white leather jacket… don’t even get me started!! I’m a huge HUGE fan of working with leather, and YES I just realized to that it actually loves being pressed and interfaced and all the rest. I also remember loving that pattern and now I’m kicking myself for not picking it up when I had the chance. It’s a great modern jacket for spring!ReplyCancel

  • Sam - Wow! This is a gorgeous outfit. I love both pieces, but the dress bodice in particular is fabulous.ReplyCancel

  • Angela - I LOVE that dress — just gorgeous! Those seam details! And I also really love the jacket, too:)ReplyCancel

  • linB - If the back or the front is open, in two pieces, it is indeed quite easy to line a garment without having to futz about with the shoulder seam. There are at least two good techniques for lining vests, that are easily transferable to other bodice linings. First, sew the shoulder seams together on fashion fabric and lining fabric. Put them right sides together, and sew the armholes together (it’s like a big letter C) and sew the neckline together, all the way to the opening edge. Turn garment right side out — thread the open side through the shoulder seam tunnel. Press neck and armholes.
    Now, put right sides together at the side seams. You can either sew one long seam starting at the bottom, fashion-to-fashion up to the armhole seam and down the other side, lining to lining; or you can sandwich one side within the other (the Gold Medal technique). I much prefer the one-long-seam technique, as it does not leave an annoying jog of fabric at the bottom of the armhole.
    Lastly, poke the entire vest inside itself to put right sides together for the opening and bottom of the garment. Leave an unsewn bit for turning the nearly-finished garment right side out. Sew that hole closed somehow, and press, and put in fasteners. NB: With a zipped garment, you’ll have to wait for Sunni’s tutorial, as I avoid slide fasteners whenever possible.ReplyCancel

  • Susanne - I’m so glad to see that someone else has finally made this dress! I just made a muslin for it and I’m getting ready to cut it out in a plum-colored linen/rayon blend. Still trying to decide if I want to brave the topstitching…ReplyCancel

  • Lucinda - Sunni, that blue looks wonderful on you! You’ve convinced me that I need to add a light blue dress and white blazer to my closet for spring. I think I love the dress even more because of the contrast stitching on the seam lines, it really makes them pop and stand out. Fabulous!!ReplyCancel

  • petite josette - I’ve used this tutorial before to line a sleeveless bodice.

    I don’t know if it’s the same as your method, but it’s pretty straight forward.
    The dress is looking really nice, it’s a great colour on you!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Oh thanks! It’s not the same method that I did, but definitely another thing to try. Those blasted sleeveless linings!ReplyCancel

  • tracy - Dear heavens, I love everything about this. I love how you stay true to your own style. It inspires me. That’s why I love reading you.ReplyCancel

  • threadheap - This is beyond gorgeous. The pattern looks crazy scary but you may have given me the push to give it a go — seriously, I had to stop and just stare at your picture for a while before I could even process the words on the rest of this page. Amazing.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - I thought it looked kind of scary too, but its way way easy! Definitely go for it!ReplyCancel

  • maddie - Best dressed indeed. It’s amazing how much interfacing makes a difference and it certainly shows that it did wonders with this make.ReplyCancel

  • Janette - That is beautiful! I love the shape. so, so flattering. I need to give this pattern a second look!

    I would also love to see a tutorial on lining a sleeveless dress. I can’t tell you how often I’ve put off sewing a dress because it needs lining. I’ve only done one – a cambie – and that isn’t the same process as a normal sleeveless dress. I’m a horrible hand sewer so anything more machine based is great!ReplyCancel

  • Ann - Could there possibly be a better shade of blue to complement your red hair? I think not. You look absolutely beautiful in this dress, and I love every detail. The topstitching looks perfect. I would very much appreciate the lining tutorial that you have suggested you might do.ReplyCancel

  • Karen - Beautiful. Love the color and the top-stitching.
    Simplicity 3620 is where I learned to do the easiest lining insertion for sleeveless garments. I use it for all my sleeveless projects, whether I’m doing lining or facings. I’m curious to hear/see the method you used.ReplyCancel

  • Siobhan - That colour really pops on you, it looks great! Actually the whole outfit is fantastic. And kudos for making a leather jacket, that’s pretty intense-level sewing!

    Do you know why the instructions would call for you to line the whole bodice rather than do an all-in-one facing? Is it preference or for a particular reason?ReplyCancel

  • Gail - I really love the fresh blue with white leather. The top stitching gives the dress some real interest and highlights the design lines. Always enjoy your posts.ReplyCancel

  • Hana - Gorgeous dress!! It looks so great on you :) Love the fabric, color and the dress detail. It matched well with the jacket too. Beautiful work as always :-) ReplyCancel

  • Maris Olsen - Love.this.dress. Fabric, color, fit – it just rocks. Looks so pretty and feminine on you, Sunni. Enjoy the heck out of it!ReplyCancel

  • Birgit - This dress is so beautiful! And I am jealous of your lining skills! I would love you to do a video tutorial (but no pressure ;) ) You look fabulous!ReplyCancel

  • Erin - I have loved this pattern from the first time I saw it. I attempted a version for New Year’s but it became quite bastardized through choice of fabric and fitting woes that the only thing recognizable was the notched out V-neckline. You’ve inspired me to try it again. Yours is so lovely.ReplyCancel

  • Portrait of the seamstress as a young lass » A Fashionable Stitch - […] fabrics with hearts, rainbows or strawberries (and that was totally a strawberry necklace you saw me wear yesterday!) – that’s definitely the 80s kid in me. Most definitely. I think my mom does too […]ReplyCancel

  • Margaret - Your dress came out great! I love the color and it makes me think of Spring. (It’s been raining for three days…) Happy Birthday as well. May this year be better and better.ReplyCancel

  • lisa g - this dress turned out beautifully! it’s always a fine line between “fit” and “comfortable fit.” looks like you nailed it! i love the color and the contrast stitching, and it is so cute with the jacket!ReplyCancel

  • Raquel - Love it! I couldn’t visualize the final dress from the muslin, but the final dress is lovely!ReplyCancel

  • crab&bee - The lines on the bodice are so cool. And I would love to see how you lined the bodice!ReplyCancel

  • Tasha - Ooh, love seeing the dress finished! So flattering on you. I the contrast stitching on the bodice. I know I for one would love seeing the technique you used for lining it, because I know I’m going to want to sew some sleeveless summer dresses but haven’t wrapped my brain around lining.

    And though you might not consider the jacket a total winner it looks absolutely fantastic! What a great pairing with the dress. :) ReplyCancel

  • stillsewing - Absolutely love this dress. In your fitting did you use 2 – 3 inches of ease in the bust? as you suggested in your ease chart many moons ago. This dress looks absolutely fabulous on you – it would not suit that many people so well.

    The jacket is a credit to you as well but, in my mind it begs the question, why are there so many American patterns with peplums? I find that they add to the fitting problems with jackets without contributing to the overall look of the jacket. By this I mean that with a peplum you need to keep the jacket buttoned up at all times. Just my opinion! I suppose this comes from my experience of not having a fitting “buddy”

    Anyway keep up the good work, it such a pleasure to see your work each week.ReplyCancel

  • Jackie - Love this colour on you , and the fit is sublime, you look great ! also ,totally irrelevant but can I just say ,I think you have quite a look of Joanne Woodward . Considering she was married to the most beautiful man ever to walk the planet , you should take that as a complimet !ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - Gorgeous dress!ReplyCancel

Something Splendid


Though we specialize in fine apparel fabric at the store front shop, we have a wide variety of customers who do things other than make apparel with our fabrics. Its actually really refreshing to see because it expands the mind and gives pause to other creative outlets to pursue and even incorporate into apparel sewing – I mean, at least this is what it does for me.


I’ve known that piecing something in silk dupioni or shantung would be gorgeous, I just didn’t realize how gorgeous until I saw the whole thing put together in a really creative, exciting and colorful way. Tina Lewis, who is a contributor to Stitch Magazine and who also lives here in Utah, dropped by to show us what she’s done with some of our fabric. Enter now: a pieced clutch.


Is this so fun or what? Makes me what to make my own! I love this! I wish you could see it in person too, because its even more exciting as I stand here taking photos of it. This was one of Tina’s contributions to Stitch Magazine this time around and so if you too are interested in creating your own clutch like this (from fabulous silk dupioni or shantung!!!) you need to go buy yourself up a copy of the mag.


Do you sew something other than apparel? If so, what? I’m loving the versatility of a bright and happy clutch like this. Doing it out of something other than quilting cotton is even more exciting – not that quilting cotton is bad, its just fun to see that envelope pushed a little, you know. What do you think?

  • Doris - For me, compared to making garments for an old dilapidated body, this is pure me time play! So fun and relaxing and not only that, good for you!ReplyCancel

  • Doris - Sunni, your notions are the top notch best and truly necessary ‘for real,’ for all garment making and fun projects. There is an old saying; a good seamstress is a well equipped seamstress. Truer words were never spoken!ReplyCancel

  • Suzie - Oh wow, wow, WOW – that clutch is a work of art. Just so beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Sue @ A Colourful Canvas - Fabulous!!! I do sew things other than apparel. I sew for the home…I call my slipcovers dresses for furniture, :). And I sew accessories like bags! This one is absolutely gorgeous! I am all inspired!!ReplyCancel

  • Mercedes - How beautiful!!! Very good idea.ReplyCancel

  • Mary Solan Avison - Having retired 10 years ago I have started to broaden my sewing challenges. Over the years I have made everything from hats to socks (from fleece) and then when i acquired a house – curtains, cushions, chair backs wall hangings etc. I love when I can make something that is not available in the shops.

    But in the past few years I joined a patchwork class and believe me it is addictive and as I don’t need any quilts I find myself making covers for mobile phone, Ipads, wallets, and by now all my friends must have struck lucky as I don’t have the need for more than one of each.. Your photo once again has given me ideas but as I made one quilted {but plain} clutches last year I will have to restrain myself.

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention as it does widen our sewing challenges, and keep up the good work.


  • Siri - Swoon!!!! Such lovely colors, and interesting shapes :) ReplyCancel

  • MADDIE - Beautiful clutch indeed. Even from the photos, I can see the intricacy that went into its making. Thanks for sharing Tina’s feature; I’ll have to check out the tutorial in Stitch Magazine.

    The only non garment sewing I do is lingerie. I’m not sure if that it can be called a “non garment,” but anything other than clothing I fit into that definition.ReplyCancel

  • Shannon C. - I’m an art quilter (though I sew lots of more utilitarian things like clothes and bags too), and I love using apparel fabrics for my quilts. I don’t piece much and I love the way apparel fabrics add a totally different texture to my work than cotton. I’ve recently been experimenting with different ways of doing raw edge work and I love how easy it is to melt/seal the edges of many non-cotton textiles. That clutch is gorgeous- piecing with silks is challenging, so kudos to the maker!ReplyCancel

  • Serac - Love that clutch. Beautiful colors and so well put together! I do make non-wearable items, mostly pillows for my home and bags, more utilitarian than the clutch and no where near as beautiful, but useful for an art student who has to carry around a lot of sometimes seemingly random things.ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - Wow! This is amazing!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Alaskapsych - That is sharp! I make patchworked wallets and non-patchworked handbags!ReplyCancel

  • liza jane - Gorgeous!!ReplyCancel

  • Sufiya - That is Seminole patchwork, isn’t it? STUNNING.ReplyCancel

  • Tracey - Hi there Sunni! How are you? I did see that bag in Stitch Magazine, it is really amazing and so neat that you were able to see it in person. It looks so complicated- and beautiful. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • - This is amazing! I love this clutch!ReplyCancel

  • Gail - I tend to focus on clothes not accessories, but I do admire this clutch. One day…ReplyCancel