Hi Friends! Things have been happening at a rather alarming pace and well, I’ve decided to officially take a blogging break. I mean, it’s not like you wouldn’t know that with me not posting for a couple of weeks here already, but since I’ve received a few friendly emails inquiring about my whereabouts, I thought I would make an official announcement. A blogging break it is.
I’m not sure how long its going to be. I just need a break from things that are giving me creative pause and my blog has been giving me creative pause for some time now. Hard to admit, for sure, but its true. I love blogging and I want to bring you great info, but I can’t do that when I’m feeling burned out and a little bored by it. So I’m going to be having a little blogging retreat to try and rejuvenate my thoughts about where I want to go from here. I imagine it will be a couple more weeks before you see me around here again.
The online shop is also going to be closed for a bit. We’re reaching critically low levels of stock and I need to work on getting that back up.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I wasn’t in an intense season of life at the moment. I’m working on becoming balanced. Yup, that’s the word. Balanced. I think a break is just the thing. See you soon!
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.
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!
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!
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!