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1  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: Things I have learned about sewing (feel free to add...) on: December 23, 2008 08:07:05 PM
This is such a cool thread.  Cheesy  I will add...

* If your mom or grandma sewed, she's a better sewer than you.

* Sewing machine covers have a purpose, use them.  Ditto for sewing machine oil!

* Thou shalt not go into a fabric store without a plan.  Dare ye not succumb.  Cheesy

* Finishing the seams is extra work, but it's always, ALWAYS worth it.

* Walking barefoot near my sewing machine is a recipe for sharp, foot-related disasters.
2  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: What are your bad sewing habits? on: December 23, 2008 07:15:28 PM
* Not paying attention to grainlines.  This will probably come back to bite me in the a$$ when the panels of my skirts are going four different directions...but so far, so good.   Wink

* Underestimating the total completion time for a project.  I usually end up having to do muslins, and this adds so much time...which usually results in me staying up really late the night before I'm supposed to wear something.  (Happened TWICE in the last six months.)

* Buying pattern after pattern after pattern that all look pretty much the same...yoked A-line skirts, what?   Tongue  And then never making any of them!  Very bad.  (Consolation: they're always on sale!)

* I never, ever baste anything that doesn't absolutely require it except invisible zippers.

* I fudge a lot of things...A LOT.  (If you've seen the inside of a garment I've made, you'll know what I'm talking about.)

And on and on.   Wink
3  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Invisible zipper tutorial, WITHOUT the invisible zip foot! **VERY IMG HEAVY** on: December 19, 2008 09:50:06 PM
By popular demand on another thread, I prespammed....a tutorial on invisible zippers WITHOUT using an invisible zip foot!   Cheesy  Yep, it can be done, and here's photographic proof!  I did make a Flickr set of these pictures, but Craftster posting guidelines require pics in the post, so here they are.  (People with slow connections, I'm sorry!)  However, there are more pics on the Flickr set, so please click the link at the bottom to see some more details, like notes and comments.  Smiley

So here we go.......before you start, make sure your zipper foot is in good condition, and you have some patience and maybe some calm music playing.   Grin  The gelatin time I did this, it took me 3 tries!  (And that was AFTER discovering that the plastic Coast & Clark invisible zipper foot didn't fit my machine!  Aarrgghhh.)  Also, it's VERY IMPORTANT that NO PART of the seam be stitched -- leave it completely open!!  This is very important.  You should be starting with just one invisible zipper and two unfinished raw edges of the seam.   Smiley

Step 1 -- Iron the zipper teeth.  This is kind of hard to explain, but if the top of this picture is North, iron the teeth North.   Wink  You can see the bottom set of teeth are not ironed yet, while the top are -- they are lying flat, while the other ones are still curled up.

Step 2 -- If the zip is a light color, I like to draw a line where I'm going to stitch as a guide.  I used water-erasable ink in this one, but I've also used permanent dark pen very lightly...because nobody will ever see the inside of the zipper teeth.   Tongue

Step 3 -- Sew a line of contrasting basting stitches on your fabric at 5/8" -- standard seam allowance.  These are just for guiding you when you pin the zip, you'll remove them later.  

(Just a close-up of the basting stitches -- I used green on my fabric so I could see them easily:

Step 4 -- Pin the zipper teeth on the line of basting stitches AS SHOW EXACTLY in this pic!!  Note the position of the zipper stop (upside-down on the bottom) and you are working on the RIGHT SIDE of the fabric.  It's kinda weird -- the left side of the zip gets pinned to the open seam on the right.  This picture will help you!  Do it EXACTLY like this.   Wink

Here's a closeup of the bottom of the zip and how it is pinned:

Step 5 -- Make sure your regular zip foot is attached properly, and you'll need to adjust it accordingly -- without thread or fabric, turn your machine's handwheel and make sure that the needle just passes next to the presser foot in its down position -- you want it pretty close, but not too close as to hit the foot!  (That would be fairly diastrous!)  I have notes on the Flickr picture for this one, you might want to check out the set for more details!

Step 6 -- Position the presser foot on the zipper tape just like in this picture, the zip foot should be close to the zipper teeth, the foot will help the needle stay close to the teeth as you sew.


Step 7 -- Begin sewing, very carefully and slowly along the zipper teeth.  You should be able to see your stitching line (drawn in the beginning) clearly, but just make sure the needle is really butted up against the teeth!  But take care not to snag the thread or needle ON the teeth, that's a disaster too.  (Ask me how I know!)  Sew all the way up to the top of the zipper tape, and do some backstitching to hold it securely.


Step 8 -- Pin the other side just as you did the gelatin side -- this pic shows the left side all stitched and the right side is just pinned on and ready for sewing.  Note how the zip is stitched on the RIGHT SIDE of the fabric -- if you can visualize it in your head, when everything is done, the zip will sort of turn in on itself and not show any of the teeth when it closes.  (Confusing yes, but it will make sense -- and if you want to make sure you're doing it right, close the zip before you pin the second side.  It should look pretty similar to how it will when it's finished, with no teeth visible on the stitched side and a little part of the seam covering the zip.  The point of an invisible zip is to be just that, which you are accomplishing by sewing really close to those teeth!)

Step 9 -- After you have finished sewing the zip to both sides of the open seam, close the zip and pull the tail out the way completely -- pin the rest of the seam closed, and sew it up.  I usually use my zip foot for this too, as it lets me stay close to the stitching line.  I'm very sorry i don't have a better pic of this step.   Sad


And that's it!   Cheesy  At this point, I like to carefully sew the zipper tape to the seam allowance, because it kinda flops around (because you sewed so close to the teeth, there's a lot of extra zipper tape left) -- but if you use some Fray-Chek you could just cut off the remainder I guess.  (I've never tried it!)

This is a picture of what a finished invisible zip looks like using this method:

Far from perfection, but I think it looks pretty good.   Wink

Anyways, this is the link to the Flickr set -- click thru for more pictures, details and notes.  Smiley


Comments, questions, thoughts, constructive criticism very much welcome.  Smiley

And believe me, once you get the hang of this zip, you won't want to do anything else!  It's really a nice finishing touch and I find it easier now than lapped or regular zippers!  Good luck, everyone!

(P.S.  If anybody has seen this B&W floral fabric online or in person, pretty please let me know!  Smiley )
4  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Re: Orange pillowcase w/zipper TUTORIAL on: December 13, 2008 12:53:47 PM
So cute and super-easy too!  I am going to refashion a bathrobe (yes, you read that correctly) into some pillows today.  Thanks so much for posting this.   Cheesy
5  CLOTHING / Sewing Pattern Reviews / Re: New Look 6723 - Audrey Hepburn-esque dress (4 pics) on: September 07, 2008 03:19:29 PM
Thanks, everyone!   Smiley

To runnermom100863: Doing the invisible zip was kind of a process...but a very rewarding one!  I am working on a skirt that I will be putting an invisible zipper in, so I'll take pictures of the process and post them for you ASAP, as it's a lot easier to explain with visual aids than without!   Smiley

In the meantime, check out this tutorial for a rudimentary explanation.
6  CLOTHING / Sewing Pattern Reviews / Re: Butterick 4443 - strapless dress (3 pics) on: September 07, 2008 03:08:52 PM
Thank you, everyone!!   Cheesy  I hunted everywhere for the perfect green fabric, I scored big-time with this one.

To sarap1979: Yep, pretty much!   Smiley  This pattern only calls for a bodice lining, but I like the finished feel of a skirt lining too.
7  CLOTHING / Sewing Pattern Reviews / New Look 6723 - Audrey Hepburn-esque dress (4 pics) on: September 07, 2008 12:51:08 AM
I made this to wear to a cocktail-attire wedding, and it turned out fantastically.  I used purple poly shantung and a black poly lining, and I love it.

(It just came out of the garment bag, please excuse the wrinkles!)

It took a few muslins to get the bodice just right -- a review on PR said the sweetheart neckline was really low, and the boatneck was a little prim, so I made a hybrid, and it worked great.   Smiley  I also made the back piece just a little wider, it wasn't quite matching up at the very bottom.

I used an invisible zipper for the first time, and I am totally sold on this now, it's such a nice finishing touch!  And I did it with a regular zip foot...carefully!  Smiley

It needs a hook and eye up top, but I didn't have time to add one in...I will soon!

All in all, this dress was very straightforward and simple to make.  After I got the bodice to fit perfectly, everything else was cake.  I will probably make a non-gathered-skirt version of this dress for next spring!
8  CLOTHING / Sewing Pattern Reviews / Butterick 4443 - strapless dress (3 pics) on: September 07, 2008 12:39:58 AM
I started this pattern in spring '07 to wear to my sister's wedding brunch...but something got messed up and it didn't fit up top, and then I lost weight and it didn't fit anywhere!  So I ended up taking all of it apart and remaking it to fit me for a wedding party this year...with great success!   Smiley

This pattern was great -- pretty easy once I got the fit of the bodice just right with a muslin (no boning, yay!  Interfacing in the bodice and a lining helps it stay up!).  The princess seams are so flattering and easy to alter (tip: get a tailor's ham for pressing them, it's the best notion EVAH!), and the A-line skirt is fantastic.

The back of the dress is a tad wonky because I added the contrast banding after inserting the zipper, but a strategically placed button and hook and eye help conceal my error a little...wearing a cardigan over it helps too.   Wink

I added a full lining (cotton batiste) because it felt more finished with one...the green fabric is white cotton with a little stretch from Joann's and the pink banding is some kind of linen blend.

I'm very happy with this dress, it fits like a dream, and I'd definitely make it again.  I'm eyeing the v-neck version for next summer!   Smiley
9  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: Jumper Dresses? on: April 20, 2008 03:25:19 PM
You might be able to modify the bodice of New Look 6726 to make those cool straps -- and if you're like me and a little skeered of buttonholes, just make snaps and use cute buttons as a cover.

It's SO cute and if it were spring instead of fall, I'd be making one straight-away.  I'm going to save a wool jumper for the colder months...but if a perfect color of linen blend fabric were to come my way, I can't make any promises.   Cheesy
10  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: good total noob sewing books? on: April 20, 2008 02:51:25 PM
I second the recommendations for "Sew U" (comes with patterns!!) and the Reader's Digest Complete Guide -- get it used on Amazon, it's a fantastic resource.

I also liked "Sewing 101" -- orange spiral-bound, found it used on Amazon.  Cool section on easy home-dec projects if you are into that as well.

I thought Sewing for Dummies was okay -- I much prefer color pictures over B&W though!   Wink
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