Tuesday, 22 April 2014


It started with the zipper on my green skirt.  I wore it...um, once maybe?...and then the zipper got snickety at the point where the waistband meets the skirt.  Too many layers of fabric perhaps?  not. sure. don't. care. My attempts to close the zipper were unsuccessful to say the very least.   I ended up derailing the dang thing. I was not happy.  A new make, one I really quite like, with a hapless, broken zipper.  Lucky for me, I managed a save. I was able to cut the bottom stop off of the zipper and reattach...er...that's not the right word...what is the word for when you manage to get the zipper pull tab back onto both teeth evenly...oh, yes, miracle would be the word I'm looking for...yes, I experienced a small, yet significant miracle in reuniting zipper pull with zipper teeth. Not surprising however, is that in this whole arduous process, I ended up ripping out some stitches, and hand stitching was essential.  A re-assembled, partially hand-stitched invisible zipper..er...sounds sketchy even as I type. Will it hold?  Sheesh,  who knows...I sincerely hope so, but who knows.  End of story?  No, of course not! A few days later, this post shows up in my bloglovin' roll...

Sunni, of A Fashionable Stitch, has re-posted her tutorial on installing invisible zippers.  It is, in a word, excellent! However, right from the get-go, she admits to not being the biggest fan of the invisible zipper. Hmmm, sez me.  Well, it appears that invisible zippers aren't the strongest zips in the hood.  Not really a big surprise given my recent experience, and it was at this point in time that my wild and wonderful imagination surged into action. A series of vivid mental images, each illuminating the troubling possibility of a serious wardrobe malfunction, played, and replayed, on my personal movie screen.  I mean, sure, I love showing off the innards of my makes, but NOT when I'm actually wearing them.  Now to be fair, Sunni's post is not all doom and gloom. Quite the contrary. It's a straightforward 'how to' with some cautionary tips.  Yet...reading it so soon after my struggles was a lot like being asked to get on the ship that sailed after The Titanic.  You know? Everything suddenly started to sound risky and full of danger.  For example, one of Sunni's cautions is against ironing the zipper coils, don't.  just don't do it.  ever. err, 'k...my learnedness of invisible zippers was to cautiously iron the zipper tape flat before installing, so all's good, right?...no, not really. Now I'm starting to doubt myself...thinking back to my previous makes...how much did my iron touch the coils, what temp was the iron, blah-di-blah-di-blah-blah.

But, pulling myself back to the present, I know I'm nothing, if not a trooper, so I march forward with my latest make...my Dolly Clackett Dress.  I mean, I already have the invisible zipper, and thirteen million three hundred thousand invisible zippers installed can't be wrong...and...this zip, why hello, turns out this zip is a different brand than my previous zips...so it must be better.  Right? Yep!  I'm certain it's better, 'cause it's the only one I gots and I needs it now.  That's that. So, with great caution, I iron the zipper tape, and, this is was I get...

Not good!  Not good at all!  I don't think I need to point this out, but zippers are supposed to be neither twisted, nor wonky-donkey and this one is all kinds of both.  And, as luck will have it, I'm right at the point in my project where I'm about to insert my zipper!!!!  I mean...hello!!!  A woman who sews does not like to be running off to the fabric store while up to her eyeballs in pins and needles.  Let's just leave that to the do-it-yourselfers and their three trips to the hardware store for a single project.  Sewers...we're different! We're like the boyscouts of the DIY world; we're prepared, we get what we need, and we make it work {Thanks Tim!} but. I. had. no. choice. Off I went to a local fabric store, only to find the same brand of zipper.  And yes, I was stupid desperate enough to buy it.  And, in hindsight, mentioning to the clerk about my zipper problem probably wasn't the smartest idea either.  I got a bit of the look, you know that look, and she asked me where on the {1" square of paper} label, does it say to iron, after all it is nylon and nylon should never be ironed.  At that point I explained how I was an almost finalist in an online sewing contest, didn't ya know, and I got me some serious skillz. {Okay, that I said in my head} And to be fair, she was right, you do not iron nylon, but I was so intent on following the directions that weren't there, was I. Once home, the adage to never iron a nylon zipper tape seared in my brain, I started thinking that the whole invisible zipper magic was much less magical than previously thought.  Yep, now in dread mode, my iron taunts me, my recent makes taunt me, and the zipper taunts me. But in the end, I persevere.  I kinda, sorta finger press the zipper open, and sew it using my regular zipper foot. The pattern lines up beautifully. It's not a disaster.  However, the zipper is not invisible.  It's actually highly visible; a very tidy, very neat, straight white line of visibility.  Is it what I intended? Nope. And yes, I do know what I did, or didn't do.  I didn't sew as close to the zipper teeth as I normally would, in part because it wasn't ironed open, and also in part because of a fear of another green skirt episode.  I could, but I can't, if you know what I mean, sew another row of stitching closer to the coils.

So, the burning question. Are invisible zippers in my sewing future?  Well, the bloom is definitely off the rose, but I'm not saying never.  I think I need You to give me me a boost and a wee bit of confidence.  I've got about a half a dozen garments that are sewn with an invisible zipper.  Do you sew with invisible zippers? Do you have an invisible zipper foot? What brand of invisible zipper do you use?  Have you had zipper disasters? Wardrobe malfunctions?  My non-sewing friends, if you have stoically made it to the end of this post, I applaud you.  I thank you.  And I ask of you, have you had ready-to-wear zipper failures?  As much as I want to read a gazillion comments all praising the invisible zipper, I really. honestly. need. to know the real goods.

As always, I love that you're here, and I love hearing your thoughts!

Thursday, 17 April 2014


Clockwise from top left: Detail of lining showing polka dot facing at neck edge, pattern matching on bodice back, a hint of polka dot in the pockets, and a closer look at the darts on the bodice front.

This dress!!!  Excuse my poor manners for not beginning with a gentle good day...but this dress is demanding a Look At Me! intro.  Ahem, not just look at me, but wake up, look at me, skip the coffee, and go directly to paradise!  Yes, I do love me my new dress.  And I made it just for you Roisin...my little way of saying congratulations to you and Nic on your upcoming wedding!  Now, for those not in the know, please allow me to fill you in a wee bit.  You see, Roisin blogs at Dolly Clackett Blogspot; she's endlessly cheerful, always modelling her latest make, and forever fond of the fit and flare dress and a great pair of sassy heels. Her good news...she's engaged and on the verge of being married, and the bigger, if not better news is that her good friend Sarah of Rhinestones and Telephones has masterminded the cat's meow of wedding gifts...a Sew Dolly Clackett Contest!  Yeppers!  Sew a dress that will have Roisin swooning, or at least making her a little giddy.  Roisin loves fun, flirty fabrics, and she doesn't shy away from colour.  Yeah-uh...my kinda gal!  How could I not join the party.

For my version of a Dolly Clackett Dress...I used one of her favourite patterns, Simplicity 2444 {Yes, the same one as my Betty Draper Roses Dress, seen here}.  This time round, I followed the pattern pretty closely; the bodice is a match, but I admit to swapping out the skirt's pleats for gathers.  Although it's nearly impossible to see, there are four nifty darts on the bodice front that give lovely shape to the fit bit of the fit and flare. The fabric...well the fabric had me at hello!  It's a big, beautiful mash-up of birds and flowers.  I bought a little extra to be sure to get that bee-yoo-tiful bird on just the right spot on the bodice, and I, rather cleverly if I may say so, matched up the pattern on the bodice back.  I also nested a bird on each sleeve. The zipper...gah, another story...let's just say I wasn't pleased with that chapter, but I'll share later. And! I mustn't forget the name...Roisin names her dresses...brilliant I say!  My dress? Please do say hello to the  I'm A Bird In Paradise Dress. 

Okay, a quick checklist...fit and flare dress, pretty heels, red polished toes, colour, whimsy, polka dots, and a name! Yep! We's good!

Edit:  Fabric is Veracruz White Multi Bird Floral by P & B Boutique!

Ladies and gents!  I had a plan!  A plan that didn't pan!  Picture it...me, my dress, a great yellow orb in a cloudless blue sky....but, sigh....the weather was having none of that.  I didn't get rained on {just lucky}, or blown away {just barely}, and in the end, it all feels just right! 

Dress:  Me-Made, Simplicity Pattern 2444
Red Shoes:  Fergalicious by Fergie
Bracelets: Me-Made

Linking Up With:

Patti of Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday

Sunday, 6 April 2014


All the lovely makes for the Mad Men III dress challenge are now on Julia's website. If you are a fan of Mad Men, or of sewing, or of late fifties/early sixties fashion, please do check them out!  

Last weekend, I was in a wee time crunch and didn't post any construction photos of my Betty dress.  For those that are interested, here they are, along with the usual bit of ramble.

I used a high quality 100% cotton fabric.  It's called Fairy Briar and made by Hoffman Fabrics, to state the obvious.  I purchased two meters and utilized the fabric to within an inch of it's life!  One of the interesting things I noticed, and appreciated, about this fabric, is that it does not fray!  It has a lovely high thread count, and a soft, silky feel.

Having said that, I lined the whole dang thing!  Why?  Well, I'm not overly fond of slips, so lining a skirt is almost always a given.  I used a cotton broadcloth for the skirt, and my custom A-Line Skirt Pattern serves as the pattern.  By using an a-line skirt for the lining, I'm eliminating gathers and pleats, effectively eliminating bulk.  'I need more bulk at my waist.' said no woman ever.  

The bodice and sleeves are lined with feather-light bemberg rayon lining.  Why?  Lining a bodice and sleeves means no facings.  Yes, but why?  I dunno!  I just do.  I like this style of construction and I use it a lot of the time.   I machine stitch the lined sleeves to the bodice, in essence treating them as one piece, and then my last construction step is to hand sew the bodice to the armhole.  Does anyone know of a different, um...yeah better...technique for this step?

The hem!  I was swooning over Oonaballoona's Pink Project Runway Dress....you love it too, don't ya?...and I had to try using bias cut horsehair trim just like Oona does.  Me likey, me likey very much, thank you Oona darling!  It gives a little oomph to the hemline, a little bigger whirl on my twirl!  All good, it is!  

And last, but not least, a boob shot.  Kidding! But how 'bout we chat about the pleating on the bodice.  Not sure if I did this the right way, but it worked out well for me, so here goes; I pleated a rectangle of fabric to a size that I was confident my pattern piece would fit on with room to spare.  Then I placed my pattern piece on it, pinned, and then cut it out.  

All righty peeps!  Thanks for reading!  Have an awesome day!