A Wee Post About Sewing

I spent most of last weekend in my dining/sewing room creating a sundress from some fabric and a pattern.

All in all, things went smoothly on day one. I sewed the bodice and attached the lining, I attached it to the skirt (or vice versa, depending how you look at things). My goal for Saturday was to complete all steps up to the zipper. The zipper I would leave for when I was well-rested and fresh (Sunday).

After about four hours of sewing (not bad) I was ready to call it a day. Not only had I reached my sewing goal, I was also starting to feel slightly impatient. Impatience and sewing do not mix, and it was time to do something else.

A late lunch, a concert, a glass of wine, and a good night's sleep put me in a good position to confront this on Sunday morning:


Yup, you're seeing that correctly. The two backs of the bodice don't meet at the same height. WTF? How could I have sewn them so crookedly? Did I cut them wrong? Rip, rip, rip, and off came the bodice from the skirt.

It was only then that I discovered the real mistake. When I topstitched around the neck, I accidentally took in a bunch of fabric on one side of the right-hand neck edge (you can see it if you look carefully at the photo). That was easy to fix. I simply removed and replaced the topstitching along that side.

Removing the bodice also allowed me to realign it perfectly with skirt, and correct a slight (about 1/8th-inch) skewing where the seams met. I probably would not have done that otherwise. All in all, not a bad move.

Then I confronted my biggest sewing fear: the zipper. First, Ihough, I prepared. I read (twice) these instructions. I made sure that I understood them. I measured the allowance, pinned in my zipper, and checked it twice. Then I sewed. Let me tell you: this zipper foot is the bomb! It kept my stitches straight and close to the zipper teeth. [Wouldn't it be great if I had a picture of all this? Yeah, um, well, it wasn't my smartest bloggy move. Let me tell you, I was a woman on a mission with this zipper, and sometimes women on a mission can't stop to take photos.]

Then I did the same for the other side. Following the instructions exactly resulted in some wonkyness at the bottom of the zipper. I took out the seam, re-pinned the other side, and proceeded to sew it in the same fashion as I did the first time. Success!


One zipper: in and invisible!


Looks great and just in time for spring! I know the weatherman is calling for snow but before you know it that dress will be worn with great style!
Maybe I should get the sewing machine out - it's been a long time!!

Beautiful! I'm always so worried by sewing in zippers. The dress looks adorable from here.

oh wow, that is one fantastic zip installation! :) congratulations! I love that fabric! :)


Zippers are my nemesis. I've been know to take things I've sewn to tailors for the zipper installation.

Making yourself something always sounds easier than it is.

You kept at it though and it looks like it was very worth it.

A dress in 2 days?! Wow! Too bad spring weather is all over the place right now, or we might see you wearing it...

Rock on! Knitting I feel like I can do anything, but sewing... I'm like a toddler with scissors trying to cut a perfect circle. I can't wait to see the modeled pics.

great job! i've never installed an invisible zipper before. it looks really tough to do.

great job! i've never installed an invisible zipper before. it looks really tough to do.

Nicely done zipper, there! Zippers are often the bane of my existance. (Of course, I'm silly and often sew them in without taking the time to change feet on my machine...)

congrats! it looks great (and i really like the fabric too)

Cute fabric! There are not enough hours in the day to knit and sew. I am looking forward to seeing the final pics!

Cute fabric! There are not enough hours in the day to knit and sew. I am looking forward to seeing the final pics!

Wow! Great job! I can't wait for the day to come when I have enough space for a sewing machine... but I'm also kinda dreading it (although there's no reason - I once knitted mittens with a Norwegian pattern, in 2 colors, without knowing anything about that kind of knitting. The mittens turned out great)

I am like Johanna--I feel if I could cut the faric more accurately, I would be a much better sewer (although I am better using a small rotary cutter than scissors).
And I REALLY like Jenn C's suggestion of taking the zipper installation to the tailor--BRILLIANT!
But of course, your project looks great--how about going to the Arnold Arboretum and taking some great pics in front of the full-bloom witch hazel and pretending it's not supposed to snow here again!

Reading your note, reminds me why I should start sewing again. How rewarding that you'll get to have a new dress for spring and you can say you made it yourself. it's so cute. Great job on the zipper too! Looks PREFECT!

Wow!!! Great job. Now, you are ready for warmer weather as well!

GREAT WORK!!!! where did you get the invisible presser foot? i need one of those.

Hi there,I've enjoyed reading your blogs.I used to be a self-taught knitter.It was like therapy for me.My kids became very interested in what I was knitting but I didn't even know,lol.It was cool because they would sit and watch me.It made me feel good about myself.They made me feel important.But unfortunately I got sidetracked with other crafty ideas for projects I wanted to do.But I would see what other people were doing and I want to start up again but I knew I didn't have the time to do it.The thought of knitting makes me appreciate the fact that it is so relaxing though.I think that I'd have to wait till I actually have real personal time to myself.I just wanted to let you know that I liked reading your blogs every chance I get.Have a wonderful day! :)

Great job! How about a photo of the whole sundress?

Awesome zipper! I'm afraid of them and don't sew much, but with so much inspiration from the blogosphere, I might have to try it.

congrats! see, it wasn't so bad!

Wow - I'm impressed. This whole sewing thing puts the fear of God into my heart. But soon. . . very soon.
P.S. Is that the Ikea fabric?

I love the choice of fabric. I ALWAYS do something like that when I sew...always. It's one thing I like about it rather than knitting...faster to fix mistakes then having to re-knit an entire top.

You rock, Colleen!

Great job on the dress. Sometimes it is the simplest stuff that gets us in trouble. I am knitting purses these days. Using my sewing machine to make the linings. I'd forgotten how much fun sewing can be. And how frustrating when you realize what you goofed up! Ultimately it is worth it to tell someone special their gift is handmade!

Congratulations on the zipper! It looks great. I have some material to make a skirt. I used to sew a lot as a teen. I'm really hoping sewing is like riding a bicycle, but I have my doubts.

I knew you would do it - I knew it all along. It looks great!

Back in olden times, they had us put the zipper in prior to putting the front and back together. You might try the next one like that - makes the sewing in much easier...just a thought...

Yay! Nice.

I really should dig out my sewing machine, I have some material floating around and a pattern for a sundress, but I'll need to adjust for height (6'1 here) and I'm nervous about that.

Awesome! If only it were sundress weather already . . .

Very pretty material...oh, and nice zipper! ;-) It must be the season for pretty dresses. I just finished a few myself. What fun!

Very pretty material...oh, and nice zipper! ;-) It must be the season for pretty dresses. I just finished a few myself. What fun!


Comments are closed on this entry.

Previous | List | Next

(Viva Knitsmiths South!)

Knitting Bloggers
Previous | Next