January 28, 2012


...don't always end up as predicted.  Maybe I should stop predicting time frames - but I just can't seem to help myself.  I always think I can get projects completed quick/fast/and in a hurry.  But as it turns out, times speeds by - but I don't.  I am such a slowwwwwww sewer. I guess if it were not for blog reading, Pinterest pinning and watching a movie or two or three, I'd sew a WHOLE lot faster.  But, alas, those are the things that make my leisurely Saturday sewing sessions so very relaxing.

As I mentioned last post, today's project was finishing up McCall's 3830 TNT pencil skirt for my Mother. I hand stitched the hem, the lining to the zipper, made french tacks at the side seams, and tacked the facing down (so she needn't have to bother with the facing flipping out on her).  Hand stitching lends itself beautifully to movie watching don't you know.  The invisible zipper went in without a glitch.  I'd searched high and low for a completely understandable zipper tutorial and finally found one.  May I say again - THE COLETTE ZIPPER TUTORIAL is FABULOUS!

I know there are lots of people who have no problem with invisible zippers whatsoever; but for those who may still be struggling with them, here are two points that make this tutorial work so well for me:
  • it made me understand that not all invisible zippers are 5/8" wide - even though the zipper (opening) seam allowance is
  • it let me know exactly where to place the zipper in relationship to the edge of the fabric
Utilizing this information I've incorporated two additional points:
  • I run a 1 inch basting stitch 5/8" along the top of the zipper seam, and another basting stitch 5/8" from the outer edge of the zipper (opening) seam allowance.  So it looks something like this
Now I know exactly where the zipper starts, and that the zipper teeth are placed right on the seam line (about a 1/4") from edge of the seam edge.
  • I also interface the zipper opening (seam allowance) from the top to way past my marking that denotes where the zipper is supposed to stop.  Interfacing past the bottom zipper mark has helped me avoid that pesky "bump" that often occurs where the zipper ends
  • I use an invisible zipper foot as the tutorial suggests and a generic adjustable (SKINNY) zipper foot to finish up the process.
I purchased my  SKINNY zipper foot at Hancock's for less than $5.00, and it fits several of my different brand machines. I picked up two of them - you know, just in case...
 So here's the pencil skirt for my Mother.  Same fabric that I used to make one for myself a couple of months ago - her's is just longer cause she likes it that way.
We can thank Ebony who gifted me the fabric, it was more than enough for two pencil skirts!
I originally planned to make two skirts in a production line manner, but it didn't work out that way.  I've already got the zipper installed in the second skirt, so now I need to finish it up.  I figured a black wool skirt would be a great basic for my closet...


  1. Ha! I have 2 zipper feet like that too. One high shank, one low. I do have 2 different shank machines after all. Well...that's my excuse anyway. ;)

  2. Thanks for the link to the invisible zip tutorial. I have saved it for future use. Your Mum should be thrilled with her pencil skirt.

  3. Thanks for invisible zipper information. I have a little fear when it comes to an invisible zipper. Hopefully, with the tutorial I can gain some confidence!

  4. It is frustrating, isnt' it when sewing doesn't follow our intended schedule. I, too am a slooooowwwww sewist. I do almost everything else quickly, but not sewing, that really annoys me.

    Thanks for the link to the zipper tutorial.

  5. I think your mom will love her pencil skirt.

  6. Anonymous1/29/2012

    Faye I thank you so much for a nice warm skirt. I will get much wearing time this winter season.
    Thank you for the longer length you do know your mom's style
    another church skirt. what a great idea. Thanks and much love.

  7. Great tips for the zip installation. Thanks, Faye. The skirt looks wonderful.

  8. You are the Queen of Zips! I have that particular zipper foot also. It's good for getting really close when sewing a welt pocket, ala Kenneth King. In fact, the instructions in his book is why I bought that zipper foot. Oh, nice skirt too. What a good daughter you are.

  9. How very sweet Faye! Love that skirt you made for your mother, it's so cute!

  10. Nice skirt for your mom !

    I have one of those zipper feet (I think). Will need to check out the tutorial you posted - I don't remember the one I'd used before.

  11. I developed the same technique for invisible zippers, using a 1960s Vogue sewing book as my guide. It gives a really nice finish. I'm sure your mother will be delighted with her skirt!

  12. Rhonda2/02/2012

    Great job and the tutorial is a keeper!

  13. How sweet to sew for your mom! I'll have to check out the tutorial.

  14. Anonymous2/10/2012

    Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is excellent, let alone the content!
    Cleveland HB3 Men's Gap Wedge (Left Hand, Graphite, Regular, DW)



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