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...

January 26, 2012

...Lately I've found myself questioning my sewing ability. Can't quite put my finger on the reason.  Guess a lot of us go through that from time to time.  I wore this retro style dress for the first time yesterday...

and it got rave reviews from students and staff alike.  That perked me up a little bit.  Then today I wore this dress..
and got even more positive reviews than yesterday.  Mmmmm, O.K., now I'll stop questioning my sewing abilities.  I don't usually base the way I feel about my sewing skills on validation by others, but the positive comments did help snap me out of this mini slump.

That being said, it's time to get busy sewing again.  After all, there's maybe only 6 or 7 weeks left for winter sewing.  I always have somewhat of a difficult time switching sewing seasons.  I should take the opportunity of getting a jump start on the up-comming season.  Oh well - instead I'm still wallowing in the wools and medium weight knits (which I adore) of winter.

I'd said I would make a wool (#2) pencil skirt for my Mom - I could even visualize her wearing it.  Just hadn't gotten around to it yet even though I have everything I needed for it (of course I do; the sign of a highly blessed sewist - Praise God).  But the time has come, so I got busy and cut it out and will be putting the invisible zipper in tonight.
I'll be using TNT McCall's 3830 (not the mini Mom).  I love this pattern and have made it countless times even though I have many, many others that would be just as useful.  I've even cut another one for myself me that's coming up next.  One can't have too many classic #2 pencils can one???

How many do you have????

Paying Homage to Black Pattern Designers...

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