Friday, 14 June 2013

Sewing, Facing and Invisible Zips.... The Finale

Dear Ladies and Gents....

Let me firstly apologies for the delay in getting the final installment to you on completing the 'A' line skirt - mostly to 'The Thrifty Stitcher', Claire-Louise - life has got in the way and now I will finish what I started.

So with all the sides overlocked it was now time to join all the pieces together. With the pieces pinned together and the sewing machine set to a straight stitch, follow the tailors chalk line to join the two back pieces to the front piece - taking the pins out as you go. Now its time to insert the invisible zip! Take the 10 inch invisible zip and line the top of the zip with the top of the skirt and mark with tailors chalk where the bottom of the zip is to go on the fabric. The zip goes right side down onto the right side of the fabric - this is then pinned into place (remembering to be 15mm away from the fabric edge). On the sewing machine change the zipper foot to an invisible zipper foot. Align the foot over the zip. To align the zip, it should go down the small hole to the left as you look at the sewing machine and stitch as close to the zip teeth as you can remember not to backstitch as it may damage the fabric and needle. Sew down the side of the zip until the place where you marked the fabric. Top Tip: You need to go as far down as you can so its secure but not too far down otherwise you will catch the zip lever and snap the needle. Also remember as there is not back stitch at either end don't forget to unpick the last loop and manually tie a knot. Now, do the same the otherside. Un-zip the zip and pin the zip to the right side of the fabric remembering to keep the same distance from the fabric edge. Top Tip: do not panic at this point! My brain could not work out how it would work, but trust me and the experts - it does! Do the same as the other side and slip the zip teeth into the right hand hole on the invisible zipper foot. You're almost there! Now swap the invisible zipper foot to a general-purpose foot. Start at the top of the zip and stitch as close as you can get and then all the way to the bottom of your skirt and ta-dah you have a skirt-ish!! I appreciate this is complex but do persevere... once done it is so satisfying! A great tutorial to help you out is 'How to sew an invisible zip' by ctquiltingvideos - link below.

Joining the facing
Now there is only a couple more part to do and one of them is fixing your facing. A facing is not required all the time but for this skirt one was inserted. To create the facings trace the pattern onto dressmakers square patterned paper using the pattern from the skirt. Before tracing remember to take out the darts and measure down approximately 3.5inches - do this for both the front piece and back two pieces. This then needs to be pinned to the fabric and cut out using fabric scissors - remember to place the front facing on the edge of folded fabric to make one long piece and cut out two back pieces. Once cut out pin the back pieces to the front pieces remember the 15mm hem line. Once the three pieces are joined together, overlock the sides and the bottom. Once overlocked, pin the right sides together at the top of the skirt. Now to ensure you don't go over you zip, mark each side with a pin - this will be your start and end point. Go back to the sewing machine and sew the facing to the skirt. Turn the facing into the skirt and its almost done!

The hem ready to the hand-stitched
The final part of the skirt is the bottom hem. As I wanted my skirt to have a more vintage feel I hand sewed this by using a herringbone stitch. I would describe this as hand sewn zig-zag stitch; only catching a tiny thread on the outer fabric and catching the hem as you go - this should also appear invisible on the outside. I decided to do this bit at home as the day was all ready drawing to a close - but one thing was for sure...I had made a skirt :)

Top tips:
  • Equipment: Hemming ruler, fabric scissors, fabric, dressmakers square patterned paper, pins, sewing machine, invisible zipper foot, invisible zip and patience!
Useful websites/ blogs:
  • 'How to sew an invisible zip' by ctquiltingvideos -

Blurred photo of finished item!
I wear the stunning blue skirt regularly and its been complimented a great deal. I never appreciated the time and effort it takes to make a garment and I now have first hand stitching experience. Before I made a skirt I used to think about where my clothes were made and now this is more important than ever. I do try and buy British made where I can and that is why businesses like Vivien of Holloway and other independent shops are so important to me and to keep the British textile industry alive.

For anyone learning to sew I would highly recommend 'The Thrifty Stitcher'. The course is relaxed with clear guidance and support. The day goes so quickly and you will learn a great deal of skills in a short amount of time and retain them for years to come! Again, I'd would like to say a massive thank you to Claire-Louise and to all at The Thrifty Stitcher for a wonderful creative day - I will use all these wonderful skills to make another skirt and other clothes! 

Happy Stitching x

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