The disappearing silk zipper

The Colette Patterns “Eclair” dress is not a quick, one-weekend project, but it’s well worth taking my time over and going through all the careful steps in the instructions to get a nice finish. I inserted the side, invisible zipper last night (more on that in a second), so now I only have to attach the lining to the zipper tape, stitch in the ditch along the waistband to join the shell and lining, and hem the two skirts! I’m doing well on time, too, since the wedding’s not until May 9th and I’ve got a bank holiday between now and then, too.

So here’s the invisible zipper on the side seam (yes, I am rather proud of matching the waist seam there!):

You can’t tell on the tech drawing, but this dress has inseam pockets, too, and the instructions have a very clever way of dealing with the pocket, side seam, and invisible zipper area that makes it all nice and neat!

And as I said, I inserted the zipper last night, but since it was the moorings’ monthly craft night, I thought I’d try something different (and frankly, ludicrous) and insert the zipper by hand. So I basted one side of the zipper on, then hand stitched the zipper on, pulling back the teeth and using tiny stitches. Then (with the zipper still closed), I basted an inch or so around that waist seam to ensure they lined up, then opened the zipper, basted the other side, and stitched that on as before. I thought for sure I’d end up with arthritis from holding the teeth back so much (even after a good press), but it was a good social activity and it got good results.

Not that I’m keen to do it that way again any time soon, mind. But you may be able to make out the tiny stitches under my thumb here:

Speaking of invisible zippers, Julia posted this great invisible zipper tutorial earlier this week, which is how I inserted them for a long time before I discovered a technique in an old issue of Threads, tossed my invisible zipper foot into a drawer and never looked back. But if you haven’t got that random issue (the article’s not online, and I’d rather not incur the wrath of Taunton by posting my scans!), you could do worse than to follow her lead!

Freebie designer pattern news

So that Temperly pattern of the “mini Dana” dress from the Spring 09 collection, free from Observer Women magazine (offer now closed) finally arrived, albeit much later than expected…

I’ll save a full review until I can actually piece together the pattern sheets and figure out wtf is going on with them, but briefly… This pattern is wack. One size, no measurements, no pattern piece overview, no tech drawing, no diagrams, no fabric requirement, no grainlines, no guidance on how many to cut of each piece… This is like Patrones or Marfy to the power of 10! But yet whoever wrote up the scant directions thought it necessary to waste precious space on the one photocopied sheet of A4 to describe exactly how to do a French seam and to make a hem!??!! My jaw dropped open when I read that. I mean, seriously, do they think anyone short of a couture master or advanced sewer with a death wish would even attempt this? Free is good and all, but a few bare necessities would’ve been nice.

Gifted fabric!

Oh, and on Sunday night I also received a bunch of new fabric from my neighbour Helen, which you can see at the bottom of the photo gallery here, including a gorgeous bias-printed blue tartan georgette, some 1m samples of what she believes is kevlar(!!), a fabulous tweed that’s dying to be a skirt in Fall, and some royal blue thick wool felt that really wants to be a vintage-style hat. So hurrah for neighbours who’ve been through fashion school, amassed a stash, and lived to tell the tale! She’s also my go-to for pattern manipulation and drafting questions, which is awfully nice to have around. I keep telling her we should totally start a line together, with her drafting and illustration, and my fabric and construction, but I think it’d all just end in a ton of empty wine bottles and chocolate truffle boxes and not very many garments!

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    Grace James

    Did you ever make any progress on the Temperley patterns? I keep getting mine out starring at them and putting them away again, I have no clue!

    Thank you!

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