With the wedding quickly approaching (and the fabric purchased) I decided to give it another go. This time the practice dress was for my daughter, using cotton fabric I already had on hand. The purpose of this trial run was to make sure that I could get a good fit with my new understanding of ease. Having already measured the applicable part of the pattern to ensure there would be enough wearing ease around the bust (the only fitted part of the pattern) I chose the appropriate size, and the dress came together rather quickly.
It turned out very cute, if I do say so myself. Here it is finished.
I ripped it all out, and tried again.
On the second pass the zipper looked better, but still not great. I decided to call it a night and pack it in, and as I was cleaning up my sewing mess, I noticed that the invisible zipper came with instructions. Hmm . . . So, hoping the third time would be the charm, I ripped again. Between trying to fit the dress to my daughter, and getting the zipper installed correctly so the back seam was smooth when zipped up, it actually took five or six tries.
Here's what I learned in the process:
1. Read the directions that came with the zipper. This sounds basic, and it is. I'm more of a visual learner, so sometimes I gloss over this step. However, as it turns out, the directions that came with the zipper were more specific and easier to follow than any videos I watched.
2. You may have to alter the pattern directions to suit the zipper you are using. The dress pattern I used called for a regular zipper, which in turn called for a different method of sewing the zipper into the back seam. With an invisible zipper, you finish sewing the rest of the seam AFTER you've sewn in the zipper. When I make this dress again, I'm going to baste the back seam for the fitting, and open it up again when I install the invisible zipper for a nice, smooth finish.
3. Use the invisible (or concealed) zipper foot made for your machine. Another one may work, if it is adjustable, but the proper one will work better and make the job easier.
4. Baste the zipper (and the rest of the seam) in place first, try the garment on to make sure it fits, and that it looks smooth when zipped. That way, if any corrections need to be made, the task of ripping will be much quicker, and a lot less frustrating! Ask me how I know. ;~) When you're satisfied with the fit and appearance, stitch the zipper in place and finish the seam.
I'll be making this dress again soon, so stay tuned for an invisible zipper tutorial.