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  • Writer's pictureSewwithNellyBea

Every Day is a Learning Day!

Isn't it great that we never stop learning? Recently I've been giving this a lot of thought and have been rejoicing in the knowledge that dressmaking enables me to experience this on a regular basis. Even though I have been sewing for fifty years there are still lots of things that I can improve on and do better and lots of challenges to enjoy, in the garments I choose to make and the fabrics I select. For me, its what makes sewing EXCITING!

My dreadful puckered zip. It just had to go!

Many of you may have been following my progress of my dress I've been making for my daughter's wedding. The fabric I chose was fluid which needed careful cutting out, the unpicking was difficult due to the long 'floats' in the satin weave but, neither of them gave me so much trouble as the invisible zip. Oh my goodness, my first attempt was awful, horribly puckered, all the more highlighted by the reflective satin sheen. What to do? Well, firstly a LOT of thinking (I even tried to kid myself it was OK!), and secondly TWO HOURS (yes, two long hours) of careful unpicking before I could start again. Here I'd like to introduce my new best friend, my new unpicker. Its only a Hemline one costing around £3 but it has a decent handle and more importantly a love thin, sharp point for getting underneath my stitches. It made a world of difference when unpicking tiny stitches from my satin fabric.

My new unpicker, with a lovely sharp point.

Once I had taken my zip out I then placed my dress on my mannequin so that the fabric hung as it would on the body, this was critical as the fluid fabric then hung correctly. I pinned 2cms strip of very light weight fusible interfacing to the seam allowance and pressed it carefully in place. This stabilised my seam allowance.

I used fusible to stabilise my seam allowance

I then set about getting the new zip put in. I bought a new lightweight variety where the tape is made from nylon rather than cotton as I felt this may prevent the seam being dragged down by the weight of the zip. Unfortunately the first zip was a better match but a little bit of nail varnish on the zip tab soon sorted that out.

Old zip (left) and new light weight zip (right)

My second attempt was a huge improvement. It was well worth the heart ache and effort. My seam is now smooth and pucker free. What a difference stabilising the seam made!

My lovely smooth second attempt

So, as a breathe out and look forward to the wedding and wearing my dress I'm also looking forward to my next sewing projects and the challenges they will undoubtedly bring. As for my 2020 challenges..... making jeans has got to be way up there together with getting to grips with my new CoverStitch machine.

I guess what I'm saying this week is, don't give up, by all means take a break and have a rethink, but by keeping going and doing something again, we learn for next time and, hopefully, succeed eventually. I always knew that the zip on my dress would be tricky but I'm dead pleased I persevered and gave it another go. Have you got a project which you need to just have another go at? You never know with a little thought and fresh eyes you might just get it sorted. What a success that would be?

Don't forget if you need help getting to grips with invisible zips, there is a printable tutorial on my website or you could sign up for one of my All Zipped Up workshops where I can show you how it's done!

Happy Stitching Everyone,

Sew with Nelly Bea

Sew, laugh, learn, create

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