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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Report from the invisible zipper trenches

First of all thank you for all the great advice re the bump at the end of my invisible zippers. This was not a huge problem but enough to irritate me. I have such high standards.

In fact I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep since I had several serious issues to work through.

The meaning of life, although I seem to remember working that out last year.

Whether or not I have the character or stamina to re-open and re-cook my last batch of ginger marmalade that seems to not have set all that well. ("Don't worry, double the recipe, triple the recipe those are only guidelines," said my husband).

These invisible zippers. I nearly sat up in bed last night when I had a brainwave - the zippers are sewn down and the seam is sewn up so of course the chances of some grainline moving and getting trapped a.k.a. a bump are really increased.


Amalgamating all good advices and adding a few curves of my own here it what I was able to do today after I finished work.

Particular thanks to those of you who suggested interfacing the seam allowances, sewing down the seam, and clueing me into the fact that the two seams didn't have to meet exactly.

First, here it is in the inside where you can clearly see where the seam stitching ends out a bit from the zipper stitching owing to the fact my machine thoughtfully balled up a bit of bobbin thread:

 Here it is on the outside (disregard the overdue manicure) :

O.K. here are my steps:

1. Interface the seam allowances (thanks Ann)

2. Sew stopping 4-5" short of the zipper opening.

3. Sew in the zipper as per usual.

4. Stitch the open seam below the zipper stitching closed, working from the top of the garment down, in other words in the same direct used to sew the zipper in. Do not even try to make the two stitching lines collide.

5. Press. I only pressed at this stage and not before.

As a result I have one of my gab pants for my SWAP sort of 80% finished now. That leaves me with three more pairs to go.

This is pretty boring sewing IMO so I might have to break it up with a new dress pattern or something.

I have decided if I do another SWAP, and I think as long as I keep them practical I will, I will do both pants and skirts so I don't get bored. Trouble is I really need pants.

I added to my TNT Vogue at the sides this time but of course overdid it so these pants are consistent with my Cosmo Kramer theme and sort of drapey and 50s, and I am thinking I should make them ankle length so they don't look too much like gab mom jeans. 

I will ponder this heavy duty decision tomorrow.

I will probably take them too at the sides in next version.

In the meantime  I have to say loose gab pants are pretty damned comfortable and my object was to upgrade my day-to-day wardrobe so this matters. No need for Spanx or special posture or disguise tops with these babies.

I am wondering about my eventual SWAP photo shoot now since these are real clothes for my real life. 

Shots of me stooping and scooping after Mr. Rascal?
Me self-serving at the gas station?
Pushing a cart around the supermarket?
Marking papers in the Lazy Boy?
Standing in a snow bank?
Re-boiling marmalade?
Talking on the phone while I load the dishwasher?

Hard to know how to layout all this excitement.

In the meantime it's just good to know the invisible zippers are now smooth.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Why is it things become so crystal clear at 4:30 am and the up and downs of life and zippers can so easily be sorted out. Do you think men also have this remarkable talent?

Barb thanks for sorting all the bump solutions and posting such easy to follow steps. The glam dress will have no zipper bump.

About the ginger marmalade, perhaps just a new name Ginger Conserve. One of my real life solutions from time to time.


Angela said...

I truly would love to see a photo shoot along those lines! After all, that's the real stuff:)

Teri said...

Ha! I had one of those 4:30 AM moments last week with how to insert elastic in my skirts waist. Love figuring it out, hate not being able to go back to sleep for fear of forgetting it! Thanks for the zipper tips.

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Vanessa said...

Hi, your blog is great to read. Those real life shots sound great because we don't get much snow and I don't have a car, so it sounds like a fun life to imagine.

velosewer said...

A no bump method with invisible zips. Brilliant.
Now I'll give it a go.
Thanks Barbara.

Anonymous said...

I'm feeling braver about zippers after following (or trying to follow) all this - thanks for sharing your dawn inspirations.

Looking forward to the results of the photo shoot!


Karin said...

I appreciate the invisible zipper steps. I always get a bump too.
Re-boiling marmalade made me laugh. That was me three days ago. Now, I am a lady of a certain age trying to palm off excess marmalade on people!

RebeccaHoward said...

Barbara you always make me laugh. Your life is so much like mine (down to the marking) but without the snow. I always enjoy your articles in Australian stitches so much, and follow your blog and it makes my day funnier (although marking can do that too). The rest of the people in this coffee shop are probably wondering who this weirdo is laughing in the corner with her shopping bags.