Zip It!

Ana, in one of her new sundresses

Before my niece Ana came to visit in July, I made sure my older daughter Emily, of green dress fame, cleaned out her closet.  This wasn’t, as you may have inferred, to make room for Ana’s things, but to pass on any clothes Emily no longer wanted.  Items that no longer work for Emily at 24 might be perfectly appropriate for Ana at 17.  So Ana went shopping, and she didn’t even have to leave the house.

Happily, Ana hit the jackpot, scoring 7 new dresses–new to her, anyway.  We spent a companionable hour in the studio as I performed some minor alterations, including shortening the straps on a sundress.  (No surprise, since Emily is 5’9″ and Ana is 5′ 2.”)

the black-and-white dress

While she was trying on a black-and-white BCBG dress, disaster struck: the invisible zipper pull broke off in my hand!  “If I have to be stuck in a dress,” quipped Ana, “at least it’s a cute one.”  Of course, we sewists are nothing if not resourceful.  I MacGyvered her out of there by grasping the empty metal bar with tweezers.  And then, I had a dress to fix.   Since I didn’t have the correct zipper length in my stash, the BCBG stayed behind when Ana left.

Invisible zippers can be tricky, especially when the garment is already constructed.  The instructions say to sew it into an open seam.  Still, accidents happen, and you have to repair the damage.

invisible zipper foot, #35

Here’s where having the proper equipment is absolutely crucial (see previous post).  The Bernina 240’s optional invisible zipper foot, pictured at right, is absolutely amazing!   N.B.: Bernina accessories fit all models.  This foot is number 35.

zipper basted in place

Installing a zipper always works best if you baste it in first, so that’s how I began.  With a delicate fabric like this (soft tulle over tricot), a thin needle and thread work best.

At left is the basted zipper, ready for the Bernina.

As for that tricky part at the bottom of the zipper…there was no way to sew all the way to the end, even with that miraculous little presser foot!  I simply tacked the end by hand, again with a very thin needle, so as not to harm the fabric.

Here’s the lining view, at left.

close-up of finished invisible zipper
And here’s the outside of the finished dress, at right.

I sent the dress of a few days ago.  Can’t wait to hear how she likes it.  See you next summer, Ana!


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