On Wednesday I had breakfast with my family which was wonderful. I haven’t seen Debby or her fiancé Ian in months. I also got to see my parents who recently moved 2 hours away and one of my other sisters Becca and my second youngest brother Joey along with a couple of nieces and a nephew. I got my sister Debby’s measurements before saying goodbye but I didn’t start on the clothes until Saturday night. It was the deadline and not wanting to bomb on the second week that made me get it done. Seriously, not wanting to be a disappointment is what pushed me.
So back to the scary zippers. I seam ripped my skirt first and realized this was going to be just as hard as I feared to put the zipper back in. I took pictures to help remember how it went. There were several parts and the zipper didn’t start at the top but was inset a bit to allow for a hook and eye closure. I was blessed to find a zipper that was a close enough color and length to work in my zipper stash.
|Broken zipper photo to help remind me where the zipper started and how it was stitched.|
Basically the major part of messing up a zipper is to have the tops not line up. To solve this issue, I have learned to sew in one side of the zipper and then zip it up and pin in the other side. When you are making a garment, this is often easier because the seams haven’t been finished yet and you can tuck in the top of the zipper salvage.
|This piece goes inside the skirt to protect your skin from the zipper.|
I successfully sewed in what I would consider the harder side to do and went on to the easy side. I thought to take a shortcut and just sew the two layers of fabric with the zipper at the same time. This was not a good idea.
|That’s not what it is supposed to look like!|
A big lesson I learned through my mistake is that you should always sew the zipper to the edge of the seam allowance before putting in the final top stitching. On this skirt I thought to get away with just the final seam but it didn’t catch the zipper in the stitching line.
So I ripped it back out, sewed the inside first, flipped it in and sewed the final outside seam. It worked so much better this time. I finished the top waistband seam by hand sewing it as I didn’t want to take apart the whole waist band to tuck in the zipper salvage and then added the hook and eye. It took me about an hour to finish minus the bother I had with my sewing machine. We got it fixed and I finished the hardest of the three projects first. Then it just gets easier that way.
|DONE! One of my favorite skirts is back in commission.|
Next was the sweater. Ripping the zipper out was very easy and putting a new zipper back in looked to be very doable. Sweet! Only problem was I didn’t have the right kind of zipper in the right size or color. Unlike the skirt zipper, a jacket type zipper doesn’t have a stop at the bottom. Rather it has a pin that inserts into the box on the bottom of the zipper allowing the sides of the garment to completely separate. The only candidate in my stash was a heavy black zipper several inches too long.
|The zipper is sandwiched between the front of the sweater and a strip of knitted “ribbon”.|
Off to JoAnn I went with a 60% off coupon and a half hour before the store closed. All I needed was a 19” jacket zipper in a tan color. You know where this is going right? I couldn’t find one. I enlisted the help of the staff and learned something very interesting and ridiculous at the same time. Apparently clothing manufacturers make their clothing with zippers measuring in odd numbers while zipper manufactures make coat zippers in the larger lengths only in even measurements. I could get a 7 or 9 inch zipper or a 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 (and so on) inch zipper but no 19 inch ones. The employee told me that JoAnn only has the even numbers available. I would have to special order one or find one online. Huh….
|Gonna have to settle…good thing sweaters stretch a bit.|
So I came home with the closest thing I could find and hoped that it would fit. Learning my lesson from the skirt, I sewed the knitted ribbon and zipper together first. While I did use the zipper foot, I didn’t need to use it on this project as the seam did not need to be close to the teeth. In fact when I tried to sew the zipper to the front of the sweater, it wouldn’t even work due to the thickness of the knit. The back edge got caught in the weave. I used the regular foot and had to pull the sweater through.
|The zipper foot lets you sew very close to the zipper.|
Due to the extra inch in the zipper and the fact I had to pull the knit through the sewing machine, the sweater is a tad misshapen. I hope that after I run it through the wash and reshape it to dry, it will straighten out. In any case, this sweater is wearable now and I am happy with it.
The last project was my sister’s skirt. I pulled out my dress form and found where 32 inches around fell on the hips and then pinned the skirt to it inside out. I was very surprised to see the skirt band was already exactly 32 inches. I should have had my sister just try on the skirt again rather than take her measurements. Lesson #2 learned in this project.
|Huh… well… it’s perfect?|
Despite Sir T’s declaration of, “You’re done!”, I decided that I should take in the waist just a little bit. My sister has a more slender shape and has a small waist to hip ratio. Her complaint was that the skirt hung too low on her hips and felt like it was going to fall off. I decided to put two darts in the back of the skirt to tighten up the waist band and to give her a little shape on the backside.
|I used a ruler and pins to mark where I wanted my darts.|
I put in two ¼ inch deep darts in the back to bring the waist band down an inch in total on the top edge. I ran the dart down to null at the bottom of the two inch wide band so I didn’t engage the inside layer. Keeping it simple here.
After machine sewing the dart in place, I whip stitched the dart flat to the band. This makes for a tidy and more comfortable wearing experience. With the colorful pattern of the material, the darts are camouflaged.
|Outside edge of skirt waistband|
Yay! I’m done! I will mail Debby her skirt and have to run my skirt and sweater through the wash but the mending is complete. I was a bit discouraged about my abilities on this one but making myself just DO IT was the biggest hurdle. I would not say that putting in zippers is great fun but they aren’t as scary anymore… well I dunno, I might change my mind again.
So onto next week’s challenge. I am going to be grateful I don’t have to do another zipper and get to play with paper. I have a magnet board that Sir T put together for me from a metal stovepipe I found at restore and a $1 frame that had lost its glass from a second hand store. We made it into our gratitude board.
|This board is at the end of our hall and a wonderful reminder to choose gratitude|
To expose the fact that yes, this board has not been updated since AUGUST is pride crunching and I don’t like it. I would love to be able to say that I am up to date, perfect and on time. Um… nope, ah, this is WHY I have to do this challenge – to push myself to catch up.
So I will show you my pile of papers and tell you next week how this works. It is better late than never and it is never too late to engage. Yes there are definitely consequences for lack of timeliness, but since my habit is to never start, I have to encourage myself that it is NOT too late. I have to admit that I have not sent a thank you card or a note of encouragement because I was too embarrassed that it was late and worried about reminding the person that I am tardy. That selfishness on my part robbed another person of a small blessing of acknowledgement and gratitude. That has to stop in my life and since I have found that most principles apply much wider than the obvious, I need to apply it to this aspect of my life too. “It is not too late to do good and don’t worry about your pride… it needs to be broken anyway” said me to me.
|This is what a pile of thankfulness looks like….|