Friday, March 13, 2009

I LOVE This Dress. Its an Oldie and a Goodie.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The more I work with knits, the more I like working with knits!

This little number I made of a purple op-art print way way back in 1973 (the pattern is dated 1972--far out, Man). I made it into a dress then, and decided to do so again. I forgot just how easy-peasy it is to whip up. I started this Wednesday and finished it yesterday. Done. The only problem I had was putting in the zipper (of course!). For some unknown reason, the bobbin just jumps occasionally in my Janome, and then there's a lovely nest of ugly bobbin thread along the top-stitching. Argghhh -- gotta get that fixed one day. So, I just grab a comfy seat and start ripping out my stitches slowly so to avoid tearing the knit. Luckily, I had read a nice little blurb about putting in a couture zipper.

I was dubious, but thought, "What the hey..." Well it worked great. Its really easy, too. Here's how you do it.

You baste the seam together where the zipper placement will be, just like you would normally do. Flatten the seam by pressing. Then top-stitch a scant 1/4 inch around the seam line without placing the zipper in the seam-line. So now, from the right side it looks like you've stitched the zipper in, but you haven''ve just top-stitched around the opening. Now, pin the zipper into the seam allowance, centering it along the seam line and hand-sew it onto the seam allowance only. Be careful! Don't catch the right side of the fabric. Sew as closely to the top-stitching as possible as this will decrease any looseness that may occur in more light-weight fabrics. Remove your basting and, Voila!

I know, I know. Who wants to hand-stitch anything! But, listen. Its really not that bad, and you can become zen with the dress.

This fabric has a very soft hand and undergarments will have to be worn, but it feels and flows wonderfully. It is a 4-way stretch with about 8% spandex, so the recovery is nice, too. I didn't use my serger after all. The pattern had a built in facing, so the serger was not ideal. I just used an extremely narrow and dense zig-zag stitch which my machine has as a stretch-stitch setting. Many machines do these days, check your manual. The fabric doesn't fray, so there is no need to finish off the seams any further than a clean cut.

I used my coverlock machine to top-stitch the neckline, but you can use a double needle to achieve the same effect. Again, most machines accommodate a double needle; check your manual.

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