finished at last

I finally finished my pleated dress. It’s been a real slog. I washed the fabric on May 6th so it’s taken a month, and it wasn’t even a new pattern – I made it up once before in wool. Admittedly I’ve been ill and also been on holiday since I started, but it’s still gone surprisingly slowly.

Here’s the back view of the new version:

I do like the fit on this pattern. I adjusted it slightly from the last time I made it up. The previous version looks good while standing up but the bodice tends to ride up as soon as I sit down because it’s a little tight on the chest. I did a tiny addition to the FBA I’d previously done on the pattern and the new one doesn’t have this problem.

I’m pleased with the zip. I ought to be as it took three goes to get in. Normally I have no problems with lining up invisible zips, but I could not get the waist seam to match on this one no matter what I did. It’s still not quite matched but it’s not bad enough to be noticeable.

What I have managed to get right for once is the finish at the top of the zip. I did this slightly differently from previous attempts and it seems to have helped.

I sewed the lining and body together at the neck and arms with the side and back seams open and turned them through the shoulders in the usual way. I trimmed a tiny amount – maybe 3mm – off the top of the zip tape and inserted the zip with the new top of the tape even with the neck seam. Then I turned it partly inside out and machined the lining to the zip tape using a regular zipper foot, keeping close to the teeth. That produced a nice neat finish at the top.

When I sewed on the hook and eye I sewed over the ‘bar’ of the hook and up the sides of the eye to hold them close in to the fabric. This stopped it from showing as much as it usually does on my creations. I normally get a gap at the top of the zip.

I always thought you were only supposed to sew round the ‘loops’ on a hook and eye because the illustrations in pattern instructions look like that. However I’ve checked my sewing books and apparently sewing over the bar is the correct way. Good to know it’s not my lack of hand sewing skills that was causing the gaps.

Next up is another Burda using the very bold floral jersey I bought a couple of weeks ago, but I have to trace it first. Hoping to get that started this week. That should be a much faster project which will make a nice change.

4 thoughts on “finished at last

  1. Your dress is lovely; it looks very well made, and really suits you.

    It took me a few attempts to get my zips to look nice at the top, too. Like you, I’ve sussed it now. Isn’t it worth it though, when you can stand back and look at the end result without having to pick nits?

    It’s interesting, what you said about the little hooks, and how they’re meant to be sewn on; I was never quite sure. One thing is certain: they are fiddly little devils.

    I will look forward to seeing your bold jersey Burda. I have my first Burda pattern, which I’ve printed off and am not sure how to tackle it from here. I know I have to join it all together, add a seam allowance (horrors) and trace the pattern (even worse). Maybe I’ll use wide greaseproof paper. You obviously don’t find it all too tricky, as your dress looks great!

  2. I have a question regarding your hem. You said the following in your review on PR: “It advised me to edge stitch the pleat folds at the hem to make them hang correctly, which has worked nicely.”

    I’m not sure if I understand this correctly : did you stitch the pleats to the mark, then did the hem then presumably ironed the pleats in the skirt and edgestitched each pleat until you reached the hem? Or did you just stitch the fold of the pleats on the inside of the dress for the width of the hem?

    I’m trying to visualize what you did exactly and I just can’t. I’m planning to make this dress soon(ish) and a recent experience with cotton + pleats is making me seek out a solution to keeping the look while minimizing the ironing requirements.

    And might I know which reference book it was? I might have it. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi

      I did the second one – the edge stitching is just the depth of the hem and I did it last of all. The reference book I used is Vogue Sewing.

      I did have to press the heck out of the pleats but I can report they have since survived a trip through the washing machine and only needed minor pressing afterwards!

      Good luck with your dress 🙂

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