Finishing Simplicity 3965

Ok, enough daydreaming about sewing tools and sewing books under the Christmas tree – and back to the Simplicity vintage dress!

If you’re just joining this series of posts, here are the first few posts:

Just a few last steps to put the dress together – the actual construction is very simple and straightforward! After applying the stay tape, I attached the facings. The great part about underlining the dress is that now, I can catchstitch my facings to the underlining. The facings stay nice and flat against the body, without the stitching showing on the right side of the dress!

Here’s the inside of the dress – the left side facing has been catchstitched to the underlining, the right side is still hanging free:

Tip: I curved the dress slightly when catchstitching the facings. I held it in my hand and let the facing edges roll slightly to the inside before securing to the dress. This avoids sticking-out neckline edges!

Also, because I’m going to do a hand-picked zipper, I turned the facing edges in at the centre back for a clean finish. This prepares a nice, tidy opening for hand-picking the zipper!

Speaking of which, I’m definitely addicted to hand-picked zippers. Back in June, I used Gertie’s awesome tutorial to insert the lapped side zipper in my Chocolate Dot Shirtdress – and I was sold! Since then I hand-picked the zippers in my Floral Explosion Dress and Groovy Sixties Dress, and I’ll probably never go back to machine-stitched zippers. They’re tidy and neat and barely visible – and I actually find them much easier to control.

Before handpicking the zipper, I needed to attach the skirt. I wanted the same clean finish on the centre back opening, so I attached the skirt lining to the skirt around the zipper opening.

Here’s what I did:

First, sew your skirt side seams. Finish the edges. Sew the centre back seam below the zipper opening and finish the edges all the way up to the top of the opening. Repeat with the lining fabric.

Next, press under your zipper opening seam allowances on both the skirt and the lining, like in the photo below:

Next, pin the lining to the skirt along the zipper opening, lining up the top edge of the skirt.

Stitch along seamline, ending where the zipper opening ends. Repeat for other side of the opening. Turn right-side out and press. Now you have a nice, clean-finished opening to insert your zipper!

I improvised the waist stay a little, I’ll admit. It turns out the pattern directions use the grosgrain ribbon to keep the waist from stretching out, but don’t actually turn the ribbon into an actual waist stay. I’m pretty sure it only counts as a waist stay if it hooks closed, separate from the zipper closure.

Next, I hand-picked the zipper. It was really hard to take photos with one hand while I demonstrated the hand-picking so this is my best shot, mid-backstitch:

So close to being finished! Just a hem and I’m basically done. It’s turning out so pretty, I’m really happy with it so far.

Next up: the finished dress in action!

, , ,

21 Responses to Finishing Simplicity 3965

  1. Corinne October 20, 2010 at 6:51 am #

    Wow! What a great dress, What a mice tutorial, thanks. One question, we all have our own favorite gathering methods, what did you do? I apologize in advance if you described this before and I missed it:)

  2. Corinne October 20, 2010 at 6:53 am #

    I just noticed that I said “mice” tutorial, te-he instead of nice tutorial! That must be Freudian because I heard little critters scampering in my barn this morning….they creep me out! NICE tutorial!!!!

  3. G October 20, 2010 at 6:53 am #

    Coming together beautifully. Can’t wait to see the final result!

  4. The Cupcake Goddess October 20, 2010 at 7:01 am #

    I love the clean edges outlined for your zipper. Something I’ve never seen or thought about. Just beautiful! It’s looking just smashing and I really can’t wait to see it on you! Beautiful finishing details. Just beautiful!

  5. Tasia October 20, 2010 at 7:19 am #

    Thanks everyone! Corinne, I did my gathers by stitching two rows of machine basting and pulling the bobbin threads to gather the edge. Because i attached the lining to the skirt first, I stitched my gathering rows through both layers at once for less bulk! What’s your usual method for gathering?

  6. alexthepink October 20, 2010 at 7:19 am #

    Can’t wait to see the finished dress – that fabric is just beautiful!

  7. Tasia October 20, 2010 at 7:20 am #

    And oh my gosh, mice!!

  8. Funnygrrl October 20, 2010 at 7:46 am #

    You’ve done such a good job that you could wear this inside out! I dare you!
    Seriously, this is beautiful. Great photos of the steps too. Thank you.

  9. Carin October 20, 2010 at 8:12 am #

    Very pretty! Is the grosgrain ribbon used to finish (hide) the seam allowances from the skirt/bodice?

  10. Karin October 20, 2010 at 8:55 am #

    It’s going so well! I can’t wait to see it all finished. It’s great to see all your sewing-process photos.

  11. Nancy Bixler October 20, 2010 at 10:11 am #

    OMG! I can’t wait to see this one someone. I can’t believe you hand-picked that zipper either. Doing that just kills my fingers.

  12. Mav October 20, 2010 at 10:32 am #

    I love your blog and I love this series – can’t wait to see the finished dress!

  13. Susan - Knitters Delight October 20, 2010 at 11:18 am #

    It looks amazing already! Can’t wait to see this one modeled!

  14. EL October 20, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    Looks great!
    It would be nice to see a photo of the dress from inside along the zipper. As I understand you did not insert the zipper between the skirt and skirt lining, correct?

  15. Gail October 20, 2010 at 4:08 pm #

    Your dress is coming along nicely. I agree with EL – could you provide some more information about the zipper insertion – a sewing weakness for me.

  16. Corinne October 20, 2010 at 4:39 pm #

    Tasia, my gathering method depends on the weight of the fabric mostly. For lightweight fabrics (woven and knits) I use the same machine basting method. For anything a little heavier I zig-zag over a piece of crochet thread. I secure one end of the crochet thread by twisting around a pin and pinning it into the fabric. I then just lay out the thread and zig-zag over it. At the end of the stitch line I pull on the crochet thread to gather then secure both ends with a few stitches . One other newish method I have been using for knits uses clear swimwear elastic. I usually have to test a bit to get the correct ratio because swimwear elastic has great stretch and recovery, but it works nicely. I lay the fabric to be gathered on a flat surface, stretch a 2 inch piece of the elastic to about 3- 3 /1/2 inches and securely pin. Then after it is all pinned I sew slowly with a small zig-zag stitch, re-stretching the elastic as I stitch. Takes a little practice but finishes nicely.

  17. Tasia October 20, 2010 at 6:43 pm #

    More questions, more answers!
    @Carin: The grosgrain ribbon does hide the seam allowances nicely! It’s mostly there to keep the waistline from stretching out. This dress is very fitted so it will help, I’m sure! Often waist stays are there to support the weight of the skirt as well, but since this one doesn’t hook around the waist, it won’t be quite so supportive. I hope this makes sense!

    @Nancy Bixler: I love handpicking my zippers! It does kind of hurt the fingers, pushing the needle through all of those layers. I suppose that’s where a thimble is used?

    @EL: Nope, I didn’t insert the zipper between the layers! The bodice edges and the skirt opening are finished, and the zipper sits on top. From the inside, it looks like the zipper is lying on top of the opening, with a few hand-stitches holding it in place. I’ll see if I can get a photo up for you!

    @Gail: Ok, I will provide more zipper info! What I’m thinking is to do a more detailed post when I remake this dress (because I definitely will!) and show the steps I took to put in the zipper. Will that work for you? It’s so much easier to show with photos while it’s all coming together.

    @Corinne: Thanks Corinne for answering my question! I might try that zig-zag-over-thread method, especially when gathering really long lengths. I find sometimes my gathering threads break from too much pulling!

    Finished dress pics tomorrow!

  18. A Sewn Wardrobe October 21, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    Almost there! Thanks again for doing this series; I’m finding it very helpful. I’m defintiely using stay tape on my next dress project.

  19. Alessa October 30, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

    Wow, it looks sooo tidy… Beautiful!


  1. Floral “Paris” Dress – WIP I | Mad Girls Prefer Pretty Dresses - June 28, 2011

    […] skirt for zipper: 1. Sew up the skirt till where zipper comes in; 2. Sew underskirt to skirt like here (use iron to press it […]

  2. The Floral “Paris” Dress – WIP II | Mad Girls Prefer Pretty Dresses - June 29, 2011

    […] skirt for zipper: 1. Sew up the skirt till where zipper comes in; 2. Sew underskirt to skirt like here (use iron to press it […]