Monday 6 April 2015

Channeling my inner yellow

If there is one thing I learnt last year it is that when the sun comes out and the weather warms up the first thing you want to do is put on a sundress to go outside. The last thing you want to do is stay indoors and make one!

I am freezing by the way!
 It is a long work related story but I found myself in Oswestry last week 51 miles from home with a spare few minutes so I visited a fabric shop I had never been to before because it is normally too far away called Textile Express. Ooooh! it was spectacular.

I bought this funky, tropical roll end remnant for £5. Since the purchase of my yellow shoes (slight mistake really) I have been trying to channel my inner yellow. 

I have been on the look out for the perfect shift dress for a while now and this caught my eye. I have tried so many over the last two years but this is a winner because I can shorten the body at the waist. It is free with Sew Home & Style April issue 70. I made view D with a tie belt.

I can't say that I have done a great deal of pattern matching over my sewing career so this one was a real challenge that also involved bloke getting a bit technical and mathematical to help me out. This was as good as I could get it.

How I insert a dress zip

Fold your back zip seam and pin making sure the top is level. Use a 1.5cm seam allowance but it is best if you have someone fit the back for you. I always have to have less on the waist and more on the hips.

Sew this seam on your machine with the longest stitch setting (basting) making sure you go all the way to the bottom of the back seam joining the two lines of stitching together. Press open.

Pin zip in place using the seam you have just made as a guide to the placement of the zipper teeth. 

TACK IT! this is not the Great British Sewing Bee, take your time. It takes minutes but saves an hour of unpicking. 

Put the zipper foot on your machine and remember to put your stitch length back to normal. Use the back edge of the zipper foot as a guide to run along the seam line as you sew steadily.

Go all the way to the end, turn, and return to the neck stitching both sides of the zip. Nothing should be moving, it is machine basted and tacked in place.

Now run a stitch unpicker up the seam you made in the first place. It has to be sharp otherwise you will need to take more time to unpick it.

You can now undo the zip, try it on and then pull out the little basting whiskers.

Finally, depending on the garment, you can fold down the back neck facings and hand stitch them in place ensuring the zip can still flow to the top. You may need to add a hook and eye at the top too.

So don't be frightened of zips. Give this way a go.

Yep, I am starting to get in touch with yellow. Thanks for looking, I hope the eye-popping colour wasn't too much of a strain. 

Jo xxx


  1. Lovely dress Jo. I do love yellow any day. I inserted an invisible zip yesterday, it was the easiest ever. I was a bit worried after the Sewing Bee, where the invisible zip was the enfant terrible of some of the participants. I have used your way before also, for a normal zip. Thanks for the tutorial, it is always good to have a visual guide for when memory fails (bookmarking the page!). This is more frequent than I would like to admit. Have a lovely Easter Monday. x

  2. Embrace yellow! The shoes and dress are lovely very spring like :) x

  3. Love the print, I have the pattern and aim to make C as I like a fuller skirt. I am not sure about the pleats at the neckline, do they add too much fullness, I am quite bony in that area. I have done very little pattern matching so have chosen a busy print, but it is a skill that I mean to acquire. I do like yellow and love the shoes.

    1. The cotton lies really flat on the pleats with a steam press and really makes the dress look extra special. I love that feature about it.I tacked them then tried it on and needed to let the centre pleat out a teeny bit for a perfect fit. Good Luck Pam

  4. Beautiful dress and well done on the zip and pattern matching. Those shoes are gorgeous. Xx

  5. Well I for one try to avoid zips like the plague but this has made it very clear - big thanks for that! And as for Textile Express - oooh what a find - I've just looked at the website and the prices are fab - might have to make a little Easter trip over there. Well done on the dress - it looks perfect x Jane

  6. Beautiful dress beautiful fabric and model x

  7. Impressive make, love the fabric and the price what a bargain! I am in love with your wonderful shoes.

  8. Actually I am horrified of zippers but now I just might give them a try. Love your dress, it fits perfectly and the fabric is fantastic.

  9. That's such a great dress-the yellow is gorgeous for Spring! It really does suit you and I love your shoes!
    Best wishes
    Alison xx

  10. Gosh, that looks so good! It really suits you - so pretty for spring and summer
    Caz xx

  11. I am still afraid of zips, but that isn't because of your wonderful tutorial!!! Your dress looks wonderful on you and will be fabulous with your yellow shoes! I would wear those shoes with jeans to make a statement! xx

  12. What a gorgeous dress! And amazing fabric! And thank you for the zip tips - my one and only zip insertion has not gone brilliantly so I need all the advice I can get!

  13. How can those shoes be a mistake! They are adorable....but the dress! Jo!!! You have outdone yourself!! The detail work is incredible!!! You look stunning! Happy week to you! Nicole xo

  14. Jo you look lovely!

  15. Wow, it came out beautifully. It looks great on you and the details are just right. I don't wear much yellow because I have an olive complexion and I think yellow makes me look a little sickly, but I do like it and wish I could wear more. I think it's a great color on you! Nice work.

  16. Now if I had internet and this good tutorial 45 years ago I might have embraced sewing instead of avoiding it over those 45 years! I am glad you are giving yellow a go, Jo, and I think you and your sewing efforts are lovely.

  17. Love, love, love the dress - the fabric is gorgeous, and what a bargain too. As for the shoes, well I'm drooling over them too! Hope you're enjoying the sunshine, and looking forward to catching up on Saturday.

  18. Tis fabulous Jo, the pattern's great & yellow suits you! I've never been great at pattern matching either, it's hard. So are zips... I think I need to practice, every one I do goes wrong in one way or another. Gahh!

  19. I love that you are holding that tiny daffodil in the first picture! Chortle. Good job on the dress though, it looks great on you, Mx

  20. Very pretty, cheery dress. Oh I want some bright yellow in my wardrobe now.

  21. Love your dress, the fabric is lovely. Would this method work for a skirt also? I inserted my first ever zip yesterday and have another one to put in? The method I used did not leave any stitches on the outside but I wonder if this would be easier?