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More ways with zips

Tilly and the Buttons has some amazing patterns and I love them. I couldn't wait to try out Françoise. I also saw it as an opportunity to talk more about zips, in particular exposed zips.






There is no need whatsoever in going through the exact making up of any Tilly and the Buttons patterns, because you cannot improve on perfection, the instructions on her web site Tilly and the so do take a look.



I made two versions one in some amazing fabric which has been in my stash for ages waitng for the right pattern to come along. As soon as I saw Françoise I knew it was the one.

I also wanted to make another version in Black, but not totally plain. I chose a twill fabric and used a piece of a Liberty cotton for the clarification to add a pop of colour.

The Paris fabric dress has a concealed zip, but on the black one I inserted a metal zip to add back interest.



The dress needed a highlight of colour I thought so I made the collar in plain red and I covered some buttons in the main fabric to add extra interest to the front.Self cover buttons are available from  Click here Self covered buttons are so very easy to make you will wonder why you bothered searching for the perfect colour to match your garment.




When I tried the dress on I thought it too short, I debated and pondered and in the end decided that it needed to be about 2 inches longer.  Using the front and back pattern pieces as a guide for drafting the top of the add-on strip, I made it three inches long, curving the edge as on the top of the strip.

It was easy then to attach it to the base of my dress and I was much happier with the length.




When it came to making the second dress I cut the front and back pattern pieces along the line where it says "lengthen or shorten here" and inserted, rather messily a two inch strip of paper . This is now my new pattern.




I chose a black zip with silver teeth from Link is HERE  I inserted it so that the teeth would be exposed. It is very easy to do. Stitch your back seam to where you want the zip to end. Press the seam allowance back all along the back dress and then pin your zip to the seam allowance and stitch in place next to the teeth with a regular zipper foot. If you find that difficult then fold your seam allowances back, press, pin your zip underneath the back opening and top stitch in place.



This is the zip being stitched to the pressed back seam allowance.



And this is the zip sewn neatly in place



I am very pleased with the result, it adds interest to the back of a plain dress.



The fabric I used frays a lot and an overlocker is really the best option for dealing with the problem, mine is shown in the video above, and is available on this link. Brother3034D Overlocker there are others of course so do contact to discuss the best one to suit your needs and your budget.



This is the finished dress, complete with contrast collar.  Pretty?



Sometimes you may want to insert a zip in a garment without putting into a seam. This is one way of adding a zip to a garment,  anywhere you like, to add a pop of colour and some design interest. Choose a zip to match or ideally contrast with your fabric. Look on for inspiration. Zips



Measure the length you want the opening to be, and choose your zip. Dont forget that you can shorten a zip. See my blog post about making cushion covers HERE for information on how to do it.




You need to then mark the centre of the opening where you want the zip to go. Attach a small piece of iron on interfacing to the bottom of the cut as above . Measure the width of the zip tape and mark a fold line both sides of the centre cut. You need to make sure that the opening us not too wide for your zip.  Mark a triangle running out from the end of the cut to the end of the seam allowance as shown. Cut these lines too, making sure they match





Fold the seam allowance and the little triangle  to the back as shown.  Press.




You will now have something like this




Stitch the zipper tape to the seam allowances on both sides and stitch the bottom of the zip to the triangle,  you may have to do it by hand as you cannot machine over metal teeth.



 This is the bottom of the zip insert



And this is the top. The applications for this are endless,  you could put it on the front or back of a dress, top, skirt, it does not have to be vertical - how about on the diagonal? You could make pockets and use this method to close them.... I am sure that you can come up with lots of options.




So, from one great pattern I have made two very nice and different dresses.



Patterns are expensive, and it is good to reuse them if you like the design and it fits you well. Dont just make an exact copy though,  play around with the pattern and with fabrics to make each garment you make uniquely your own. 



I am delighted with both of these dresses, and I know that I will wear them a lot.


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Angela . X 


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