Showing posts with label invisible zipper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label invisible zipper. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

the Canvas

Over the weekend I cut into my Saffron Pastry Voile by Anna Maria Horner to make this skirt...

Pastry Line voile & Flea Market Fancy yoke

I hadn't planned on using anything in particular for the waistband, but it had to be cut on bias, so something other than the pastry voile was in order.  I'm totally smitten with how nicely this grey bouquet print from Flea Market Fancy plays with the saffron.  It gives it all a sort of country maiden flair?  Which is perfect, since I'm the kind of girl who loves to take a turn round the May pole.

yoke from Proper Attire Skirt by AMH

Anyhoo, the yoke is taken from Anna Maria Horner's Proper Attire Skirt pattern, which I also used for invisible zipper insertion/finishing instructions on this lined skirt.   I dig how the yoke is wide in the front and curves to narrow in the back. Rather than following the skirt body instructions from Anna's pattern, I made a simple gathered skirt, following the lead of the favorite finished skirt in my closet.  It has gathers just at the front and back, not at the sides, which flatters my hips.

preparing the Canvas

I'm making this skirt as a canvas of sorts for a Handstitched class project.  For those of you who plan to take the class, you might choose to embellish a skirt the week we study Applique (or opt for another Applique project instead).  Actually, you could do a skirt or dress.  The class won't include instructions for making the garment - just embellishing it by hand.  I figured you might have a "too plain" item languishing in your wardrobe that could use some love or you could buy or make something that suits your figure.  The embellishment will be along the bottom of the skirt/dress and it won't be all that subtle, while also not being very "dressy".  So it's a casual, pretty look.  There are tons of great online tutorials for skirts, like this one and this one, but I also recommend Anna's pattern.  Whatever fits your style!  You'll see the finished skirt before class starts so that might help you source the perfect canvas.

Now I need to hem this one and I'm thinking a rolled hem might be the way to go because I don't have enough fabric left to do a wide hem.  But I wonder if a rolled voile hem is super tricky?  I'd better practice on some scrap fabric first! Or maybe a hand-pressed 1/4" wide or 1/2" wide hem would be better.  This is my first time garment-making with voile, and I know that many of you are so wise and experienced!  What do you think would look best?

P.S.  After selling out almost as soon as it released, Flea Market Fancy is back in stock at Fat Quarter ShopSew Modern, Pink Chalk, Pink Castle and Moona. If you've been eying it, get it while you can!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Thanks to our recent trip to Ikea Atlanta, my husband is remodeling our master bedroom closet!  It was a relic from the 60's that far from fit our needs.  Ikea is great for affordable organizing solutions!  So, on Monday everything came OUT of our closet.  Now our things are in our bedroom, in the living room, everywhere.  Please don't stop by (wink).

As part of the mass exodus, that huge naked pillow form was plunked in our dining room, where it wouldn't stop shouting for attention.  Last night I set about choosing fabrics, but I couldn't land on a combination that didn't seem like "too much" with my Snip Snip Values pillow that currently resides on the couch.  Mr. Huge pillow was to go with Snip Snip, where Mr. Huge will provide ample support for lengthy handiwork sessions.  Ahem.

today I made....

All at once I remembered this ultra-cool Ikea fabric (circa 2005) that I bought a few years, way back before I could sew.  I had planned to have it made into a curtain.  But, obviously, it was destined for my couch.  I liked the bold, oversized print with our couch and with Snip Snip. And, best of all, my husband liked it too!

And then I pondered - what could I add to it?  If not patchwork, at least binding?  Or hand-stitched embellishments?  Something?!?!?! 

a workhorse pillow.

I fought it, but in the end I decided that some things are supposed to be easy.  Made it this morning.  And I love it!  Best of all, you can squish it or leave it on the floor or even walk on it - I won't even flinch!   So here's for workhorse pillows!

rather invisible zipper

I hadn't sewn an invisible zipper for a few months, so I referenced my Invisible Zipper tutorial.  Easy peasy. If you want to learn zippers, this is a great way to start.  All you need is a normal zipper foot (which probably came with your machine) and an "invisible" zipper from the store.  Let me know if you have any questions!

simple is good.

After all that, I did a little rearranging.  Don't these three look nice together?  Snip Snip is now residing on our big red chair.  I think he may be a loaner after all...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snip Snip.

Ever since the day inspiration struck, I've had it on my mind to try my hand at values.  I thought I might make a twin bed quilt for Liam in this style, but I'm glad I tried it small-scale first.  Not that I'm dissatisfied, just that a pillow really did meet my "need".  Pillow covers are so good like that.  And, hey, they don't need binding!

Snip Snip Values Pillow

Oh, guess, what?  This time I put in the invisible zipper without even glancing at directions.  I know.... isn't that positively shocking.  This was my 3rd invisible zipper into a pillow and it went in without a single naughty stitch.  I told Brandon I should apparently write tutorials for all the techniques that scare me - cause you can't help but learn if you teach!  Oh, is that backwards?  blush.

pillows: so easy, so fun!

And this baby did use nearly all of my medium-sized scraps.  Woohoo!  After piecing together the values pattern I found it was a hair short for my pillow form.  I dug out this Wonderland Snip Snip in Chai that I stashed ages ago to frame the front and back the pillow as well.  And, maybe I'm a dork, but I felt that the scissors couldn't be more perfect for this scrappy, quilty, kind of fussy design.  It suits.

and the back

My bonafide quilt-hating (otherwise awesome) husband likes the back better.  He thinks that bugs me, but I really like the back too. 

In case you want to know, this pillow cover finished at about 18.5".  I started with 3" squares and then paired dark and light values to make value-oriented half square triangles.  The center of my values design is offset at the top right, as is the Snip Snip frame (it's thicker at the top and left side and thinner at the bottom and right side).  You can learn more about making a values quilt and see some examples at my original "Inspiration" post

Well, hope you like it friends!  I've got lots more to show you this week.  Is tomorrow really Wednesday already? Yikes!

Friday, January 14, 2011

the Invisible Zipper Tutorial

(which also happens to be the final step of the Love Pillow tutorial)

a cozy home for Love

Step 1: Believe

You can do this. It is NOT too hard. This is my second time putting an invisible zipper in a pillow and I have decided that it is actually faster than any other closure method I've tried. I learned how from my friend Katie's tutorial, but I've added lots of extra pics here that may help you avoid the twisted zipper scenario I experienced that first time around.

Step 2:  Prepare


You'll need two equally sized pillow fronts and backs. If you're following the Love Pillow tutorial, attach your finished patch to your pillow front with a simple machine stitch at 1/4" from the edge.  Check that your pillow front and back are square and equally sized before continuing.


Attach a zipper foot to your sewing machine.  Mine is a regular zipper foot, not a foot specially designed for the invisible zipper.  It works quite nicely, thank you. 


Gather a ruler, your pins and bust out your invisible zipper.  Prepare it for attachment by ironing the zipper coils flat.  Invisible zippers are "invisible" because the coils are designed to curl in towards the wrong side of the zipper.  The right side of the zipper is the one with the zipper pull showing.  So, open your zipper and iron those coils flat.  Use pressure!  Be careful not to melt the polyester coils.  Leave the zipper open.

Step 3:  Attach Zipper to Front


Lay your pillow front on your work surface with the right side up.  Place the zipper on the bottom edge with the right side down and the coils pointed towards the center of the pillow.  Space the bottom, open end of the zipper tape 1" from the side of your pillow.  Use your ruler to be precise.


Place a pin in the zipper to mark the spot at which the coils end.  The coils stop before the end of the zipper tape.  Find that spot and anchor the zipper with a pin, being sure that the end of the zipper tape is still 1" from the side of your pillow.

Now, pin along the entire length of the zipper, with pins going longways so that they won't be in the way.  Don't be stingy with the pins!


At the sewing machine, you'll start sewing at that first perpendicular pin, the one that marks where the coils stopped.  Your needle should be going along the left side of your zipper foot, with your pillow extending out to the left. 


Your zipper foot might have a tiny little ledge built in to serve as a coil guide, like mine does.  Make sure that the coil is snug against the guide.  If not, just use the edge of your foot as a guide.  Either way, before you sew check that the needle is positioned close to the coils, but not in them.  You want to get as close to the coils as possible.


Sew, backstitch and keep sewing until you can't go any farther because the zipper pull is in the way.  Backstitch.

Step 4:  Attach Zipper to Back


Lay your pillow back on your work surface, right side up.  Lay your pillow front on your pillow back with right sides together, aligning all edges and corners.  If your fabrics are directional, check that "up" is the same for pillow back and front.


Now, grab the side of your zipper that is NOT attached yet and place the right side of that zipper onto the right side of your pillow back.  I fold my pillow front out of the way a bit for easy access.

Measure in 1" from the side, as you did before, and pin the bottom of the zipper tape at that point.  Once again, the zipper coils should be facing in towards the center of the pillow.  As before, place a perpendicular pin at the point where the zipper coils end to mark where you should start sewing.  Pin along the length of the zipper with plenty of pins.


OK, now check that your zipper is not twisted.   Look at the part where the zipper pull is sitting.  Does it look  like it could be closed?  That's a good thing (wink).   


At the machine, you need to switch the zipper foot over to allow you to stitch on the right side of the zipper foot.  For my machine, I have to take it off and reattach it aligned to the new side.  Your pillow back will extend to the right side of the needle.  Get ready to start sewing at the perpendicular pin, there at the bottom of your zipper coils.  Make sure that your needle stitches quite close to the coils. 

Sew, backstitch and sew some more until you can't go any farther because the zipper pull is in the way. Backstitch.

Step 5:  Sew that Pillow Closed

We're almost there!


First, close your zipper (yeah!!!).  Now, lay out your pillow cover with right sides together.  Place pins on both sides of your zipper to stabilize it nice and flat.  When you place those pins, pull out the zipper tape ends and the zipper pull section - both parts of the zipper that did not get sewn down.  Keep these parts sticking out while you continue to pin and sew the pillow.

Next try to align all four corners of your pillow.  Hopefully, when you do so your zipper still looks nice and flat.  However, it's more important that your zipper lays flat than that your corners are perfectly aligned.  If necessary, leave your corners a bit "off".  The difference will be hidden in the inseam. Pin the corners


Reach in and open the zipper about most of the way open.  Then, and only then, finish pinning all the way around the pillow.


At the machine, switch your zipper foot for a regular foot, or even better - a walking foot!  Stitch the rest of the pillow together with a 1/2" seam, being sure to backstitch at the beginning and end.  Where to start stitching?  Get pretty close to the stitching line for the zipper, but don't try to get right, right above it.  Remember, you're stitching at 1/2" from the edge, while the zipper was attached closer.  Don't sweat it.

After stitching, clip the corners with pinking shears (or regular shears).  Turn the pillow cover right side out, by pulling it through the open zipper.  Poke the corners out.  Press and stuff it.

the Love Pilow

Congratulations, you made a very lovely pillow cover with a sassy hidden zipper!  It may have felt cumbersome the first time around, but give this skill another go and you'll find it goes much easier. It's definitely a skill worth learning!


This time around, I think I didn't sew quite close enough to the coils on one side.  So, my zipper may not be truly invisible, but I'm still smiling.


P.S.  If you made a Love Pillow, please do share your creation at the Stitched in Color photo pool.  I'd love to see it!  New readers can find the other Love Pillow steps here and here

Friday, December 17, 2010


This is the story of Joy. 

the story of JOY

In November I really, really wanted to make some Thanksgiving decor.  A runner, a pillow, it didn't really matter.  I just wanted to make something, you know?  Real bad (I'll blame that on Angela).  But, tragically, I didn't because I spent my time making Christmas gifts so that I wouldn't be stressed in December...

So come December I had my heart set on making something for Christmas.  Thank-goodness we didn't have all the hardware required for those pesky living room curtains on the big, important "must do" list.  Phew!

My pillow of Joy was inspired by this "Lovely Little Forest Quilt" and tutorial from the Purl Bee. I followed the easy tutorial for making the trees, which was just delightful, I tell you.  Those little trees are so cute, so tiny.  Oh my gosh, how perfect would they be as a Christmas card?!?!

Ahem, I enjoyed making the trees.

But, as much as I admire this wall quilt, I'll admit that it's a wee bit too subtle for my house.  A leettle too reserved.  As I happily grew my little forest of trees, I racked my brain for the right touch of something that would make this pillow stitched in Color.  

Joy Pillow w/Reverse Applique

Pinked patches of fabric and reverse applique nestled in amongst the trees quite nicely.  And, as fate would have it, the patches are from 3 of Anna Maria Horner's colorful collections:  Garden Party, Good Folks and Innocent Crush.  How nice.  The hand-stitching flew by all too fast.  And, suddenly it was time to sew the zipper, the invisible zipper....

So, of course, I procrastinated. 

After all, what is the point of a finished pillow cover if one doesn't have a pillow form?  Well folks, the pillow forms arrived early this week.  So, last night, it. was. time.

twisted.  just plain twisted.

Enter invisible zipper tutorial from Sew Katie Did.  I'd like to say that my zipper was installed with absolute joy, but you know that would be a lie, right?  In fact, my mind got a little twisted when it came to stitching the zipper on the second side, and so...

how not to sew a zipper

By this point I was not happy. But, hey, joy is not about "happiness".  Joy is despite the circumstances.  So, I persevered.  And, you know what?

Conquer the zipper

I conquered the invisible zipper.

If you've been following my adventures in stitches, you may remember that I did sew an invisible zipper before at Skirting Couture with the truly fantabulous Anna Maria Horner and her assistant Alexis.  But, well... Alexis held my hand the whole time.  4 months later, I felt like a newbie (but a brave newbie, since the FMQ had gone so well earlier this week).  And, yes, there was fear.

Lovely Little Forest Pillow

So, my genius plan is to sew invisible zippers regularly throughout 2011 in order to free myself from the fear of the invisible zipper.  And, guess what, you can to!  In fact, I'm cooking up a grand idea.  A grand pillow-making idea.

To be continued....

ice cream was warranted

P.S.  and the joy warranted ice cream.
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