Help! Calling Cea!

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AKK!  I backed myself into a corner today!  Gave in when a bride with a
six week deadline called for help - her bridesmaid dresses need fixing!  

She had them made, and they are bias cut.  They fit well enough, but the
zips are a disaster!  There are zips up the side seams, and they are all
buckled and rumpled up when the dresses are on the lasses.
Unfortunately, the zips come down to hip level!  

She has already spent 600 on these, made by another dressmaker, and I
did warn her that they might not be recoverable.  I also warned her that
it might be easier and more economical to start again, but I would need
to look at them and assess the damage, before saying whether or not I
could do the work.  One zip has apparently been re-sewn, and looks worse
than it did before!

How would you put a zip in the side seam of a bias cut dress without
having it pucker all to hell and back?  My choice would be a light
weight invisible zipper, as short as possible, and sewn in by hand.
Waddya fink, Mrs Alterations Wizard?
--
Kate  XXXXXX
Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
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Re: Help! Calling Cea!
It seems that you are directing this post at another seamstress, but since
she hasn't responded yet, and you seem in desperate help... my heart
couldn't help but try and offer some advice. Forgive me for interjecting...

First of all, I wouldn't start from scratch as I think you would only be
making more work for yourself and from what you've said... it doesn't seem
that the dresses are unsalvagable, but I haven't seen the dresses.. it could
be a whole other kettle of fish...

I think you are right by trying an invisible zipper. In order to keep the
fabric from stretching, I would probably use a twill tape (probably 1/4"
wide, just along the seam) to keep it from puckering on the zipper. Or if
that's too heavy, use a straight grain, lightweight fusible interfacing, cut
just about an inch wide to accomodate the seam allowance and give support to
the zipper seam.

Something else you can try is, take out the zipper and hand baste it in
place when it's on the bridesmaid. That way it's already lying straight. You
can then proceed to hand sew the zipper in.

Anyway, I hope that helps. I make bridesmaid dresses on a regular basis and
I know what it's like to have someone in a panic call to you for
help.....*S*


Good luck!
Addie



Re: Help! Calling Cea!
Admiralla wrote:
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This is definitely along the lines of things I was thinking I could
try!  I suppose making from scratch MIGHT take longer than just doing
the zips, but you are talking here to the las who finds it easier to
make a new dress than iron one she already owns!

I have done a few bridesmaid's things, and a few bias cut things, but I
have yet to put a zipper in a side seam of a bias cut dress.  I put this
out to the group for all comers, so don't feel like you are butting in!
I just know Cea's business is dress rescue (one of her many talents!),
so I thought I'd flag it for her.  Also, I know a lot of others here
will benefit from the discussion.

Hit the URL below to see the last lot of bridal stuff I played with.
--
Kate  XXXXXX
Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Help! Calling Cea!
Oooh nice work! Love the costumes...

I hope all turns out well. I know how you feel, I'd sooner make a new dress
than alter one. But with only the zipper to fix, I think I'd be able to
stomach it...

All the best!

Addie

--
"There's no right and wrong in sewing -- just different ways of doing
things..."

We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Help! Calling Cea!
Admiralla wrote:
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Thanks, I have the feeling I'm going to need all the help I can get with
this one!
--
Kate  XXXXXX
Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Help! Calling Cea!
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And another thing you might use, instead of twill tape, is the selvage from
silk organza. It's lightweight, but firmly woven and very staple.

I'd also run a line of stitching, using ease plus method, along the seam
allowance, and steam it, hoping to shrink some of the fullness out of it first.

Karen Maslowski in Cincinnati


Re: Help! Calling Cea!
Kate, do you have Sullivan's "Glue Pins" in your country?  It sets in around
10 minutes and is very strong.  I've basted long zippers using it with
better success than pinning or basting (yuck!).  Washes out too.  I know you
got a bone corset that you may be able to tie the person down in long enough
to finger press it into position.  Just a thought.

B~



Re: Help! Calling Cea!
"B. Peg" wrote:
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I have something called Liquid Pins, but never liked it much.  I also
have some of that magical tape stuff for basting in zippers and the
like...

I think I may have to experiment q little if there are any off-cuts of
fabric available.
--
Kate  XXXXXX
Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Help! Calling Cea!
Kate Dicey wrote:
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Do you have any of that lovely old rayon taffeta seam
binding?  It's very light in weight and soft, and might do
to reinforce the seam.  I have tons of it because it isn't
being made anymore and I know someone who uses it for an
inexpensive "silk" ribbon embroidery, and because I'm
compulsive in the thrift stores and can't pass it up.

The new stuff is polyester, and might work as well.

--
http://members.tripod.com/~bernardschopen /


Re: Help! Calling Cea!
Valkyrie wrote:

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Well, if this had been a vintage pattern, I wouldn't have chosen a zip
either, because this puckering is what I'd have expected!  I might even
suggest we swap the zips for tape and popper, using a tape that allows
us some 'give'.

I have a lovely book that gives all sorts of alternatives, and a couple
of 1930's home sewing manuals that detail a lot of techniques still used
in couture dressmaking.

I get the impression that this dressmaker made then dresses exactly
according to the distructions, without thinking of alternatives that
might have made a better finish!  I shall find the full extent of the
problem when I see it on Friday!

--
Kate  XXXXXX
Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Help! Calling Cea!
Most of the side seam zippers in the bridal shops at the moment are invisible
zippers.  If you said what kind they are then I missed it.  You would have
better luck getting it smooth with an invisible one I think.  .

Sandy

Re: Help! Calling Cea!
Corasande wrote:
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These dresses have the most visible 'invisible' dresses I have ever
seen!  Not only have they been put in to they wiggle in and out when you
put the garment on, bit the stitching is so far apart that a nice line
1/4" wide shows even when they are hanging up!

I have bought replacement light weight concealed zips, and will take the
standard weight ones out.  What I need to do is baste the lasses into
their dresses and see what length the zip openings need to be when the
garment is ON the body: I can then stabilize the zip openings and sew
the zips in so they don't show.

The biggest problem with these zips is that the tops have been put in so
that the tops are a thick and uncomfortable lump that pokes the wearer
in the arm pit!

Pix will be took and put up as an awful warning!
--
Kate  XXXXXX
Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Help! Calling Cea!
I was thinking, that, perhaps, you could sew a piping on the zipper to hide
the zipper (both sides) and then, sew that onto the dress where th seam
belongs.  No filler in the piping.  It seems like an unnecessary extra, but
it might work.  That way you can run the piping "not on the bias".
John

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invisible
have


---
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Re: Help! Calling Cea!
A wrote:
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I'm going to stabilize the zips on the inside.  They are concealed type
zips, meant to look like a bit of seam.
--
Kate  XXXXXX
Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Help! Calling Cea!
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I'm not Cea, but what about taking the original zippers out, letting
the dress hang overnight, and then using a lingerie zipper (the jobbies
with the very lightweight knit tape)-- by hand.  Store the dresses
flat till worn to prevent more sagging.   Maybe???

Or ye olde fashioned way?  Lots and lots of little hooks and thread eyes?

Good luck!

Kay


Re: Help! Calling Cea!
Kay Lancaster wrote:
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Another good zip option!  :)
--
Kate  XXXXXX
Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Help! Calling Cea!
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And yet another thought... snaps on the upper placket, snaps sewn by a
single hole, with a thread shank, on the lower placket.  Gives more flexibility
than the standard sewn snap... I've heard it called a "chinese snap", but
don't know if that's the only name for it.

Re: Help! Calling Cea!
On 29 Jul 2003 09:42:01 GMT, Kay Lancaster wrote:

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I was shuddering to suggest the same as Kay and Val, but that's how all my
30s bias-cut things are finished - either with press-studs, or hooks and
eyes. There's not a zip in any of 'em. Of course, zips were metal back
then, and pretty heavy - I haven't tried a lingerie zip.

Best of luck Kate.

:) Trish

Re: Help! Calling Cea!
On 29 Jul 2003 10:09:40 -0700, Karen M. wrote:


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That is exactly what my sister had to do to a bride in her dress a couple
of years ago - just took the zip out and sewed her into the garment with
just enough room to slide it over her head.

:) Trish

Re: Help! Calling Cea!/ LONG Bottompost
 
Help! Calling Cea!  
 
snipped-for-privacy@diceyhome.free-online.co.uk (Kate=A0Dicey) AKK! I backed myself
into a corner today! Gave in when a bride with a six week deadline
called for help - her bridesmaid dresses need fixing!
She had them made, and they are bias cut. They fit well enough, but the
zips are a disaster! There are zips up the side seams, and they are all
buckled and rumpled up when the dresses are on the lasses.
Unfortunately, the zips come down to hip level!
She has already spent =A3600 on these, made by another dressmaker, and I
did warn her that they might not be recoverable. I also warned her that
it might be easier and more economical to start again, but I would need
to look at them and assess the damage, before saying whether or not I
could do the work. One zip has apparently been re-sewn, and looks worse
than it did before!
How would you put a zip in the side seam of a bias cut dress without
having it pucker all to hell and back? My choice would be a light weight
invisible zipper, as short as possible, and sewn in by hand. Waddya
fink, Mrs Alterations Wizard?
---
  Oh, boy, Kate--you are good-hearted!
 In a case like this, I cheerfully say, "Yeah, I can fix this.", then
sit and study the garment. Unfortunately, not having it to look at, I
can only suggest some ideas.
  Can you get hold of the pattern and use it to compare the intended
(finished) length of the side zip area with the finished product, to see
exactly how much stretching has been done to the fabric? (I would have
done this, then cut a very narrow strip of stabilizer and applied it to
each side of the seam before setting a zip in, had I been constructing
the dresses. Bias, as we know, has to be so carefully controlled. I also
would have cut one inch seams to work with, to reduce the edges
lettucing, as they are wont to do.)
  If you do not have the pattern, then the zip might be used as your
measuring guide, since you know the fabric is supposed to lie smoothly
along the length of it.
  When you take the zip out, (snipping stitching _most_ carefully with
scissor points to avoid any further stretching of the bias), can the
fabric be ease-stitched within the zip seamline, then steamed to try to
make it fit the zipper line? Will the easing be enough to make it
acceptable, or will you still have puckers of excess fabric? (We know
that some fabrics will not accept steam without being ruined.)
    Alternative #2: consider making a horizontal style dart (or two each
side) on both sides of the zip, to remove the stretched areas of bias
fabric. Dart it to the length you'll need, then use a lightweight
interfacing to stabilize the length of seam where you will replace the
zip. You may not be able to dart it away, if the dress fit is snug an
all areas _except_ just along the ripply zip. You'd have to have some
excess fabric through where the dart leg will end. (Is this explanation
clear enough?)
   Alternative #3: (and this may be then best bet): If the rippling is
excessive along both sides of the zip, and cannot be eased, or darted
away with one or two darts, then try a series of small tucks placed all
along the zipper opening length: either soft tucks, or stitched-down
tucks, depending on how the fabric handles--(it will tell you what it
needs). I think I might attempt this without applying the strip of
stabilizer to the seam back--this will have to be your judgement call,
depending upon how the fabric handles.
   Call them style darts. I've seen 40's style dresses with this detail
on the side zips. Obviously, you will not be able to do a lapped zip
with this, but you should be able to butt the fabric so close to the zip
that it becomes unnoticeable. I doubt you will be able to set these
darts into an invisible zip. If you do, please let me on on the secrets!
  This pinning will be so exacting that you will want to preserve the
accuracy: topstitch the tucks in place as you remove the pins, and you
will undoubtedly have to use the point of a tool to further ease little
ripples (which will form from the foot pressure on the bias), into your
stitching line.
   The good thing about under-arm zips is that the topstitched zip  will
not be noticed. Trust me on this.
   A couple of thoughts: Any of the above may be so fiddly that you
might want to forgo the invisible zips, and use what is there. These
messy zip areas will 'read' differently when on the body than when they
are flat on the cutting table, which means you may have to pin fabric
tucks while the girls are wearing the individual gowns made for them.
This will call for a very light touch to manipulate the fabric into
shape. BTDT with something similar.
  Ruminating... for an on-the-body fitting, I think I would leave the
top, and, probably, the bottom end of the zip attached to the garment.
Undo the stitching along the zip length, so you can work with it.
(Reattach the ends, temporarily, if you've already removed the zip.)
This gives you parameters within which to work. If you can get the
ripples to lie smoothly enough, you might be able to close the seam and
shorten the zip length, but I won't hold my breath for that small
miracle. : (
   With the zip ends in place, and the ripply fabric along it hanging
loose, start pinning tucks, anchoring them to the zip as you work down
the zipper length.. I know this will be terribly fiddly, because you're
working with the bias, and, unlike straight-of-grain fabric, you won't
have grain to level and match on the sides of the zip.
   You'll just have to work towards a smooth fit of fabric-to-zip. You
may want to employ some stage craft, and use some temp. wig glue or
stickum to hold the zip ends to the girl's body, so that there is some
stability. I wouldn't anchor the whole length of the zip, however.
   For a fitting like this, I'd want to do it when the girls are well
rested (not after work, when they are tired) and fed, so that they don't
get wobbly-kneed during what may be a time-consuming operation.
  At this point, you're probably thinking it would be easier to make new
gowns, but, for a variety of reasons, it truly won't be--cost for the
client, time constraints, etc., make this well worth doing. She'll be
grateful for the salvage job, and save tons of money, but do charge
adequately for your expertise, and remember to add something for pain
and suffering! HTH. Let me know if I should clarify anything.
                         Cea


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