It’s the last day of our B6168 Fit-and-Flare Dress sew-along! Are you ready to finish up? We just need to attach the skirt, sew the zipper, and hem the skirt to complete our dresses.
If you’re just joining us, you’ll want to start at Day 1 and follow along.
Note: I like to install zippers a differently than the written instructions, so I deviated a little bit for the next two sections. There’s no single right or wrong method for zippers, so do what works for you. If you want to follow along with my method, I’ll talk you through it. Otherwise, please feel free to use the instructions as they’re written in the pattern. There are only a couple of differences, really.
35. REINFORCE upper edge of SKIRT FRONT (10), pivoting at center front. Clip to center front. GATHER upper edge of skirt front between circles. (I waited to do the gathering until I pinned the skirt to the bodice.)
37. Stitch skirt back to skirt front at sides. (I left the center-back un-stitched for now because I prefer to insert an invisible zipper into an un-stitched seam.)
38. Pin skirt to bodice, right sides together, matching notches, centers, large circles, small circles to darts, squares and side seams. Adjust gathers. Baste. Stitch. Stitch again 1/4” (6mm) away in seam allowances. Trim close to second stitching. Turn seam allowances toward bodice. (The biggest trick here is to make sure you’ve clipped into the V of the skirt so it’s easy to pin and stitch the skirt to fit the midriff, but that’s easy enough, right? After finishing the dress, I wished that I had edgestitched the waist seam to hold the seam allowances down. I may still go back and stitch it, so if you think you might also like to do this, now is the time!)
39. Now, I like to fuse a 1″ strip of interfacing to the wrong side of the center back edge, starting at the neck edge and continuing just past the circle at the skirt center back. Interfacing stabilizes the fabric and really helps with adding a zipper. I think it prevents the zipper from getting wavy.
NOTE: Use a special invisible zipper foot when applying invisible zipper.
40. Open zipper. On wrong side, press coils of zipper flat so that the two rows of stitching show. (This is the real key to a well-installed invisible zipper. By pressing the coils away from the zipper tape itself, you’re able to stitch closer to the coils. Then, when you zip the zipper, the coils wrap again and make the zipper truly invisible. Once you’ve pressed the coils, try to leave the zipper unzipped as much as possible so the coils stay flat until the zipper has been sewn.)
41. On outside, pin zipper to left back opening edge, face down in seam allowance, placing zipper top-stop 3/8” (1cm) below upper edge and zipper teeth on seamline. Position left-hand groove of zipper foot over teeth. Stitch from upper edge to as close as possible to circle. (Be sure to angle the top of the zipper tape into the seam allowance so it won’t be visible when the zipper is finished! See the photo at step 43 below.)
42. Close zipper. Pin remaining zipper tape to right back opening edge, placing zipper teeth on seamline. (When you pin the zipper to the right side of the dress, check to be sure the waistline is matching up on both sides. I often close the zipper just long enough to make sure that the waistband matches up as I pin.)
43. Open zipper. Position right-hand groove of zipper foot over teeth. Stitch from upper edge until foot touches slider. (The bottom edge of your zipper will be twisted, as shown below.)
Then, once I’ve sewn the zipper, then I go back and stitch the remaining center-back seam. Fold the end of the zipper out of the way and lower the machine needle by hand about 1/8″ above and just slightly to the left of the last stitches on the zipper. Note that the two seam lines will not meet but will instead be slightly offset. Stitch the seam for about 2″ using the zipper foot, backstitching or lockstitching at the start of the seam. (The zipper foot will allow you to get closer to the seam line without the bulk of the zipper interfering.) Then switch to the regular machine foot, if desired, to finish sewing the remainder of the seam.
Check the seam from the outside to be sure it’s smooth, and re-sew the seam if necessary.
44. Close zipper. On inside, hand-sew remainder of zipper to seam allowance, from zipper stitching to large circle. (This just prevents the end of the zipper from flapping around and being annoying.)
45. Turn upper edge of zipper tapes and SLIPSTITCH in place. (I mentioned this in step 41 above, so if you didn’t do this when you stitched the rest of the zipper, now is the time to do it.
46. Sew hook and eye above zipper.
47. View A: Finish lower edge of tunic with a 5/8” (1.5cm). (I didn’t want to lose any extra length from my hem, so I serged the raw edge of the fabric with black thread (it looks just like the embroidery on my fabric) and folded it once before blindstitching the hem by hand.)
48. View B: Turn up a 1-1/4” (3.2cm) hem on lower edge of dress. Baste close to fold. FINISH raw edge. Hand-sew in place, easing in fullness, if necessary. Press. (Really, you can hem both versions of this pattern using whatever technique you prefer
You’re done! I wore my finished dress on Easter, but it was so cold out I’m really looking forward to some warmer weather so I can enjoy it. We snapped this quick photo the other day before dashing to the airport.
I hope you’re post photos of your finished dresses to the Lisette Flickr group!