(Note: Para 1 was written with 24 hours of perspective. Yesterday I was so hatefully hostile I actually couldn't write.)
Let's start with the evidence, and then I'll treat you to the whole, miserable tale...
Here's the freakin' zipper outcome the second time around?! I'd already ripped out the first zipper, silk organza interfaced the seam allowance, fusible interfaced the rest of the seam allowance (even below the zipper), and reinserted, with great care, the second zipper (the first one ended up breaking after I reinserted it into the skirt so, technically, this was my third go around).
To add insult to injury, below you will see the reasonably lovely Hong Kong seamed zipper area (obscuring all of the (useless) stabilization going on underneath).
And here's the (rather nice) boned waistband. In a terrific irony, this happens to be a many-stepped piece of cake:
So, what happened?
Well, I'm grateful to advise that I'm pretty sure I know exactly what went down, which given my relative nascence in the world of sewing, is a good thing.
The FUCKING invisible zipper debacle:
- For starters, I'm pretty pissed off with the pattern. OK, everyone loves Colette - including me - but I think that Sarai has done a disservice to novice sewists by including a bias-cut version of this Beginner pattern without the slightest bit of extra-instruction about how fucking complicated this can actually be. Let me make this entirely clear: If you are a beginner and you want to sew the Ginger skirt, more power to you - it's a great garment. But under no circumstances should you undertake the bias version until a) you've read everything here and then b) made some other stuff first - like, at least, three other skirts. And then, when you do make the bias version, expect a run for your money. It's a learning curve experience, peeps. Know that going in.
- I'm relieved to report (like it makes any difference, in the end) that I firmly believe my wool blend was never going to hold the zipper without waving. Of course, if I'd started off the right way, I would have avoided any stretching of the zipper area to begin with. But the fabric is so drapey that, on the bias, it actually acts more like a knit (without spring back) than a woven. If the pattern had some kind of warning about types of fabric not to use, this whole situation might have been averted. Or maybe not. But it certainly would have put the blame squarely on me.
- In fact, I've learned a brilliant lesson. You cannot use super springy, flexy fabric on a bias-cut garment. Not if you want to insert a zipper. Thing is, the apex of pull on this kind of fabric is not solely on the zipper-zone. Every seam supports the oppositional stretch of bias fabric. That oppositional stretch is particularly strong at the bottom third of the zipper.
- Point is: I believe this fabric was never meant for a bias-cut skirt, despite my efforts to control it. The more I interfaced (which was messy), the more the waves adapted.
- Do not try to control your fabric. You can manipulate it, gently, expertly. But if it wants to rebel you will need to be an extremely capable sewist - nay, an alchemist - to get it to conform.
I came home tonight and cut out all new pieces. (I never buy twice as much fabric as I need but, this time, I got the end of a bolt so the shop keeper gave it to me for a discount. Mega-save!) Tonight, I did not cut the pieces on the bias. In fact, I cut the zipper seam on the selvedge for extra firmness. And I'm still going to organza interface - this time from the start. I've already assembled the skirt. Next I've got to insert the zipper. Maybe I'll tackle that tomorrow.
Because I know how this fabric will respond, and what seam allowances I should use, the cutting and sewing of the main pieces (including interfacing the waistband and facing) took a mere hour! Of course, that's the straight forward part.
I should mention the amazing new things I learned in this sewing experience:
- French seams - man, these make Hong Kong seams feel like torture. So easy. So pretty. Love!
- Boned waistband - I'll write more about this in another post, but really, this is not difficult. On this skirt I found the technique to be rather useless, but that's not the fault of the technique.
- Proper Hong Kong seams.
- How to make bias tape.
- Sewing a closure into a bias cut skirt.
There's lots more to say about this but I have to eat something :-)
I'd love to know about your experiences of inserting zippers on a bias-cut garment. Tell me anything you know about either zippers OR bias cut fabric. Let's talk!