Thursday, 8 November 2012

Goodbye invisible zippers & hello handpicking!

For the first time in a long time, my internet was capped for a few days! Soooo 2001...
I was devastated, I couldn't watch new Homeland, Revenge or Gossip Girl; download Justin Bieber's song (don't laugh but I really like the song 'Beauty and a Beat' after hearing it on X Factor Au) or reply to your comments on my last post about zippers, accidentally cutting my hair and not oiling my machine.

My sewing teacher oiled my machine for me last week, and when reading my manual to see where to oil, it said "make sure to oil the machine once a week if you use it more than an hour a day"... hrm. Thoughts?

Re my paranoia about cutting of my hair and measuring tape, I'm glad you guys can relate to my fear of chopping things off accidentally. I always make sure I am at my most alert when I am cutting my seam allowances and clipping my curves. And when using my rotary cutter :) 

A lot of you guys commented and said that invisible zippers are not as strong as dress zippers but most tend to use invisible zippers. I'm the same, I like invisible zippers because they are "easier" (read: no hand sewing) to install, give a cleaner finish and hand sewing can be a ball breaker sometimes. But there's no denying they are not as strong as the old dress zipper.

I still remember last year when I wore my handmade 'cobalt' skirt to a NYE party and halfway through the festivities, my invisible zipper broke! Luckily it was still holding together at the waistband so my skirt didn't fall down. In public. OMG :(

A week later when I wore my 'burnt orange' dress out on the weekend, I packed spare clothes in my handbag incase I had a wardrobe malfunction. Mind you, the zipper on the dress was an exposed metal zipper, but I was so traumatised by what had happened on NYE, it made me question how durable my handmade garments were. It took months for me to trust my sewing again. 

Then the zipper tab broke off my 'Squiggle' dress. FFS.

I then realised it wasn't my sewing, it was those stupid Birch invisible zippers! I even had one break on me during installation. 

People have told me to use YKK zippers as they are most durable and used on most RTW clothing. So far I have had no luck finding these YKK zippers :(

Sewaholic and Cation Designs were the first blogs I followed religiously when I started reading sewing blogs. 

I am obsessed with Tasia's Simplicity 3965 dresses and love the handpicked zip on her picnic dress. 

When stalking Cindy's blog archive and drooling over her M5845 and NL6723 dresses, I always stop to admire the handpicked zip on the Hippo dress.

Now for some handpicked zipper p o r n...

Tasia's 'Picnic' dress.
(source)
Cindy's 'Hooray for Hippos' dress.
(source)
Gertie's 'Lemon Tree' dress.
(source)

So beautiful <3

I tried my first handpicked zipper when making my Mad Men dress using Tasia's very awesome tutorial.
It turned out OK for my first try. I tried it a few more times on my M6331 strapless dresses (here & here) and on one of my skirts and my 'meh' lace dress the other week.

Most recently, I handpicked a zipper on this beautiful floral dress...




Practice makes perfect, I've finally got it right. My stitches are more even and straight. Woo hoo prickstitch!

I'm so confident with my skills that I've offered to repair the zipper on my cousin's handmade dress from Paris! Only concern is my 'stitches' aren't as visible (therefore aren't as strong?) as Tasia, Cindy and Gertie's... something I'll work on next time.

I am so in love with the little 'dots' of thread peeking through the fabric. Ahh smitten.

It is much easier to control the zipper when handpicking, and easier to unpick too. I had to re-do the zipper on this dress and take it in an inch on each side - unpicking the prickstitch (on the zipper tape side) was sooo much easier than unpicking tiny stitches next to the teeth of an invisible zipper.

From now on I will handpick (most of) my zippers because it makes the dress extra special to me, hand sewing can be therapeutic, and dress zippers seem to be stronger than invisible ones.

Oh, and dress zippers are much cheaper too, and since I'll only be buying one zipper from now on, I'll be saving so much $$. More money to spend on fabric!

So ladies, have you handpicked a zipper?




21 comments:

  1. I've never handed picked but I'm all for saving money and trying new techniques, especially as this looks just as good as invisible zippers. And yes those invisible ones have broken on my several times around seams.

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    1. Yes!! My invisible zips always struggle to get past the waist seam :(

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    2. I thought I was alone! I can barely ever zip up my skirts with invisible zips. One just broke on me! I'm trying a hand-picked zip for the first time tonight!

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  2. Handpicked zippers and I have made googly eyes at each other but we haven't committed yet. Give me time... I love how nicely your zip on the floral dress turned out. Super fancy!

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    1. Thanks hun :) I can't wait till you start handpicking :)

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  3. the only zipper in selmade dressed i have broken so far was a handpicked zipper, because somehow the zip thingy (how is it called? :D) got caught in the stitches

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    1. Ooooh no! Hope you weren't out in public when it happened :D

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  4. great work. i haven't handpicked a zipper but i have read up on it in gertie's book and am planning to try it on her pencil skirt when i get around to making it. i still like invisible zippers tho - i guess it depends on the style.

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    1. That's true, and I also think it depends on the fabric as well? I have a UFO viscose dress and I don't think I'll handpick that one cos the fabric is too flimsy.. good luck with ur Gertie skirt :)

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  5. I've never hand-picked one, but I'm determined to try it soon!

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    1. You should do it. If you ever make that gorgeous Joan Mad Men dress again, please handpick the zip, it will look so hot! I love the zips on the Mad Men dresses.

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  6. I've never hand-picked before. I really hate hand sewing (like....a lot. Really hate it) but I DO love the look of HP zips. One day, if I am feeling extra patient I will likely give it a try.

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    1. I used to hate hand sewing too, but I'm slowly loving it :) I feel so triumphant afterwards hehe

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  7. I enjoyed handpicking my zipper (think I've only done one that way). It's clean and invisible and you're right, it has more control! I regret that I didn't think to handpick the zipper on my latest project, the circle skirt. I'm planning to on my next project though :)

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    1. I love full circle skirts soooo much! I don't think I'll sew a different style skirt ever again :)

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  8. I've never handpicked, but now I might! Thanks for the inspiration and zipper porn! :)

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  9. Hand-picking is totally addicting, isn't it? I don't think I can ever go back to invisible zips! I think if your thread picking is so tiny, maybe just make your stitches shorter to make sure that it really holds.

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    1. Thanks for the tip Cindy, I'll do that :) I'm going to see my cousin tonight to repair her zip so I'll do it then.

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  10. I totally agree about the quality of birch invisible zips (I personally think Birch stuff is of questionable quality in general, but that's another topic). I prefer to use dress zips these days. My first hand picked zip is here, i was so proud of myself when I did it: http://mymessings.blogspot.com.au/2010/12/happy-2011.html I then did them again on the bridesmaids dresses I made, so much better looking than an invisible zip or a machine stitched dress zip: http://mymessings.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/international-bridesmaids-dresses.html

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  11. This looks so pretty! I've never hand-pricked a zipper, but now I want to try it soon!

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