A Week to Tweek

Proms are being held this weekend all over the region and I have been doing my fair share of hemming and snugging up side seams but today a new client brought in this silk gown by BCBG at Nordstrom’s. It is navy blue silk lined in polyester and we have only a small problem:

What to do when the zipper will not/can not ever close?

It is not the zipper in question, it WOULD close if there was less of client involved.

First, try to hook the clasp at the top, if it holds then you have a starting point. Grab some printer paper and slide it into the gaping space and trace around the shape. If you can pin it to the dress edges then you can finish whatever else was needed like the hem. Then tell the client and worried mother that you can use all the leftover hem fabric to make a patch.

OK, OK I can hear all of you saying…”but it will show”…of course it will but the patch can be made to look very much like the pleated horizontal section AND the vertical stripes section above it. The other thing that will be done with this dress (if you have clicked on the Nordstrom link above) is there is a wide sash that wraps over this area and ties in front to partially hide any additions.

The quick paper sketch then becomes something a little more/or less professional. Take the measurements of 8 inches high and 2.5 inches wide and grid it on another sheet of printer paper (remember when we called it typewriter paper?)

Click on the paper pattern below for a larger version and then see the next evolution of this shape unto a piece of black fabric. Why Black? Well all this blue silk in the bodice has been fused with black fabric for strength and it all has to match after all. Each section whether it be flat or pleated will be sewn RST (right sides together) and flipped to resemble (fingers crossed) the original center back bodice. Then the new piece will be cut down the center to make the invisible zipper insertion easy. The seam allowances have been added beforehand.

So Friends, with a week to go I have another great challenge!

But first a question for you all…after I removed the invisible zipper I noticed it was almost 1.5 inches wide and the teeth were twice the thickness. Has anyone seen this before and where does one purchase such a tough heavy duty notion? And you may ask “why would such an industrial type zipper be in a fancy dress like this?”

The answer is zippers in the hands of teenage girls can really suffer from abuse and constant strain and using a heavy duty one can insure no “wardrobe malfunctions”.

With Easter fast approaching I hope none of you are out hunting for Easter eggs in the snow…it is time for Spring or Summer or something other than rain, rain, rain.

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2 Responses to A Week to Tweek

  1. SunGold says:

    I’m only a home sewer, so please don’t take this as a suggestion or a criticism, but as a simple question: I’m curious why you didn’t use the side seams to add width to the area in question.

    From the Idiot (no savant here) perspective, undoing and adding the patch would be easier than making a fancy patch shape and redoing the zipper. When you stop screaming, “No!!!” please tell me what I’m missing.

    • mrsmole says:

      If there had been any fabric in the side seams, I would have used them, of course, but in this case there was none. Only bridesmaid dresses have hidden wide seam allowances while most prom dresses barely have 1/4 inch seams inside. I would gladly let out side seams to within an 1/8 inch if there was any hope. As you can see the widest part of this section was 2.5 inches wide so there was not enough to play with in the seams…bummer.

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