Selection by Posse’ Part 2

As promised…once the skirt has been raised up, let’s tackle that zipper complex.

Check out how many stitching lines have to be removed to re-position the zipper!!! I can see 6 but there are more hidden under the final edge bias binding.

On the outside all you can see is the mesh binding…wait…it is only on the outside while the polyester binding is on the inside? What does this mesh binding do??? Absolutely nothing.

Here is the tail…can you see that the operator sewed the binding in a half circle and it is cupping and making a lump? Who needs that on their butt?

How much time does it take to remove every row of stitching just to free up the zipper? Sequence certainly comes into play here…what the Hell came first or last?

Here you can see how the zipper is stuck in the middle between the inside binding and the outside decorative mesh binding. This is the waist junction and the mesh has to be removed…delicately!

Slowly, the layers are peeled away and I am wishing I had never agreed to this! You can see the operator managed to catch some of the lining into one row of stitching…nice.

For some reason, the designer decided to keep the sequined fabric 1/2 inch away from the zipper and allow the satin layer to run all the away across…why? To reduce bulk? My nail is sliding up under the raw edge.

Let’s hand baste the bodice to the zipper BEFORE the mesh strips return. Now it is ready for the second try-on before adding the mesh.

Zipper hand basted with new darts in skirt:

Onto the zipper binding phase, lay all the parts out flat. The mesh strip remains attached at the very bottom.

With the zipper attached and slid up 2.5 inches, the mesh strips are hand basted before machine stitched:

What happens at the neckline? Well as per the original, this is what it looks like:

Of course, there is another useless strip of mesh along the neckline and it stands up.

Once the center of the mesh is attached, the outside edge is machine stitched to the sequin layer…very slowly and carefully as I am stitching through metal sequins!

Re-attaching the bias binding and discovering that it was sewn VERY tight so now that it is relaxed, it comes up short.

Original factory stitching up close:

Once it is snipped in the middle, you can see the problem. At least the pleat is gone.

Next step is attaching the binding by machine.

The tail has to be bound so I use a strip of lining:

Let’s make it flat and squared off.

Fold under and secure the edges:

Then finally hand baste it to the center back by hand.

Basted and ready for machine stitching:

I made 2 rows of hand stitching to get the teeth closer to the mesh without catching the mesh in the teeth…again…why?

Stitching between the 2 rows for a perfect fit keeping that darn mesh out of the way:

Almost done…just remove the 2 rows of basting and the dress is ready to go out the door…whew!

A couple of you have asked about hours of labor…well, this is one of those projects that you learn a valuable lesson from. I quoted the bride 3 hours before I saw all the steps it would take to remake it. In the end I put in over 6 hours but charged for the original 3…”Lesson Learned”.  I was so happy to see this dress go back out the front door that I forgot to take the final photo and the bride never sent one to me.

After looking through all these steps just for this zipper, any future zipper removal/reattachment will seem easy peasy! Right?

Before I get back to the final 4 brides for December, I wanted to share with you some Gingher scissors I recently purchased. Now, I have used Ginghers for over 40 years and always needed the 7 inch size with my small hands so when the new ones came I was surprised at the difference. The newest pair made in Italy are wider and heavier than the older ones from Mexico. The top blade in these photos really demonstrates:

Whatever your preference for scissors, please clean and oil your favorites from time to time. Another job that had to be done was cleaning out the bobbin case after all that sequin sewing….can you imagine that poor bobbin whizzing around with clumps of lint and a stray sequin?

I remove the rubber ring, clean in there and put a drop of oil into the center wick…treat your machine!!!

Sending you best wishes for all your holiday planning! I still have 4 gowns to finish before Dec 25 so the drama continues and more crazy posts to come!

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21 Responses to Selection by Posse’ Part 2

  1. maryfunt says:

    You were definitely in rip-out hell. I often find the deconstructing (without destroying) takes SO much longer than putting it back together. I hope the next four gowns aren’t too bad (is that wishful thinking?) so you can relax and enjoy the holiday.

  2. JenL says:

    Wow. It is a wonder sometimes what happens in the factory. For the bride, hope that mesh was not scratchy. Great work as usual!

  3. says:

    Disney could make a movie of the miracles you perform. You’d be the fairy godmother stitching gossamer for Cinderellas. They go off to their princes, as elegant as can be.

  4. barbara says:

    i’m exhausted and frustrated just reading this. i actually feel sorry for the man who’s marrying her and that’s not something i say lightly. off-subject, what machine are you using? when i take my bobbin cases apart, i don’t see a well for oiling in either the janome or the viking.

    • mrsmole says:

      I have mainly owned Janome’s and now an Elna which is identical. They all have that center wick under the bobbin case. You don’t have to remove the rubber ring. What Janome model do you have, Barbara?

  5. erniek3 says:

    Metal sequins for endurance? Why? So they weigh more? I know, no one asked us.

    I don’t know about to feel about this. I am a mere amateur in alterations, and kick myself for never getting the estimates right per time and cost. I’m getting closer, but reading that you ate three hours of work just hurts. “But Mrs MOLE! Noooooooo!”

  6. mrsmole says:

    Next year I will not be taking these “favors” from anyone not from the one salon. Hopefully I will be more precise with the quotes!!!! But it is hard!

  7. Kim says:

    It’s so frustrating when you realise you got the quite wrong. It happens from time to time, and knowing you’re basically working for nothing on something that’s giving trouble is doubly annoying. Well done on still finishing to your excitingly high standard.

  8. Fabrickated says:

    Gosh – how insanely irritating this job was, and I wasn’t even doing it – and to be doing it at half price! Oh my. I am sure it looked amazing though – your dresses always do. I guess people work in factories just have to get the job done in silly timeframes so if there is a tuck or another line of stitching or a non-matching edge they think “so what, no one will notice?” – but, thanks to your wonderful blog, we notice, don’t we? Nice to see how you look after your tools – note to self – do the same.

    • mrsmole says:

      Timing is everything in a factory…no time for ripping out and you just hope the inspector is out on a coffee or tea break when your pile gets done! I never bothered with oiling my scissors until a knife tech told me…”Hey, it is metal on metal so it needs oil”.

  9. Tia Dia says:

    Yuck. Any time I see beading or sequins, I run away!! I can see why you didn’t get a photo of the finished garment, just wanting it to GO AWAY.

    I hope Santa has some extra special presents for you this year!

    • mrsmole says:

      Santa is bringing me a hand blender to whip up soups…wish it could do double duty in my sewing room!!! Hope your Christmas is filled with love and laughter with your girls, Tia!

  10. sewruth says:

    That one was like a jigsaw puzzle – without the original picture to follow.
    I bet it looked great through.

  11. mrsmole says:

    Lordie, Ruth, If I didn’t take photos, I would have been lost! Your last creation of a wool coat and all the other coordinating pieces are quite the inspiration for all of us!

  12. Laura says:

    No no no no no – just no. Ripping out alone – uh no. You are amazing.

  13. Marilyn says:

    My head hurts just thinking about all this work for one dress. As you know, my previous consulting life involved estimates for projects. I still follow what I learned at IBM – come up with a number then triple it. Usually, you will never need the triple amount of time so you can go back to the client and say “Good News! You’ve saved some money”, and you look like a hero. Underpromise and Overdeliver. As an aside, I am not sure that I would have bothered putting that binding back on that zipper. The bride would never have noticed it missing. Is this just Mrs. Mole being fastidious? Or did it help to not scratch the skin while wearing? Beautiful job by you but I think this dress would be more appropriate for a New Years party. JMHO.

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