Not much sewing :-(

After I posted the pattern for the turquoise dress I’m working on last week, everything conspired to keep me away from my machines.  I couldn’t get 5 minutes to stack together.  I was finally able to do a little work late yesterday.

At the zipper, I hesitated.  The dress pattern wanted an invisible zipper, and I seldom use those.  I needed a little memory-refresher to get me going again.  The Bernina doesn’t have an invisible zipper foot, but I knew from experience that it could be done without one.  I just couldn’t recall the process.  Sigrid’s sewing tutorials to the rescue!

Standard Buttonhole foot #3

Chiefly, I used Els’ tutorial to sew it, and Summerset’s method of keying the zipper to get my dress’ horizontal seams aligned to my satisfaction.  I pressed those coils flat and pinned the thing in place.  I found that my Bernina zipper foot did not allow me to both hold the zipper in place and stitch close to the coils.  As soon as I removed a pin, the foot would nudge the zipper off the seam allowance and onto the body of the dress. I could have hand-basted the zipper in place first, but I’m not really a basting kind of a girl.  I can and will baste, but only as a last resort.

I decided to try another foot instead.

Any foot I used must be able to ride along the zipper coil plus have a wide opening to allow the needle to shift close to the coil.  I immediately thought of the manual buttonhole foot that I had bought last year.  It seemed perfect, and as it turned out, was!

Not only did the foot keep the zipper tape in place along the center back without pushing it outward, the groove in the bottom of the foot kept the coil steady as I stitched.  If you click on the image at the right (which I borrowed from the Bernina site, btw), you’ll be able to see a video which shows the underside of the foot.  It has audio, so turn the volume down if you don’t want people around you to be entertained (and I use the term loosely) by the overview of the foot’s features.

Next time you sew an invisible zipper, you might consider using such a foot–especially if you have trouble getting your stitching close enough to the zipper coil, as I do.

The dress’ sewing order does not lend itself to fitting as you go.  I suspected that it would be a little large at the back hip.  After I got the zipper installed, I saw loose folds in back.  (My mother has a good ole Southern expression for this condition, which I’ll leave to your imagination.)  Naturally the position of the folds indicated that the center back seam would be the best place to take it in.


I suppose I’ll be ripping the lower half of my zipper–below the pesky horizontal seams to make it a little smaller there.   I don’t mind a little ripping and restitching to make the dress look just right, so I’ll get to it as soon as I can.

The dress is looking good.  Mr H gave me the thumbs up to say that he liked it. ;-)

4 thoughts on “Not much sewing :-(

  1. Oh yes Bernina does too have an invisible zipper, it’s #35. I think I paid around $35 for it about 3 years ago — then again, as lousy as it works (and I pretty much love what every other Bernina foot can do) maybe they’ve discontinued it??? I’ve had nothing but frustration using the thing. The last time I tried to use it, I tried, and tried, and ripped and ripped and ripped!!!! I finally tried just putting the zipper in the slot of the foot, and tried to slide it down the zipper — no go!!!! Well no wonder the foot gets stuck!!! I’ll have to give the #3 foot a try, or a pintuck foot, which one did you use Fiona? And try to get a refund from Bernina. Seems like the right thing for them to do.
    Oh, yeah, here’s the link (URL) for the video of it: — “ride thru smoothly”, my foot!!!! No pun intended!

  2. Hee hee. designdreamer, I didn’t mean that Bernina didn’t make one. I just meant that *my* Bernina didn’t have one. My dealer went out of business a few months after I brought home my “sewing computer” and getting a new foot means a drive to Atlanta. I try to avoid that as much as possible! After reading of your experience with it, I won’t bother with their foot. That #3 foot works great for the purpose.

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