Ah, my sewing nemesis, we meet again.

Do you ever run into a technique that you just don’t seem to get, no matter how you try? I’ve been sewing for most of my life, and I still have trouble with zippers. By this point, I’ve gotten regular centered zippers and invisible zippers down pretty well, with special thanks to handbasting. Lapped zippers are a little trickier, since I don’t use them very often.

And then there’s the fly-front zipper. I don’t know what it is about them, but they just are ridiculously hard for me for some reason. It must have something to do with my horrendous lack of direction.

The last time I tackled one of these was about 2 years ago, with the ill-fated jeans. And admittedly, it wasn’t the best zipper job ever. (None of my fly-front zippers have been so far.) And it was very, VERY tempting for me to just stick with the side zipper that the original pants pattern had. But I wanted those welt pockets, and wasn’t sure if a zipper would interfere with those. Or the fit at the side, for that matter. And since a successful pair of well-fitting jeans is pretty much my search-for-the-Holy-Grail project, I have to learn it sometime, right? The most annoying thing about it is, it seems like I always make the exact same mistakes.

So my process today went something like this:
1. Sew the facing that’s supposed to go on the right side on, trim excess fabric out of corner, and press.
2. Realize that I actually sewed this onto the left side, despite having held the leg up to myself to double-check before sewing. (Which is “mistake I always make” #1– apparently, I still can’t tell left from right.)
3. Re-cut and re-interface the piece, repeat with the opposite side.
4. Realize that I don’t actually have a zipper that’s the right color. Grab the closest one I have anyway so I don’t have to run out to Joann’s while I could be sewing. (Truth be told, I think this might be the zipper I originally got to go with this fabric anyway–my original plan was the Nichola pants. Guessing the right color just wasn’t there.)

5. Start sewing in the zipper. Wonder what on earth possessed me to follow Burda’s instructions for doing so, since it involved trying to accurately stitch the zipper from the wrong side for half of it.
6. Be pleasantly surprised at how well the zipper went in, and proceed to sew the left side backing piece in with renewed confidence.
7. Draw in and then stitch the fly front topstitching.

8, Realize that, once again, I’ve done “mistake I always make” #2: Stitch the entire opening closed. Face, meet palm.

I did rip it out and restitch it with better results. But this is the other reason I wanted to make a full wearable test version of these pants first!

Aside from that, I did get the waistband sewed on, as well as getting the facing partially sewed in. I was hoping to get a little further today, but the zipper slowed me down quite a bit. Oh well– assuming all goes well with the buttonhole, I should be able to knock the rest of these shorts off in an hour or two!

I did another quick project yesterday as well, this one a refashion. On my last Goodwill excursion, I found this top:

(Picture lightened quite a bit to show what’s going on.) This top had a lot going for it– it fits great, I really liked the print mix, and I found out belatedly that it’s silk instead of polyester like I thought. Of course, the way I found that out was that after I took it out of the dryer, I found out that the outside had shrunk about an inch shorter, while the synthetic lining had stayed the same length. (Thus the lighter brown band at the bottom in this pic.) It also had some awkward flutter sleeves–I do like interesting sleeves, but these were just a little weird. And then the little panel in the front of the V-neck was still too low-cut to really function well for hiding cleavage.

I got the urge while I was at work yesterday to have something new to wear for going out to a local festival with some friends last night, so I pulled this one out and got it all fixed up just in time. I didn’t really feel like rethreading the machine, and didn’t want to mess up the outside with obvious stitching lines so I did it all by hand. I took the sleeves off, cut the panel out, and then hemmed up the lining about 1 1/4″:. And ended up with this:

Not the best pic– I was hoping to get one at the festival, but it didn’t happen. So this was me using the self-timer with the camera sitting on the trunk of my car just after it got dark. Anyway, I think it’s much cuter as a sleeveless shirt, and will function much better layering over various tank tops, like the brown one I’m wearing here.

2 thoughts on “Ah, my sewing nemesis, we meet again.

  1. I love that top! I know this sounds silly, but I have the same problem with *button holes.* It seems ridiculous, but I never can get my machine to do it right (or I just can't use my machine correctly). Keep on working at it, I'm sure you'll master the zippers–all of them!


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