I’m Making a Skirt! Phase 3: Caught in the Zipper

Phase 1: Practice

Phase 2: Gadget Testing

Just over three weeks ago, I had the idea that I could possibly finish the exterior of the skirt I was making before leaving for vacation. I had a great deal of trouble with the hard-to-install, fiddly little plastic invisible zipper foot*, but I persevered.

This foot comes with a variety of different adapters, but it was hard to tell (a) which one to use and (b) how to attach it to my machine.

This Coats and Clark foot comes with a variety of different adapters, but it was hard to tell (a) which one to use and (b) how to attach it to my machine. Also, please note that the bottom has fallen off. This happens with some regularity when using the foot. Once I put it back on backwards, which further slowed me down.

Then I sewed the zipper on the wrong side of the skirt. Clearly, I should have practiced zipper-installation on my practice skirt. It would have been worth buying an extra zipper.


This is what an invisible zipper is supposed to look like. Mine opened to the inside of the skirt. Whoops.

Well, I picked out the stitches and tried again. Now, I had basted it on, so I had to pick out two rows of stitches. And I forgot that “baste” means “use big stitches,” so I had two rows of stitches. And the black thread is almost invisible against the black-and-white houndstooth fabric and completely invisible against the black zipper. Sigh.

So after I finished picking out all those stitches, I sewed it on again. This time, I remembered to use nice big basting stitches.

Which is good, because this time I sewed on the wrong side of the zipper.

I picked it out again. It was getting hard to measure the correct placement because the edges of the fabric are getting so frayed from repeated handling, it’s hard to tell where the edge is. This time I remembered that Grandma FP never basted down a zipper–she held it in place with scotch tape. So that’s what I did this time.

Which is good, because I only got half the zipper right this time. (Apparently the trick with an invisible zipper is that you sew on the right side of the fabric with one side of the zipper and then the wrong side of the fabric for the other half. I really do understand now.)

Unfortunately, by this time I have damaged the fabric; something about the fabric just clings to the stitches. Also my house was a mess, so I laid the project aside.

I kind of had to attack the fabric to remove the zipper this time.

I kind of had to attack the fabric to remove the zipper this time.

At least this side looks beautiful.

At least this side looks beautiful.

Here are the options for continuing that I have thought of:

  1. Reinforce the damaged fabric. Iron-on interfacing?
  2. Reinforce damaged fabric with fusible webbing and a scrap of leftover fabric from the skirt or the lining.
  3. Cut half an inch off the side of the skirt and start anew, making it slightly asymmetrical, but more structurally sound.

Option 1 would require a trip to Jo-Ann, because I have no interfacing, while #3 would require some tedious measuring. And #2 might come out bulky.

Frankly, I’m hoping my mother will weigh in and tell me what to do. GRANDMA FP! YOUR ADVICE PLEASE!

I’m proud of how calm I have stayed during this entire debacle and remain confident that this whole exercise is, in fact, going somewhere. Friends, what setbacks are you running across lately? How have you handled them?

*I am considering buying a nice metal one to fit my machine, but last time I checked they were about $16, which seems like a lot.



About frugalparagon

I'm a part-time librarian and mom to two small boys. I blog about striving for the long-term goal of financial independence while running a tight ship at home.

4 responses to “I’m Making a Skirt! Phase 3: Caught in the Zipper”

  1. FP grandma says :

    Sorry to be laughing so hard! I have to admit I’ve never installed an invisible zipper! I never really understood the physics involved. I am reminded of the time when I made matching dresses for you and your sister for your aunt’s wedding then melted four inches of hem during the final pressing. I’d go with option three or table the project. I’m very impressed with your skill and perseverance. When I cleaned up Great Grandma’s sewing things, I found a seam ripper in every nook and cranny, many of which I still have.

  2. Moonwaves says :

    I’m very late catching up but very impressed with your efforts. The finished thing definitely looks like a real skirt (it IS a real skirt!) and you should definitely wear it. I still haven’t made it to sewing but every time I mess something up when knitting I repeat to myself “each item is unique”, like an advertising slogan or something. As for the cost of the metal foot, well, how many hours did you spend picking out the stitches on failed attempts, how many minutes did you spend reattaching the plastic foot, etc. Add in something for your frustration and it probably wouldn’t take all that long before $16 actually seems like it could offer a pretty good return. Actually, that reminds me that I wanted to try and figure out a way to cost “frustration” so that for these kind of decisions I have a number I can assign to the equation all ready to go, instead of just letting the frustration take over. 🙂

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. I Made a Recognizable Skirt! | The Frugal Paragon - September 7, 2015
  2. I Made Another Skirt! | The Frugal Paragon - July 14, 2016

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