There have been a lot of ups and downs around here the past few days. Somehow, it all comes back to bags. I found myself floundering around for purpose when something was going on that was making me sad, and I realized that I haven’t written a new bag pattern for release yet this year (besides in a magazine, etc.). ‘How could this be??’ I asked myself. Bag pattern writing is my heart and soul, and I periodically get e-mails from my pattern testers asking if I’m okay or seeing what I’m up to, as they hadn’t gotten a tester e-mail in a really really really long time. Something’s gotta give!
So I set to work last night drafting pattern pieces for train cases in 3 different sizes. Each case will have 2 zippers on the exterior, leaving room for many compartments. These cases can be used for make-up, sewing supplies, etc. If you’re not familiar with a train case, think of a carton of Breyer’s ice cream (for my non-U.S. readers, it’s like a modular rectangle with a lid). My bag sketches are notoriously lame, so here’s my initial game-plan, along with the fabrics I’ll be using for the train cases (from Katarina Roccella’s ‘Indelible’ line).
Because my new pattern required a zipper installion, before I got to sewing I decided to brush up on my zipper skills and review Craftsy’s free mini class (which, even though it’s called mini, is approximately a 90 minute class) called ‘Mastering Zipper Techniques’. I just wanted to note that my review as follows is sponsored by Craftsy, although all opinions are my own. At this point in my blogging career, I am very conscientious about what I promote on my blog. If I participate in a blog tour or book review of something, I am generally making something and not just showing you pretty pictures from the pattern/book (although I can’t show you finished photos from my pattern just yet!). I hope that you’ll find my review of this Craftsy class well-thought-out. And just a reminder that it is completely free; once you set up an account on Craftsy, any class you purchase (even a free class) will stay in your account for all of time, ready for you to access at any time of day. For the next few months, I’ll be blogging about a different Craftsy class each month and showing you a finished project that I’ve made from that class.
After the class introduction, Sunni jumps right in with 18 minutes of instruction for the slotted seam zipper. For the class, she shows the example in a skirt, pictured above, but this can also apply to bag-making (attaching a zipper to the exterior fabric of a bag and then later hand-sewing the completed lining to the wrong side of the zipper). For this video, the area below the zipper was sewn and then the rest of the seam allowance was ironed using a seam allowance gauge in preparation for the zipper. I realize there are about a dozen different ways to do any one given thing in sewing, so I just wanted to mention that when I usually use this type of zipper application, instead of ironing the seam allowance, I usually just baste it (the basting stitches would be removed after the zipper is installed). But I kind of think this is a snazzy method as you are topstitching the zipper in place right off the bat. I am glad to learn a different way to do this! It’s great to learn different ways of doing things, because then you have the option of choosing your favorite method from the bunch.
The next segment of the class is a 12-minute video on how to install an invisible zipper. Sunni gives instruction for using either an invisible zipper foot or your regular zipper foot. I have never used an invisible zipper foot before (I iron my coils flat and use the regular zipper foot), so I thought it fascinating to see the other foot in action. Invisible zippers make a dress or skirt look really professional, and are not as hard to sew in as you would think.
There is also a 35-minute section on how to install the previous zipper applications into lined and faced garments. I don’t usually have a lining when I make a dress or skirt, so I was fascinated by this section and pretty much on the edge of my seat, since I don’t have a lot of experience doing this. Which sounds pretty dorky, but I suppose that is the point of the Craftsy videos…being able to see something explained to you on a video which you didn’t know how to do before (which you can take notes directly on the video while you are watching it, so your notes will be saved in that exact spot on the video any time that you need them).
The final segment of the video is a 14-minute instruction of how to install a lapped zipper. A lapped zipper looks almost like an invisible zipper when installed, but it’s a regular zipper with the fabric in the seam overlapping where your regular zipper is. Again, this is not something that I have done before, so it was very interesting for me to see. Obviously, from my descriptions the zipper methods discussed in this particular Craftsy class are suited to garments, but I think the core basics of working with zippers can be a jumping platform that can be used with other sewn items. The class was presented in a slow (but not too slow) manner. I watched an instruction video on Youtube this past spring and the instructor talked quickly, quietly, and moved around so fast that I could hardly tell what they were doing, so I thought that ‘Mastering Zipper Techniques’ was extremely well done and would make it easy for anyone following along to catch all of the steps.