When I first started sewing years ago, I was completely perplexed (and intimidated) by the idea of finishing and sealing lining edges. You know the lining style I'm talking about? The kind where the lining is sewn shut without a visible sign or obvious opening. It used to confuse me to no end! Fast forward 10 years later, and sewing lining has become one of my favorite finishes due to both its simplicity and clean quality. Although this tutorial deals specifically with enclosing and sealing lining edges into a zippered blouse, it is imperative to first learn how to attach the lining itself. If you are unfamiliar with the process, check out this tutorial- Video Tutorial: How To Sew Full Lining To A Fitted Blouse With Darts
The blouse I'm working with is fully lined and has a hem facing. Before finishing the blouse hem itself, I attached the hem facing to the lining layer at the bottom. As an alternative, if you have a hem facing, you can sew it into the bottom of the blouse first after which you can connect it to the bottom edge of the lining. Some may argue this is a better technique, but I find that sealing the lining to the very bottom edge of the blouse hem is a bit more simple
On that same note, if your garment has a zipper, whether along the sides seam (like in this case) or any other seam (center back, center front, etc.) make sure the zipper is fully stitched into the blouse layer first before finishing the lining to the zipper tape.
Every time I do a tutorial about invisible zippers, I spend the first paragraph talking about their convenience and how much I love using them. This time around, I'll (try to) spare you the long praise- well, aside from telling you that invisible zippers are probably one of the best inventions in dressmaking.
In a previous sewing tutorial, I introduced you to the basics of sewing an invisible zipper using a regular zipper presser foot on your sewing machine (not invisible zipper foot). In this video tutorial, I'll walk you through an actual application of an invisible zipper into the side seam of a lined blouse. This application is widely used with form fitted woven dresses, especially those that are more formal and tailored. While my invisible zipper will be sewn into the side seam, you can use the same technique to apply it to any regular seam.
It is called invisible for reason- When closed, invisible zippers blend into the seam, becoming essentially unnoticeable on the outside of the garment. This characteristic makes it ideal for a quick, clean garment closure that doesn't alter its design.
Its simplicity doesn't require any special seam manipulation aside from the necessity of a seam allowance that matches the invisible zipper tape. In most cases, the seam that will house the invisible zipper should have anywhere from 1/2" to 5/8" seam allowance, depending on the width of the zipper tape being used. The reason seam allowance is important with this type of zipper application is that for best (easiest) results, the zipper tape edges should be aligned with each corresponding seam allowance edges such that when closed, the zipper blends evenly into the seam without altering its fit or size.
If you are a sewing beginner, the notion of sewing lining can be just as much confusing as rewarding when trying to fit all those fabric pieces together like a puzzle. The confusion often stems from the fact that there are various techniques you can use to fully line a garment, and honestly, all of them are usually correct. Sewing is not as black and white as you may think, and there are often a variety of different methods for achieving the same task. So before we get started, remove the notion that you have to sew lining using a single technique. Obviously, you want to choose the one that is easiest and most logical for the project at hand, but it's OK if you reverse the steps or switch up the rules a bit.
In this tutorial, I'll show you the easiest technique for fully lining a sleeveless fitted blouse (with darts). This technique works only if you have a front or back seam that completely separates. Normally, a non-stretch woven garment that is lined will require some form of closure like a zipper, buttons, snaps etc. Zipper closures, of course, are simple and the most widely used so you can expect to have one down the center back seam in most form fitted, lined garments.
The blouse I'm lining in this tutorial is a crop top part of this sewalong in the making. This little crop top completes a two-piece cocktail dress that features a more tailored style. Naturally, a tailored garment is best finished with lining as it provides structure and emphasizes its clean lines.
Ever since I started sewing years and year ago, the notion of cutting a pattern on fold has consistently presented itself. Cutting sewing patterns on fold is a technique very commonly used by beginner sewists and advanced dressmakers alike. Discussed in a previous introductory tutorial, utilizing the cut on fold technique, both in pattern drafting and cutting, can save space, pattern paper and make the cutting and patterning process more efficient and easy to handle. While this previous tutorial was more of a general introduction of these basic concepts, today's post will focus on two other equally important factors: How to correctly fold the fabric in preparation for pattern cutting, and how to transfer darts and other markings evenly to a cut on fold fabric piece. The latter can prove to be a bit more difficult to grasp as a beginner.
Folding The Fabric In Preparation For Cutting A Pattern On Fold
The process of cutting a sewing pattern on fold starts with folding the fabric correctly. This entails paying attention to grain line and using the fabric's selvage edge to fold the fabric correctly on grain. If you need a refresher on fabric grain and how to position sewing patterns against the fabric, check out this tutorial: 4 Ways To Lay Out A Sewing Pattern For Cutting: Understanding Fabric Grain And The Selvage Edge.
To start with, find the selvage edge closest to you and fold it over the fabric such that the wrong side of the fabric (if there is one) is facing out and the right side is sandwiched in between. The reason for this very specific placement is so that the markings which will later need to be transferred from pattern onto fabric end up on the wrong side of the fabric. This not only preserves the fabric's face side but having the markings on the wrong side correspond more comfortably to the way the fabric pieces are handled in the sewing process. In this instance, my fabric has no right or wrong side so I just folded it over evenly.
Now for the big question, how much to fold the fabric? The way I estimate how much to fold the fabric is by positioning the sewing pattern next to the selvage edge and try to capture an approximate fold line. I always try to stay as close to the selvage edges as possible with just a bit of extra room (1/2-1"). Doing so will preserve fabric as well as help you work a lot more efficiently.
So you've gathered all supplies, trims, and fabrics for your garment-to-be but there is just one thing missing… You’ve scoured fabric store after fabric store and still can’t find that perfect length zipper in the right color. Let’s face it, if your garment calls for a zipper, it is most likely essential to its functionality. Needless to say, you won’t be able to skip this one.
What if the opposite happens- you found the right color in the right style but not the right length? Should you forgo color for length and just get the next best thing in a mismatched color? While you may think that’s your best option, the good news is, there’s a better way. If the style and color of the longer zipper matches the clothing item you are sewing, buy it and shorten it at home using the simple technique described below. After all, if you are striving for a professional finish, a mismatched zipper color can be a dead giveaway that things didn’t go quite well in the construction process (unless done intentionally, of course).
Do you remember the very first clothing item you made? I vividly remember mine: an A-line blouse with long sleeves that extended into an exaggerated bell silhouette (oh early 2000's fashion...). Here I am, years later, thinking about some of the sewing elements that still intimidate me to this day. Regardless of how much you love this craft, there are always things you love to sew more than others. That's just a very natural aspect of dressmaking, regardless of your skill level. One of the things I used to dread, but have actually come to enjoy, is sewing lining and facings to the zipper area.
I used to be terrified of anything remotely related to zippers. From sewing them evenly to navigating around the zipper coils during machine stitching, needless to say, all were highly dreaded. Along the way, I've learned that the key to getting past the fear is not only to keep practicing, but also to embrace the possibility of making mistakes. In the process, it is also a good idea to adhere to some basic sewing rules. I know, nobody likes rules, and quite frankly, they can overwhelm a sewing beginner to the point of giving up way too early in the game. Nonetheless, they are designed to be helpful in the long run and save you time in the sewing process. This concept is especially applicable to sewing zippers and clean finishing lining. If you follow some basic techniques correctly, you'll minimize stress and make the process a lot more enjoyable.
That being said, when it comes to finishing lining edges against that dreaded zipper, there are a few main sewing factors (or basic sewing rules) that come into play:
1. Fabric pieces should be sewn face to face, with their right sides touching (in most cases).
2. Sewing clean finished corners at the top of the zipper opening should be done correctly, at a 90 degree angle.
3. Learning how to use a regular zipper presser foot for different sewing applications (you'll fall in love with the convenience of this one!)
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