Tag Archives: princess seams

Learning and Mistakes Along the Way

On the home stretch to finishing my dress, I have had a few problems.  First I put in the 12-14 inch zipper listed on the pattern envelope.  Common sense should have told me it would be too short, and it was.  It was hard unpicking the tiny stitches, but I did a better job putting in the replacement zipper, a 22 inch zipper I shortened to 18 inch.  The first time I caught some of the coils and the zipper couldn’t move.  The second time I ironed the zipper and I manually moved the coils to the side as I sewed.  I bought the Brother invisible zipper foot.  My waist seam didn’t match up on either side of the zipper so more unpicking.


I look at 2 or 3 different tutorials for every technique I need help with.  For my zipper the one I found most helpful was this tutorial:

Installing an invisible zipper from the Colette Patterns website

My favorite instruction on princess seams:

Princess Seams from sew2pro.com

I used these tutorials to figure out how to attach the lining:

All-Machine Clean-Finish Sleeveless Bodice Lining Technique Tutorial from the Slapdash Sewist

How to Line a Sleeveless Dress from E-how

The book, The Perfect Fit, for altering princess seams to fit a full bust.


I didn’t trim my lining properly so I badly needed to understitch.  The part that I wondered about is if you sew through both seam allowances; I came to the conclusion that you do.

A good tutorial is:

Understitching from Sewaholic

I enjoyed using my new rotary pinking blade to finish my seams.


This one needs grading:



Oops! or should I say “darn!” (pun intended).  Not a mistake you want to make at this point, but at least my fingers are intact.

All that’s left now is hemming and tacking the lining to the zipper. I’m so ready to be finished!

Taking a Look at New Look 6020

One of my sewing goals this year is to make my first dress.  New Look 6020 appeals to me with its princess seams, and flared skirt.

New Look 6020

I bought 3 yards of this cotton fabric two years ago without a pattern in mind.  I now know the fabric is called quilting cotton.    At the time I didn’t know the difference between apparel fabric and cotton used for quilting, but since then I’ve read some lively discussions about the suitability of using quilting cotton  for clothes.  I’ll see what I think when I wear it!  The pattern has a lot of seams, but the floral print should look just fine being broken up. Besides the princess seams, side seams and waist seam,  the skirt has 3 panels on each side.

One thing that surprised me about this pattern is the placement of the zipper.  It looks like a lapped zipper in the side starting a few inches below the underarm.  I’ve never worn a garment with a side zip, and  I intend on changing it to an invisible back zip.  I did a search on changing  a side zipper to a back zipper and found this interesting post by Vicki Kate Makes : Side or Back Zippers – Which Do You Prefer?  I don’t like  the idea of a  zipper that doesn’t completely separate.  I’m raising the neckline and bringing in the wide shoulders and I don’t want to struggle to put it on over my head.  So I’ll have to change the facings, and cut the back in 2 pieces with a seam allowance added.


The pattern has a seam allowance of 3/8 for the princess seams.  The two methods I’ve used to finish side seams are clean finish (turn and sew), and mock french seams but that might not lie flat with a princess seam. I’m wondering if I should line the bodice to keep the messy (slit and notched) unfinished seam from showing and to protect it from wear and tear.


When you first look at the pieces of a princess seam, it looks like two puzzle pieces that don’t fit together!  I’m reading how to sew these odd curved seams, and I’m sure I have some fitting challenges ahead of me as well.   My “muslin” will be made from a worn sheet.

What do you look for when you first take a pattern out of the envelope?  Any suggestions or tips for me?