Sep 042015

Today we have a special treat from Sew Indie Month. Kati from Kate & Rose is here to show a tutorial on how she made this amazing folkswear inspired Olive that goes perfectly with her new Kinga skirt pattern. Kate & Rose patterns are folkwear inspired and she has several garment patterns along with many embroidery patterns. The patterns go well together and create a very cohesive look. Her style is incredible! You can check out all the Kate & Rose patterns here.

The Kinga skirt pattern is brand new and you can only get this pattern in the second huge bundle sale we have going on right now! Check out her amazing Kinga and Olive and then run over and buy your bundle! Remember 20% of proceeds go to Women for Women charity. Check out for all the information. Without anymore delay, here she is with this great tutorial:

olive top with kinga skirt

The inspiration for the new Kinga skirt came from one of my favorite styles of Hungarian folk wear: from the North-Eastern part of Hungary, like the Cabbage Rose Fancy and Faraway Garden embroidery pattern sets. The most common outfit has a skirt with tons and tons of ribbons and flowers, and a fitted top with a pouf sleeve and a wide, colorful ribbon around the waist:

hungarian folk costume

(Source: Folk Costumes and Embroidery)

For this tutorial, I want to show you how to hack Lolita Patterns’ Olive blouse pattern to create a contemporary version of this look along with the Kinga skirt.

Ribbons are an obsession of Central European folk wear, you can even see it in contemporary fashion design like Lena Hoschek’s ribbon skirt. The Olive pattern has a great shape through which to combine the most important elements of both: princess seams, a sweet peplum, and a distinctive straight waistband piece which is perfect for displaying a wide floral ribbon. A lovely pattern all around.


To do this, I replaced the side zip with a front zipper opening, for which I used a metal separating zipper. Then, I covered the waistband with folkwear ribbon. I used a vintage ribbon I found in a thrift shop a couple years ago, but you can find beautiful folk art ribbons at M & J Trimmings or Etsy. The width of the ribbon is the same as the width of the waistband of the Olive. The separating zipper I chose is also in a contrasting color with my blouse fabric (I used a simple black cotton broadcloth), it matches the ribbon. The zipper is one of those stunning, way-too-expensive Riri zippers one gets seduced into buying when going to Pacific Trimmings. I got it cut to the exact length I needed, which I will tell you how to figure out.


1. Pattern work

To create the front zip opening, we have to adjust the pattern pieces a tiny bit, then change the front facing to accommodate the zipper.

The front facing of the Olive is made of one piece and extends to the sleeves and side seams. This kind of facing supports the finished blouse across the shoulders and around the sleeves, is easy to finish and stays put nicely. All we need to do is re-create it as a two-piece facing, and extend it to the bottom of the blouse.

We’ll work with the front of the blouse from View B. I created a handy series of diagrams to walk you through the workflow – nothing very complicated.


We’ll need pattern pieces 6 (front facing), 8 (front waistband), 10 (front peplum), and 18 (front center bodice) (diagram 1). Cut the front waistband piece (8) and the front peplum piece (10) in half, as if they needed to be cut on the fold line (diagram 2). To find where the bodice center will actually be, measure the width of your zipper teeth – they can vary a bit.


Add about 2 mm (1/8”) to this measurement to give the opening a bit of space, then mark and cut off the same amount at the center fold line on all front pattern pieces, including the facing (diagram 3).

Now subtract the seam allowance (3/8” or 1 cm), marking the seamlines around the waistband on the front center bodice, the waistband, and the front peplum (diagram 4). Next, lay the outer front pattern pieces together so that the seam allowance is removed, measure, and extend the center front seamline of the front facing (piece 6) by this amount (diagram 5). This is also the length of the zipper you’ll need, though make sure you remove the neckline seam allowance and the hem allowance from your final zipper length measurement.

Finally, tape a long piece of paper to the facing, and extend the inner edge of the front facing down to its new bottom, creating a strip of about 2.5” or 6 cm, and draw a nice smooth curve to join the strip to the original facing (diagram 6). Tape some more paper to the center edge of the front center piece, the waistband piece, and the peplum, and add a seam allowance of 3/8” or 1cm (diagram 7). Cut off the excess paper (diagram 8) and your new front pieces are now ready.

2. Sewing the top

To sew the new top, we’ll change up the order of sewing from the instructions just a tiny bit. First, sew the entire bodice, minus the facings – just the front and back bodice, waistbands, peplum. At this point (and here we deviate from the original instructions), also sew the side seams. We’re doing this so that the ribbon can be attached in a continuous piece in just a little bit.


Then, add a thin strip of interfacing to the center front opening on both sides (you can see that I used leftover pretty fabric as a kind of interlining for pattern pieces that otherwise needed interfacing).


Next, attach the ribbon to the waistband. Sew a line of topstitching using a thread that matches the color of the zipper. To be on the safe side, make sure the ribbon has extra seam allowance at either edge, and finish its edges before attaching to the waistband.


Sew carefully along both edges of the ribbon. Change the thread to a color that matches the ribbon.


Now it’s time to attach the zipper. To make sure the zipper is in the right position, line up the bottom end of the zipper teeth is with the edge of the hemline allowance first.


This way, in case the zipper is slightly too long, you can shorten it at the top. The correct length of the zipper should put the top of the zipper teeth right at the edge of the neckline seam allowance.


Start sewing a bit below the top of the zipper opening, to avoid the zipper pull, and attach zipper to both sides.


Finish by opening the zipper pull and stitch the top of the zipper the rest of the way to the bodice.


Next, stitch the shoulder and side seams of the front and back facings, and finish the outer edge of the facing. To attach the bodice to the facing along the zipper, first open the zipper all the way. Then, with the zipper teeth facing inward, match up the shoulder seams, corners, and so on, and sandwich the zipper between the facing and the bodice.


Stitch facing to bodice. I like to begin stitching at the center neckline, and along one side, then go back to the center neckline and stitch down along the other side. Make sure to avoid the top zipper opening and the metallic bits, stopping your stitching right before you get to that area, and either leaving it open for later handstitching or handcranking the sewing machine carefully over it to avoid breaking your needle.


Carefully position the needle on the edge of the zipper and stitch along the edge.


When sewing the side with the zipper pull, position the zipper pull all the way to the bottom to make sure you don’t accidentally stitch over it.


Then pull the zipper pull past where you’re stitching, and stitch all the way down the edge. 15_zipper_bottom_facing2 Stitch the bottom edge of the facing to the hem, stopping your stitching before you get to the zipper teeth.


Repeat with the other side of the zipper, lining up the waistband carefully. When done, clip corners of facing.


Handstitch corners closed that we left open to avoid breaking the sewing machine needle.


Turn facing to the inside and blouse right side out, and press. The zipper is done!


All you’ve got left to do is attach and finish the sleeves, hem the blouse, and you’ve got yourself a folksy-yet-zippy little top!


I bet you’ll get tons of compliments on it. Just that fancy ribbon alone!


What do you think? I’m definitely putting a zipper down the front in my next Olive. I never even though of it but it looks awesome! I’m so glad Kati did this tutorial and put the idea in my head. More SIM posts are on their way this month so keep watching. Also, don’t forget, for the month of September, all PDF patterns are 40% off with the code SIM40OFF! This way you can grab a pattern and sew it up to enter the SIM contests and win prizes. I can’t wait to see what you all make!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

Feb 262013

Lolita Patterns | Invisible Zipper  Tutorial

How is everyone’s Fuchsia coming along? There is only one more step after we insert this zipper! I tried to be as inclusive as possible with this tutorial so you can refer to it any time you need to insert an invisible zipper in any project. Ready? Let’s go!

First thing I like to do is press the zipper. This is a totally OPTIONAL step, and you can pull it open as you stitch if you do not want to press it. If you do want to press it first, put it on a polyester (low heat) setting and do not press over the coils. You want to press the coils open to create the “ditch” the stitching should go in.

Lolita Patterns | Invisible Zipper Tutorial 1

The next picture shows the zipper with one side pressed so you can see the difference the pressing makes.

Lolita Patterns | Invisible Zipper Tutorial 2

Since we finished all our seam allowances in the last step, we can start right in on the zipper. Measure down 1/8″ more than the seam allowance from the top of the waistband. Our seam allowance is 3/8″ so I measured down 1/2″ and marked a line. (with a Frixion pen!) Make this mark on both sides. This mark shows us where to place the top stop of the zipper. Not the top of the tape, the zipper stop will go right below this mark.

Lolita Patterns | Invisible Zipper Tutorial 3

Lolita Patterns | Invisible Zipper Tutorial 4

I use pins to place my zipper, but a great alternative is to use Wonder Tape. It is sticky and holds the zipper in place exactly where you need it, yet washes away with water after you have completed your stitching.

If this is your first time inserting an invisible zipper, watch the pictures closely to make sure you are placing it correctly. While inserting it, it may look a little twisted, but if you follow the pictures, it will come out great.

Pin (or wonder tape) the right side of the zipper tape to the right side of the project.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 6

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 5It is best to sew an invisible zipper with an invisible zipper foot. These feet are not very expensive and definitely help get in the groove next to the coils to make sure the zipper is truly “invisible” when it is finished. However, you can use your regular zipper foot and we will discuss both ways.

While sewing, be sure to peel back the coils to make sure the needle can get as close to them as possible without actually stitching through any coils. Stitch as far down as you can–the zipper pull will eventually stop you.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 7

This picture shows the zipper being inserted on the left hand side, but make sure to pull the coils back as you sew on both sides

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 8

Using a regular zipper foot and pulling back the coils

After sewing the first side, go ahead and zip up the zipper so we can make a marking where the zipper needs to match up seams.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 8

Now we want to mark the match points. (I only had a 9 inch zipper so mine does not go into the scallops, but if yours does, do this same marking where you want the scallops to match.) Draw a line exactly where the waistband seam is on the opposite side of the zipper. (and the scallops if necessary)

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 9

Now unzip the zipper, and use those placement lines to match the seams while pinning (or wonder taping) the zipper to the other side.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 10

matching the mark to the waistband seam

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 11

Look closely at the above picture to orient the zipper correctly. The right side of the zipper goes to the right side of the fabric and the coils face away from the opening. Where the zipper pull is at the bottom will look all twisted and weird. This is okay.

Go ahead and sew down this side as far as you can while again pulling the coils out of the way of your stitching. Here is a picture of what the zipper will look like after stitching. The seam below the zipper is still not yet sewn.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 12

Go ahead and test the zipper to make sure it has been sewn up the right way and that the seams match where you want them to.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 13

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 13

close up of seam below zipper that is not yet sewn

If you are pleased with how invisible the zipper is and all your match points line up, then go ahead and fold the right sides of the fabric together so we can sew the lower part of the seam.

I sew from the bottom of the seam up to about 1/2″ from where the zipper stitching stops and I use my regular foot. Make sure to pull the bottom of the zipper tape out of the way so you do not sew it in the seam.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 14

close up of zipper stitching and seam stitching from bottom of garment

Lastly, put on your regular zipper foot and attach the stitching together while holding the bottom of the zipper tape out of the way.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 15

see how I am pulling the bottom of the zipper tape to the side so it is not caught in the stitching?

All done! The more you do these zippers, the more they are easier than regular zippers. I love invisible zippers!

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 16

All done! oops, I forgot to press…ignore the wrinkles please

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 17

completed inside of invisible zipper with seam allowances finished with seam binding

How did it go???

If you do regularly insert invisible zippers and they are not truly “invisible” when finished, try pressing the coils before beginning as written above, and also using an invisible zipper foot and pull the coils back while sewing. The easiest way to make an invisible zipper not invisible is not sewing close enough to the coils. But sew too close, and you might sew into the coils and you won’t be able to do the zipper at all! It is a fine balance, but after a couple time, you figure it out and then it works every time!

Only one more step to finish our Fuchsia! We will attach the waistband facings and have a beautifully clean finish, all attached to the zipper, and done completely by machine!! No hand slip stitching required. Then I want to see everyone’s finished Fuchsia!

Still need to get your Fuchsia? It is free in the shop! Missed any of the other sew-along posts? They are all compiled right here!

 Any questions? Leave us a comment here or email us!  Also, check out our new Pinterest board on tutorials. I am pinning all sewing tutorials and projects that look helpful. It is a great resource to find the help you need when you need it. I refer to it all the time!

Post your Fuchsia pictures to the Fuchsia Flickr Group and when the sew-along is finished, I will do a round up of all the beautiful finished garments–a Parade of Fuchsia’s!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns