With the extras largely completed for my Rosalina cosplay, it was time to finally begin work on the most frightening part, the dress. I did a lot of work on the main part of the dress, which will be covered in a later post, of course, but getting it to fit correctly grew tiresome, and I eventually decided to take a break and work on the white skirt that goes underneath. This was a fairly simple project, and I learned a very valuable skill in the process, how to sew on an invisible zipper. (They are not really invisible, by the way, in case you were curious. That would make sewing it impossible!)
I wanted to make my Rosalina costume a bit fancier than it is in the game, so I ended up using this white fabric with sequins and this flowery design that was done in white stitching. It looks quite fancy, and I hope the shine from the sequins will make people think of stars. I ended up using the bottom half of a certain pattern of the dress that looked the most symmetrical, and since the dress is six pieces, I thought it would be best to cut this piece out six times in order to make my skirt. Unfortunately, I ran out of fabric and only had space for five. This is why you always buy more fabric than you think you’ll need. When I talk about making the dress, you’ll see why this is so darn important….
Anyway, I sewed each piece together with ease, and once all five pieces were attached to each other in one big row of fabric, I found that it fit me, even if it was just barely. Phew. And to think, I almost couldn’t fit that fifth piece, either. Four pieces certainly wouldn’t have been enough. I then proceeded to sew the final end closed, and while I could get the skirt on, I couldn’t get it off. I was only able to free myself once I cut the stitches at the seam that would be at the back of the skirt. Once I had cut four inches down on the seam, I was able to extricate myself.
Well, up until this point in the project, it was quite clear I would need a zipper for the dress, and it appeared the skirt would need one, too. I have never sewn a zipper before, however, so I thought the skirt would provide the perfect opportunity to practice this skill before I added a zipper to the dress. If I don’t sew it properly, at least no one will see that part of the skirt anyway.
First, I sewed the top and bottom edges of the skirt to make it clean and tidy, and then it was time to add that zipper. After a little bit of research, I learned of an “invisible zipper”, which should not be seen at all. This was certainly preferable, as I didn’t like the thought of a big, obvious zipper down the back of my dress. I then went down to the craft store and picked up two invisible zippers, a white one of about 7 inches for the skirt, and a 22-inch light blue one for the dress (I needed 15 inches, but that was the only zipper long enough). I had also learned that invisible zippers require a zipper foot and an invisible zipper foot for the sewing machine. When I asked where in the world these things might be, the person at the store said my sewing machine probably came with a zipper foot. The other type would need to be found elsewhere, as they didn’t sell sewing machine feet there.
When I returned home, I found that I did indeed already own a zipper foot. As for the invisible zipper foot, it was very difficult to find any online that were compatible with my machine. All seemed lost…that is, until I learned that an invisible zipper can still be sewn with only the regular zipper foot. It seemed this monumental task could be competed, after all! So I began to follow the directions provided both with my zipper and a video on Youtube for what I hoped would be added clarity.
First, I needed to iron the zipper and try to flatten it so that the teeth were pushed onto their sides. Okay, that didn’t work very well, but I did well enough, I guess. I then struggled to change the feet on my sewing machine. The directions provided with my machine were not helpful at all, as all it said was, “change the foot”. Wow. I should get into the manual-writing business. It sounds easy. After finally removing the regular foot and watching in frustration as all attempts to attach the zipper foot resulted in it falling off again, I finally prevailed.
But, my troubles were far from over. It was now that the directions became very difficult. Unzip the zipper. Check. Sew this side of the zipper onto the right side of the fabric. Um…right as in not left, or right as in the outside of the fabric? I finally figured out they meant the outside of the fabric, and then I attempted to pin the zipper to my skirt. After the weight of the zipper repeatedly pulled the pins out, I gave up and just tried to hold the zipper steady with my hands. Next, I had to line the zipper foot up just right so it was right next to the teeth of the zipper, where it would push the teeth aside and allow you to sew very close to them. Okay, after a lot of maneuvering, I managed to get that step done on both sides. Now what?
Let’s see here…now turn everything inside out and zip up the zipper. Um…it won’t zip. It…I’m really tugging, and I swear, it’s not zipping. Inspecting my zipper more closely, I found one side had been sewed farther than the other, resulting in a big pucker in the zipper. I pulled out the stitches until they were even, and that helped a little, but something was still off. It then occurred to me that sewing the bottom of the zipper had been difficult because my fabric was already sewed. The examples, on the other hand, showed the fabric as two separate pieces. So I pulled out more stitches in the seam of my skirt until the zipper could lie flat, and I finished sewing. Now it was lying much flatter, and it would zip up and down with ease. Hooray, the mystery of the zipper may have been solved, after all!
After that, you kind of fold the fabric in half, zipper included, with the fabric still inside out, and with the zipper on the right side, you start just above the bottom of the zipper and sew a tiny bit to the left of that stitch you made to attach it to the fabric. You sew down for about two inches and stop. Then, finish sewing the seam. After a few tests, I found that my invisible zipper worked perfectly, and you could barely see it from the outside. You can see it a little bit, but I may have just not sewn as closely to the teeth as I should have. And now, the skirt is complete, and I have learned something new. I now understand invisible zippers much better, so the zipper for the dress should be much simpler. Every cosplay I do, I want to learn a new skill. I guess that goal has already been met. Here I come, dress. I am finishing you, whether you like it or not!
Duck Zippers, They Quack When You Zip Them