The First Communion Dress Project – part 4

This is the forth article on the First Communion Dress project.  I am sewing my daughter’s first Communion dress using my wedding dress.

The embroidery on the back needed "repaired"
The embroidery on the back needed "repaired"

The seam had caught some of the embroidery so I re-embroidered across the seam to fix it.

After I had the embroidery repaired I sewed the side seams and shoulders according to the pattern’s directions.

Hannah was excited to try it on:


Now comes the wretched part:  the zipper.

I am not good at setting in zippers.  I get impatient with them and they just drive me batty.  To make things more interesting I really wanted to put in an invisible zipper.

There are a couple nice tutorials online about invisible zipper insertion.

I like this one: Sewing Invisible Zipper.

I did a couple things slightly different.  First I put a bit of lightweight interfacing just inside the seam line on the wrong side.

The pink line segments show the edges of the interfacing

The next “deviation” was to put lace seam binding tape on the right side just over thee edge.  This lace serves two purposes.  First it gives me a nice even line to sew the zipper against and second, the lace finish give a bit of grab so the zipper isn’t sliding around against the satin while I am trying to sew it in.  It also edge – its primary purpose.

The lace seam binding in place.
The lace seam binding in place.

Then I followed the normal procedure for putting the zipper in.  It went in like a charm, but there was a problem.

An issue
An alignment issue

crap.  I hate zippers.  So I had to tear the whole thing out and do it again.  And this was a perfectly amateurish error that I shouldn’t have made in the first place.

The cat was amused at least:

I think he is grinning at me
I think he is grinning at me

So I carefully lined everything back up and did it again:

perfectly straight
perfectly straight
I double checked it once the zipper was half in.
I double checked it once the zipper was half in.

Perfect!  I pulled the zipper closed and everything lined up, the zipper lays flat without any puckering or bulging.  Joy!


I loved the little covered end on the zipper over at Sewing Divas, so I incorporated it here:

Too neat!
Too neat!

You can also see how the layers work together here.  The interfacing and seam binding giving just the right support for the zipper.  The sad things is all this is covered by the lining in the finished dress, but the most loving stitches are the ones that never show.

Sewing · Uncategorized

The First Communion dress project – prt 3

This is part three of the first communion dress project… also known as “how to recycle your wedding dress”

You can check out the first and second installments of this project.

I created some piping:


Then I started sewing.  At this point I am following the instructions in the pattern.

Here is the first seam:


I zig-zagged the edge to keep it from fraying.

As I mentioned in my last segment I have purchased satin for the sides and sleeves.  You can see the two fabrics here:


There is just an ever so slight difference.  I am still not really stressing of it, so far it looks fine to me.

One thing that I have been concerned over is the embroidery getting clipped in the new seams.  You can see this happening here:


In addition to the weird shading thing my flash on my camera is doing you can see where the embroidery is caught in the seam.

To fix this I am embroidering over the seam, recreating the flowers that are sewn through.


Part four – the zipper (eeeek!)

My world · Sewing

The First Communion dress project – prt 2


This is the second post documenting the great “First Communion Dress Project”.   I am sewing my daughter’s first Communion dress using my wedding dress.

You can see the first part of the project here.

I ended the last section having cut out the front and front side pieces.  In order to have enough of the wedding dress left to make on more first communion dress (for Sarah) I decided to use the embroidered front of the wedding dress for the front of the communion dress and the sides of the wedding dress for the back.  Since I needed extra white satin this keeps the different fabrics symmetrically placed on the dress.

In theory it would have been best to move the seem for the back side to match the way I did for the front, but this would have made a very akward cut in the embrodery of the panel I was using.  We will see how this works… I am hopeful it will be fine.

The lining ready to cut.
The lining ready to cut.

I cut the side-back and sleeves out of the new fabric and the back out of the dress side front.  Then I cut the lining out of new fabric.  I am reusing the netting from my dress for the communion dress.

The next step is creating the piping for the neck and sleeves.  You can see a nice tutorial here: How to cover cording to create your own piping.

To see more progress on the dress: Part 3

Fun · Sewing

The First Communion dress project

or  “how to recycle your wedding dress”.


I love my wedding dress.   Beautiful white embroidery on white satin.  But the reality is that I am not going to wear it again, it sits lonely in the basement waiting for nothing, destined to never see the light of day again except for those rare occasions where I clean the basement out and pull it up for the girls to coo over.  So I decided to use it to sew Hannah’s first communion dress.  It was a remarkably difficult choice.   Even though I am not under the delusion that any of the girls would wear it for their own wedding, there was still something rather heart stopping about actually cutting into it.  I had Kyle come in and give me “moral support” while I made the first couple of cuts.

So, in case anyone is interested, and for the sake of documenting this whole process here is the first two days of the great dress project:

Continue reading “The First Communion dress project”