As a rule, I have always pretty much shunned the hand picked zipper. I have always liked the clean lines that an invisible zipper gives, and even in a lapped zipper, machine stitching just looks cleaner. Not that I can't appreciate the seamstresses skills when it comes to doing an incredibly neat job on any type of hand stitching. I do, certainly, appreciate and admire those skills. And, partly in the interest of time, I have never taken the time required to focus on perfecting that skill in my own 'basket of talents'. Until now. In the 5 or so years that I have been doing bridal alterations, I have done quite a few heavily beaded gowns that have needed work done at the zipper. It would have to be either taken out completely, or partially; beading would have to be removed, then replaced. So, when I first brought this gown home, I wasn't too terribly concerned about having to develope any new talents to get the job done. It didn't take long however for me to change my mind. The beading and applique work on this particular gown is over the top, to say the least. After carefully scrutinizing the area at the zipper that needed taking in, I decided that rather than spend several hours first removing appliques and beading, repositioning the zipper, then replacing all the beading and appliques, perhaps it would be more timewise to only remove those appliques and the beading in the area that where it would no longer be needed/seen(as that area would be folded into the new zipper seam allowance); and to - yes - you guessed it - do a hand picked zipper. With all the beading on the back of this gown, there was absolutely no way it was going in my machine. And, as I mentioned, to remove it all would have taken, literally - hours. So. My very first hand picked zipper. Because of all the beading you can hardly even see any of my stitching. But it is there. Every last teeny tiny stitch.
Here is the left side and left back side seams.
Here is the right back side seam. with a peek of the right side seam.
Since taking these photo's, I have spent 3 1/2 hours rebeading/reapplique-ing (is that even a word?). I'm about 1/4 done. So far, with the alterations she required, the cost is up around $500. And I'm not yet finished. When all is said and done, it may reach $800. For alterations. I know that this is what I do for a living. This is how I make my money. But, personally, that is just crazy.