Zippers and hand knits were two things that didn’t seem to go together to me when I began knitting. I just avoided them altogether. But when my hubby wanted me to knit him a retrofit sweater, I got over my zipper fears quickly and set my mind to figuring it out.
A google search will provide you with many different approaches to attaching a zipper. And, many knitting books offer up different approaches. I feel like I’ve got my zipper install down to a fairly fool-proof method. In case your curious, here’s how I do it:
First, I loosely baste the sweater fronts together to make sure they stay aligned when I attach the zipper. I’ve used a modified mattress stitch where I’m picking up extra bars and keeping the yarn loose.
I then turn the sweater inside out and lay it flat making sure it’s not stretched. Next, I place the zipper face down onto the basted front seam, making sure the zipper is aligned with the seam. Now, I grab a contrasting thread and sharp needle and baste both sides of the zipper to the sweater.
From here, I use a matching thread and sharp needle to permanently sew each zipper side in place, making sure to catch some yarn with each stitch and making sure the sweater edge isn’t covering the teeth. When this is completed, I remove the contrasting basting thread. I also use a whip stitch to secure the edge of the zipper to the sweater. This step probably isn’t completely necessary but makes the zipper look more finished.
I didn’t take pictures, but my zipper was too long and I needed to shorten it. If you’ve got wire cutters, this is pretty easy to do. I cut the extra zipper teeth off the end. Using a needle and thread, I stitch around the edge to build up a new zipper stop. Then I cut the zipper tape about 3/4 inch beyond the edge and turn the extra tape over to stitch down to the back of the work. It’s not as pretty as the original metal zipper stop but it looks much better than a too-long zipper!
So, the stash busting striped sweater is done! The neck is a little wider than I prefer but it’s still wearable. My children aren’t so sure it’s a winner but they agreed to go out in public with me while I was wearing it. No one pointed and laughed, so it must not be overly obnoxious with the mismatched stripes and bold colors.
Between the pockets and the zipper, this sweater feels more like a jacket and less like a cardigan. And, it’s super warm. Perfect for the current temps we’re experiencing this time of year. 🙂
Speaking of temps, we experienced a warm sunny day earlier this week! In the 60s!! I took full advantage of the freakish weather and dyed some more yarns. It’s a new yarn base, Bliss, which is a high-twist merino blend. It’s soft, cushy and hard-wearing with the added nylon. It’s been added to my Etsy shop as of this morning. 🙂