My favorite sweater closure is the zipper. I think zippers look tidy and "finished", and they are much easier for my kids to "operate" than buttons are. Here are a few notes about how I am going about the installation of the zipper into the Hardangervidda sweater... These are just things I've picked up from experience sewing zippers into several sweaters over the years, and if anybody has additional comments and tips, I'm all ears.
Here is the Dale of Norway zipper which I purchased for the sweater. A couple of comments about zippers, because they aren't all created equal.
- For this particular installation, because it is a zipper in a placket (and **not** a zipper in a cardigan), I do **not** want a "separating" zipper. The zipper I am using for this sweater has a "stop" on the bottom of it, which does just that -- stops the zipper from going down any farther -- and, it does not separate. (Note that a zipper "stop" may be added to a zipper by sewing some overcast stitches at the location where the "stop" is desired, then cutting off the remainder of the zipper about an inch away from this newly created "stop".)
- The other thing I must be careful about for this installation is the zipper length. The opening of my sweater is roughly 5 and a half inches. The length of the zipper between the upper and lower "stops" is about 5 inches. These two numbers do not have to match exactly. If the zipper is shorter than the opening, I wouldn't recommend going any shorter than about a half inch. If the zipper is just a little longer than the opening, it is okay to let the extra length just be on the inside of the sweater, though I'd sew it down. If the zipper is significantly (more than an inch and a half) longer than the opening, it can be made smaller without too much trouble. (Just use some overcast stitches to create a new "stop", and cut off the remainder of the zipper about an inch away from this newly created "stop".) Note that the zipper measurement does **not** include the "zipper tape" which continues beyond the upper stops and the lower stop.
Fortunately, there is a product on the market called "Wonder Tape". The information on the package states that it "completely disappears in first washing", that it is "a double-sided transparent tape that can be stitched through -- it will not gum up your needle". So, I lined up this tape along the outer edges of my zipper, having the top of the tape in line with the upper stops, and allowing the lower edge of the tape to extend to the lower end of the zipper tape. The white you see in the photo is the paper backing on the tape.
Then, I removed the paper backing, and folded the top edges of the zipper tape down as shown in the photo. Do not cut off the extra zipper tape, because it will unravel. Leave it in tact, and just fold it down on the front side of the zipper, being careful so that it is far enough away from the zipper teeth so that it doesn't impede movement of the zipper pull. Since the top part of the zipper tape no longer has any tape exposed, I put another small piece of the double sided tape on top of each part that was folded over (though this part is not shown in the photo).
Then, I carefully placed the zipper into the opening of my sweater, making sure that all of the critical "lines" (such as the base of the neckband) were lined up, and also making sure that the front edges of the placket opening touch each other. I applied pressure so that the tape somewhat adheres the zipper to the sweater. I will still put in some pins, to hold it all together better, because the tape doesn't exactly "stick like glue", though it is very helpful in keeping things from shifting around too much, and it gives me a good idea of how it's all going to look once it's sewn into place.Stay tuned for part two, in which I actually do the sewing, hopefully without any crying, but I'll let you know :-)