Thursday, January 11, 2007

Zipper Installation (Part Two)

Dear Cynthia,

When I was last discussing the Hardangervidda zipper installation, the zipper had been taped in place, the sweater was sitting atop my ironing board, and I had some stick pins in the placket area to help keep things in place. My dh walked by the set-up and commented that it looked like I was doing acupuncture on his sweater... In any case, I secured the pins into the placket area to get ready for sewing it. Here is what it looked like on the outside:Then, I carefully turned the thing "inside out". Here is what it looked like on the inside:First, I used a backstitch to sew the zipper into place. Don't be too amazed by my high-tech graphics here... This is what I mean when I say "back stitch":
This next picture shows a dashed line along the place where the back stitch goes (viewed from wrong side of sweater): The stitches should be maybe about 1/8" away from the zipper teeth, certainly no less than that to allow the zipper pull to move freely. For this particular sweater, there is a double layer of knitting (a facing which has already been folded in and stitched down to the inside of sweater). When doing the back stitch, it shouldn't show on the outside of the sweater. So, when the needle goes down, it should only penetrate one layer of knitting (or at least not go all the way through to the outside of the sweater). Back stitch all the way around the zipper, along the dashed line.

Then, I hem stitched the edges of the zipper tape to the inside of the sweater, too, mostly for neatness. Also, the top of the zipper is stitched to the top edge of the sweater, etc. If the drawing and/or my directions are confusing and you have any questions, please don't hesitate to leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

Here it is from the inside of the sweater after all the sewing is done:Ideally, I would have waited to fold over the facing of the neckband until after the zipper had been installed. That way, it would have made a nice finish, and the top part of the zipper would be hidden under the neckband facing. (However, I knew I was going to have to change out the first zipper I sewed in, so to minimize work for myself, I just sewed the neck facing down and slapped the zipper on top of it.) Even so, there is a nice black knit strip about one inch wide by twelve inches long (which came with the Dale zipper) which I may still sew over the zipper edges to create a nicer finish on the inside, though I haven't decided yet.

Here it is from the outside of the sweater:And, a note about the tape I used -- it did gum up my needle and fingers a little bit, though I'd definitely use it again. It is totally worth it for the way it really keeps things from slipping around as I'm sewing. I waited about 24 hours to sew this after I taped it, and I think that might have made the tape adhere better, too, so I'd recommend that extra time be allowed to let the tape just sit on the sweater/zipper before actually stitching the zipper into place.

Anyway, I'm planning a third zipper installation segment. It will be for a cardigan, so watch for that in a few weeks (after the sweater is all knitted, first -- more on that soon).

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)


Marie N. said...

I appreciate all the time you have taken to document this process for zipper novices like me.

Lauren said...

I need to copy down your instructions, just in case I ever make it to the point where i am installing a zipper into a complicated sweater. (Aka: when hell freezes over). Nonetheless, great job! Very professional looking. In fact, MORE professional looking than zippered sweaters I have seen in stores. You rock!

allisonmariecat said...

I like the look of zippers, but my installation is always very messy. I will be bookmarking your instructions for the future!

Anonymous said...

Thank you SO MUCH for this tutorial! I've been procrastinating the insertion of a zipper in my newly knitted vest since I've never done it and was totally intimidated. Now I'm on my way out to Joann's to find some of that tape.... Thanks again.

Felix said...

This is really helpful. I am designing a garment that is going to need a side-seam zip. I imagine the process will be a little different for installing this, but your tips on wonder-tape, backstitch etc. are really helpful. Thanks for taking the time to write this,

Anonymous said...

What do you do with the facings that come with the Dale of Norway zipper kits. I am trying to figure out how to get in the zipper in the SLC sweater...just how do the facings work and how to get the nice finished edge you had on your sweater.

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