Sunday, December 11, 2011

Zippers Aren't That Bad

One of my goals for this upcoming year is to get my finishing work done on my WIP's  - the lack of follow-thru on the finishing is why most of my WIP's are not done.  Since this is a goal for the new year, I decided to get started early and have finished my son's new hoodie!

This garment had a zipper to install, which I found to be rather intimidating so I put it off.  I hadn't used my sewing machine in years and wasn't even sure where it was or knew if I remembered how to use it.  Well, the son who's sweater was involved found the sewing machine and brought it down stairs and placed it on the kitchen table for me.  Considerate of him, no?  He's only been after me to get the sweater done for him for about the past month or so. 

I looked up some zipper installations on the Internet, but didn't get a whole lot of useful stuff there.  One video had you hand sew it in, one swore you should crochet the edge of the zipper and use that to install it, but I found the best way for me was:

  1. Lay the sweater out flat on the kitchen table.  Fold the sleeves in if needed for space.
  2. I had crocheted the edge of the sweater to get a cleaner line - my edged were rough and I didn't want to fold the edge over since the yarn was so bulky as it was.  Your choice as to fold or not.
  3. I put the edges together and pinned the zipper (unopened) so that both edges met and the zipper did not show.  Your choice here on how much zipper to show. 
  4. Then I unzipped the pined-in zipper carefully.  It resembles a porcupine at this point, so be careful it doesn't bite you! 
  5. Sewed the zipper in.  I moved the needle as far right as I could to get a closer seam and put the zipper edge as close to the foot as possible.   Go slowly as a loop of the knitting can easily get caught in the foot of the machine.
  6. Holy cow!  It worked!  I was just really happy I remembered how to work the machine let alone successfully install a zipper!

So, on this project - all in one day - it was knit, crocheted (an edging), machine sewed (the zipper), and hand sewed (tacking).  The zipper install wasn't as bad as I'd feared - I only had to rip it out once when I realized that I had stretched the material when I sewed the zipper in.  My zipper undulated like a piece of bacon curling up in the pan.  Bacon is good, but not on your sweater.  

Use pins to hold everything in place instead of eyeballing it.  Sweaters stretch.  Zippers don't.  I had to rip out both sides of the zipper on the first try and that brought out creative swearing from me that so shocks the family.

The sweater is DONE!   It's a really dull dark gray done up in stockinette, but that's what my son wanted - typical boring guy sweater, and my son couldn't be happier.  I'd do a project with a zipper again anytime.

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