Zipping On…

… to this post, here’s a quick photos-and-captions-only tutorial on sewing zips on to knits. For more detailed information, try doing an online search for sewing zips onto knits. There’s lots of good stuff available online.

I applied a zip to the neck opening of my Victoria Yoke Pullover. To prepare for that, I first applied i-cord all around the neck opening. When applying i-cord, remember:

  • Knit stitches are shorter than they are wide. So when applying i-cord perpendicular to the knit fabric, the edge will pucker unless you use a larger needle while applying one i-cord round to one fabric stitch. I used a needle 2 sizes larger when applying the i-cord around the horizontal neck edge.
  • When applying to a vertical edge, use the same needle as was used for the fabric, and apply one i-cord round to one fabric stitch. I did this while doing the slight vertical rise between the shoulder slope and neck edge.
  • Diagonal edges are most complicated because they need more stitches than there are rows; if you apply one-to-one (as along a vertical edge) the fabric will pucker. So I calculated how many i-cord rounds I would need along the diagonal length and made sure I applied that many. This meant sometimes I picked up more than one stitch per row, one at the very edge, one near the selvedge. It sounds untidy, but looks fine.

Then the zip!

1. Pin the opening shut, aligning carefully.

2. Baste the opening shut and remove pins (this is so you don’t have to deal with millions of pins).

3. Flip the fabric over and pin the zip face down, centering it over the basted opening.

4. Flip the fabric so that it’s right side up, remove the basting, unzip and sew with a firm backstitch from the right side. The sewing thread should sink into the ditch of the i-cord.

5. Whipstitch the outer edges of the zip fabric to the knit. Flip the extra fabric at the ends down (making sure they wont catch on the zip) and sew them down too. In the photo you can see the reverse side of my backstitch near the zip, and the whipstitch along the other edge.

6. Done!

I wanted a similar finish on the cuffs without going to the trouble of actually creating an opening and then applying a closure. So I just left a few stitches in stockinette where the opening would be…

… and applied an i-cord all around the edge and up and down the stockinette strip as if it were bordering an opening.

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