How To Sew a Zipper into a Knitting Project

Sewing a zipper into a knitting project is not as hard as it sounds.  Adding a zipper to a knitted item is convenient and simple to accomplish.  With just a little technical know-how, you can add a zipper to your favorite knitted pillow or sweater in no time.  Here's how.

  1. First, you'll need to buy a zipper.  There are many different sizes and styles of zipper, so make sure to measure your knitting project before purchasing.  They are available at most craft and fabric stores.  Before beginning your project, you'll want to preshrink your zipper so that the knitting project will survive its first wash.  If your zipper is still a bit too long, you can shorten the zipper by using pliers to remove some of the extra teeth.  Also, most zippers have instructions for adjusting length on their packaging.
  2. Baste the front of the garment with a contrasting color, and then pin the zipper to the inside of the knitted item.  Make sure the zipper is zipped and straight; it's much easier to reposition crooked pins than to remove and retry the stitching later.  The zipper teeth should match the center seam.  Leave as much fabric covering the zipper as possible.  This ensures that the zipper won't show too much when zipped.
  3. At this point, you may want to whip stitch the zipper into place, although this step is not necessary.  Whip stitching will ensure that the zipper doesn't slide around too much while being permanently sewn into place.  If you decide to whip stitch, now is the time to remove all your pins.  This is also a good time to remove your basting.
  4. Now, with the knitting project turned inside out, sew the zipper to the inside of the garment with a matching thread.  Start at the bottom of one side, and sew as close to the zipper teeth as possible.  Be sure to use small stitches.  You can do this by hand or with a sewing machine.  Many sewing machines have a special foot for attaching zippers; check your machine's manual to learn more.
  5. Sew slowly and make sure you are sewing in a straight line.  If the zipper moves or buckles, nudge it back into place with your finger.  Make sure that your work isn't showing through on the visible side of the knitting project.  Make a few stitches around the edges of the zipper to secure it in place.

Enjoy your new zipper!


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