Sunday, November 18, 2007


I plan someday to actually finish this slip-stitch cardigan I'm knitting.'s speeding along. When I do, I really want to use a zipper as the closure. Now, I've never done this before, but that doesn't matter, I believe I can do this. I wear a cashmere cardigan with a zipper all the time, and I love it. So, today in my travels, (after the dog park, I mean) I went to the fabric store. I figured I wanted a separating zipper, since I'll want to open the cardigan sometimes, right? The cardigan is dark brown, so I'd like a dark brown (or black?) zipper. I think it should be about 14 inches. Yup. No such zipper at the store.

We have one other store in town that might have zippers like this. It's closed on Sundays. (yup, say it with me, all together--this is a small town!!) I went home and tried to order a zipper online. These things are only $1.50 a piece! So, why is it that no one has the right kind of zipper? Since I don't know much about zippers, I was already feeling, well, zipper challenged. Then, I clicked on this site and nearly hyperventilated. (maybe it was the New York New York theme music?) Then again, who knew there were so many zippers to choose from?

I have emailed my mother, my sewing expert advisor, but at the moment, the drama of the rest of the Seiffs' lives is my nephew's new big boy bed, since he's learned to climb out of his crib...when you're two, this is huge excitement!!

Are any of you sewers? Zipper users? Tailors? Seamstresses? Do you have any websites or suggestions? Please, enlighten me.

Meanwhile, my best friend told me on the phone long distance that if we were really crafty, we could reuse our old t-shirts and make them into underwear. No way. There are limits, even for me. Rag rugs, cleaning rags, dog-bed stuffing, sure, but underwear? I got off the phone right away and used some of my many frequent flier miles to book me a ticket to New England. That gyrrlfriend needs immediate attention!! Maybe it's the long winters or something? Oddly, the stars aligned. I was meant to go to New Hampster and Vermont the weekend after Thanksgiving. I got the ticket for $10. Round-trip, that will be 5 flights and 37,500 frequent flier miles. She's totally worth it. Now, if I can conquer that? Why not a zipper?!


Anonymous AlisonH said...

New Hampster. I love it. But that underwear thing--is that why the face in the mountain fell off? (After it was commmemorated on their quarter. Heh.)

November 18, 2007 at 9:17 PM  
Blogger Deborah said...

I've never made a garment with a separating zipper, but I've handled most of these types and done lots of closed-bottom zippers on sewn garments. I'd say to stay away from the #10s, because they're going to be heavier than you probably need (they're for heavy coats and such) with large teeth that are more likely to snag your knitting. Maybe #3 or #5, depending on the weight of the sweater. Metal teeth will likely be a bit more sturdy than plastic/nylon, but metal is also more likely to snag the yarn since the teeth aren't quite as rounded. The more your knitting will cover up the zipper (i.e., meeting in the middle rather than leaving a gap for the zipper), and/or the looser and more snag-prone the knit fabric is right on the zipper edge, the more inclined I'd be to use small gauge, plastic zippers. Of course, if you're leaving a gap, you'll want a zipper color you're happy with!

If I were doing this, I might order two or three zippers of the types that seemed the best, after checking the return policy, and then use the one that felt the best on examination. The right zipper makes a real difference in my enjoyment of a garment, particularly a jacket/cardigan, so it would be worth a little return shipping to me.

Good luck!!

November 19, 2007 at 6:23 PM  
Blogger Joanne said...

Deborah, your advice is the most reassuring thing!! Thank you. I did go ahead and order 3 zippers online today (I shut off the crazy music and went for it at zipperstop) and I actually followed your instructions pretty carefully without knowing it! Thanks for such a thoughtful reply, I am grateful. You hit on every point I had to deliberate over on my own!

Oh, and Alison H, I am convinced the face on the mountain fell off because it saw all those New Hampsterites running around in homemade underwear. Shocking!

November 19, 2007 at 7:51 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Wonderful advice from Deborah - I'll put it to good use after I see how you put your zipper in.

So glad you are able to visit your friend. Best thing for you both!

November 20, 2007 at 7:39 AM  
Blogger sarah said...

I seem to remember Grumperina had great difficulty getting a zipper of the right colour and length for something. I think she sent a sample of the yarn to

and was very pleased indeed with the service.

I had plans to cut all our old t-shirts into rings that could be linked to form a long chain that could be knitted into an interesting and useful bathmat. Then I thought about all the other things I wanted to do, and we already have a bathmat. Charity shop and recycling seemed a better bet. Underwear never crossed my mind.

November 20, 2007 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger Vicki said...

Zippers are not a big deal. Really, you'll see. Be sure to pre-wash the zipper before sewing it into the sweater just in case it shrinks, otherwise it could pucker.

November 20, 2007 at 8:17 PM  
Blogger Deborah said...

I use the medium-teeth jacket zippers on most sweaters of worsted or sportweight; my Cowichan-style sweater has a heavy-weight zipper in it. Zippers are fantastic and once you've done one you'll be hooked. I only use the fine-tooth variety if I can only get the color I want in that style. Separating, YES. Sounds like you got a good source, but if you get in a bind try Denver Fabrics (I'm sure there are some other places . . . G Street in DC, Vogue if it's still there in Evanston, IL . . . the serious fabric folks' places) that will mail order. They'd probably take a phone call and talk you through it and send you stuff. You could likely even send a swatch to match at some of those places.

November 20, 2007 at 8:23 PM  
Anonymous Hester said...

The most important thing I have found with zippers, is to wash it and dry it before you put it in. Zippers shrink!!! (a lot sometimes) Also, with a knitted fabric, sometimes it is better to hand sew it in, so the zipper does not bend and stretch the fabric out.

November 21, 2007 at 11:14 AM  

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