Wednesday, October 28, 2009

what I learned today...

Well, maybe it wasn’t all just today. I had Nathan over last Saturday - we were supposed to go to a local farm for their pumpkin fest but it was raining, so we spent the day indoors. Anyway, the point is - Nathan had on ‘Nathanware’ from No 39, Winter ‘06. Although it’s close to getting a wee bit short, it still looks nice and what impressed me most was the zipper still looks really good, lays nice and flat and it works fine - he can zip it up and down, and start it, no problem. He’s now 5 1/2 and No 39 was 3 full years ago. Got me thinking! I examined the zipper and saw that it was metal. Strange, mostly I use the plastic ones because somehow I thought they were sturdier and although they always seem to end up with lumps and bulges after the garment has been washed a few times, I took that as just a fact of life - heck, even bought garments are like that! So, when I took him home, I asked to look at the other ones I’ve made him. Sure enough, all the ones with plastic coil zippers had buckled - the only other one with a metal zipper was nice and flat like this one, even though I always wash the garment and the zipper before putting them in. I came home and checked my sweaters with zippers and same thing - only the metal ones stayed flat. I had even taken some out and restitched them in an attempt to make them flat, but it never seems to work after the next washing.
So, guess what I made for Nate for this next issue? Yep, a hoodie, with pockets and a zip front! He loves hoodies and he loves pockets and I thought, okay, I can come up with another one, a bit different from any of the others, can’t I? (I’ve made him 9 different hoodies since No 29.) I did and he likes it - but he’s such a nice little lad that he’d act like he liked it even if he didn’t.
I had just put the zipper in and by co-incidence, the only zipper I could find locally was a metal tooth one that was just a bit too long - well, truth be told, the metal ones are much easier to shorten...
Use a thin, flat blade screwdriver to pry/loosen the top stopper on each side and gently pull it off - be careful not to damage them - use needle nose pliers to pluck off the extra teeth on each side and then replace the stoppers at the new top on each side, using the pliers gently to squeeze them back on. Leave the tape long - I just sew it along inside the neckline - if you cut it, it frays and it’s hard to sew it neatly if folded under.
Pin the zipper in place, making sure to match each side. I always handstitch the zipper (the garment and the zipper have already been washed and dried same way as it will be later on), with a stab stitch and sewing thread - so the stitching is invisible from the outside - close to the zipper teeth and then whip stitch the edges of the tape to the inside of the garment to stop it rolling in.
Final step, with the sewing machine, stitch up and down through the band and the zipper at the bottom of the zipper - it’s usually too heavy or reinforced with something, to be able to hand stitch through. It helps to begin sewing toward the bottom so as not to pull up the knitting from the bottom edge of the zipper.

Here’s Nate in his new hoodie (Little Scrapper) - what was I thinking? It’s too small! oh well, I have plenty of yarn to make another and this one’s sort of unisex, so Rhiana can wear it! They’ll be matching.


Diana L. Sullivan, CPA said...

Mary Anne, I recognized that sweater from KnitWords right away! He's just so adorable.

I'd love to see you show how you put your zippers into sweaters in the magazine. I have my own method, but it isn't really correct, and involves crocheting along the edge first.

Diana in Austin

lea-ann said...

Mary Anne, you are doing it again!! Now the anticipation will kill me. I love the look of that Fair Isle cardi on Nathan. It looks like a multi-color yarn with a solid and I *WANT* one for ME! Did you say you had to upsize it for the magazine, don't you need to do one in, oh, say a 46" or so? And, isn't that interesting about the zipper buckling. I wonder if its the material making the difference, is one cotton vs. polyester?
Can't wait for this pattern!

Mary Anne Oger said...

Hey Lea-Ann, what a great idea! I really like this little hoodie too and of course, it could be done in adult sizes. I thought I came up with some pretty clever techniques here, an easy way of dealing with all the ends, because I did use leftovers - but a multi-colour sock yarn would do as well! Actually I am currently working on an adult version of Rhiana's cardi from No 51 - I'll maybe tell you about it next!

Anonymous said...

Mary Anne! this is s great shot of Nathan. He wears the hoodie so good! I love the multi colour choice of yarn ...and yes The
pockets rock! xoxo A.

Cindy, NJ, USA said...

Whew! Read about metal zippers in the latest issue just in time... Making hubby a hoodie, "In da 'Hood" - issue 38. Bought a plastic zipper, read your opening letter in this month's issue, went back to the store and exchanged the plastic 20" separating zipper for a metal one. Thanks for the tip! Should be done in a few days!