Sewing the Urban Aran - zipper and yoke


I follow the directions given in the big Vogue Knitting book to sew zippers in my hand-knits.

The first step is to pin the zipper in place, matching the two front sides carefully.  This is the last step I do, after the sweater is sewn together.  For this sweater, I'd blocked the body pieces before sewing them together.  If I hadn't done that already, I would block the sweater before sewing in the zipper.
Then I basted the zipper in place, a running stitch - by hand.
The basting is the blue stitches in the picture above.  I actually basted from the front of the sweater, since I was interested in keeping the front edges and pattern matched.

Then, I sewed the edge of the zipper tape in place from the back (see above) using a matching thread color.

Finally, from the front side, I sewed the edge of the sweater down next to the zipper teeth, using a back stitch.  The picture here is from the back, so you can see the stitches.  Sewing this by hand lets you adjust the stitches just so.
When I finished, it looked like this:
I don't have a picture of the top edge, but for this sweater, I cut the zipper tape quite close to the top of the zipper and used a small overcast stitch to fasten the top, cut edge to the collar of the sweater.  I also used fray-check on the cut edge before I sewed, as insurance.


When my son tried on this sweater, I found I was always pulling at it to get the shoulders to sit right on his body.  The deep vertical ribs in this pattern, and the very elastic yarn, combined to make the shoulders pull out of shape very easily.

I decided to line the back yoke area of the sweater to try to fix this.   I bought some cotton sateen with lycra at Joann Fabric to use as my lining.  This is not a lining fabric, but I didn't want to work with a slick poly lining.  I thought the stretch woven fabric would be a good compromise between stability and stretch, since I was lining a very stretchy hand-knit sweater.  

I used the back yoke of a shirt that fits my son's shoulders very well to cut the lining.
I pinned the edges of the shirt yoke to my lining fabric, then marked where the pins went through - and connected the dots.  I adjusted the neck edge to match the sweater  collar, which starts lower than the shirt collar did.  I did some measuring and checking, both with the shirt and sweater, at this point.  I also made sure everything was pretty much symmetrical.

I cut the yoke about 1/2 an inch bigger than the finished size I was aiming for.  Then I pressed under that 1/2 inch all around (clipping curves), and sewed the pressed edges to the wrong side (by machine).  Then I pinned the yoke into the inside of the sweater.  I sewed it in by hand along the arm edges, across the shoulders and neck, and down the other seam between the sleeve and back of the sweater body.  I left the bottom edge loose.  (Men's "unlined" jackets often have this kind of lined yoke.)

When I was  through, it looked like this:

And my son and I were both happier with how the sweater fit.


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