I am so excited to share maybe my favorite hack ever with you!
While I had a very specific idea in mind while designing the Gather Together Sweater, it hit me one night whilst browsing Pinterest that this pattern could work for one of my other very favorite Pinsperations!
I couldn’t even wait for testing to be over to make it….patience is not a virtue I am well versed in.
So a quick note before you jump in….you’re gonna need a long metal zipper. The Joanns near me (the only craft store near me…and I needed the zipper riiiight now of course) didn’t have anything other than jacket zippers….DO NOT BUY THAT!!! Ask me how I know…woops! So I had to make a bottom for my zipper….but if you buy the right zipper, you won’t have to do that. DO NOT BUY A JACKET ZIPPER!
Okay…now that that’s out of the way…you’re going to need a long metal zipper 😛 I bought a 24″ zipper for this and could have done with the 20″ one just fine. It will just depend on how low you want the zipper to go.
Find a long straight edge and find the angle that gets the top of the front neckline on a gentle slop towards the straight front center edge of the sweater front bodice.
Mark that line with the marking method of your choice. I use a crayons washable marker because we always have them on hand.
Fold that edge over toward the bodice and cut your front bodice pieces on that line. BUT DO NOT CUT BELOW THE V-CUT!!! You want a fold below that!
Align the bottom of your zipper with the bottom of the v-cut opening. Trim the top of your zipper to this length, leaving one tooth above the shoulder seam.
Create a little “angry mouth” at the bottom of your v-cut on the front bodice by making two 1/4″ slits at 45 degree angles to the main cut.
Place your zipper right sides together with the front bodice piece. You want to align the very bottom of the zipper with the bottom of the little triangle angry mouth you created with the slits. You will then stitch right across the very bottom of the zipper and then flip the zipper up so the right side is showing and laying in the open V-cut.
Flip the zipper so it is right sides together with the right side of your top (right side looking at it). Pin the zipper in place aligning it with the edge of the fabric. Sew 1/8″ away from the zipper teeth along the entire length of the zipper.
Flip the zipper out so it is again right side up. You will now fold the other side of your bodice over top of the right side (as you look at it) of the bodice.
Align the other raw edge of your center v-cut with the other side of the zipper. Pin in place, aligning with the edge of the fabric. Again, sew within 1/8″ of the zipper teeth along the entire length of the zipper.
Fold both pieces of the front bodice back open so the whole front is right side up. Here you will want to topstitch the zipper to help keep it in place and flowing with the fabric. You can see mine really wants to do it’s own thing and part of that is because it is a jacket zipper (oy!).
If you didn’t already do it, trim your zipper now ensuring to leave that one tooth above the bodice front neckline. Be VERY CAREFUL also not to pull your zipper above the top tooth….you will pull it straight off the zipper and it will be a pain to get back seated on the teeth. Ask me how I know.
BEFORE YOU MOVE ON TO STEP: Align the shoulder seams and sew them together with the bodice pieces right sides together.
Pull the zipper down so it is at least half way open. This will make attaching the neck binding MUCH easier!
Measure the back neckband including the zipper. Take that measurement and multiply it by .85 to get the length your neck binding needs to be. Add 1″ to the final length to allow for hemming them ends of the binding.
Cut the band out. Press the short ends in 1/2″ and sew to keep the raw edges inside the binding.
Pin or clip the binding in place on the wrong size of the back neckline, ensuring to go all the way to the zipper teeth. Sew or serge the binding on (I recommend a zigzag stitch here to get as close to the zipper as possible) to the back neckline. You will then fold and press the binding towards the right side of the fabric. Pin or clip in place and topstitch 1/8″ away from the edge of the binding.
You will then go forward with construction, as guided in the tutorial, obviously minus the neck bands and buttons and snaps and all that jazz.
I hope you find this tutorial helpful! Let us know what other hacks you’d like to see in the future!