All zippered up

Four zippers, a massive colorcard, a letter to ZipperStop, and five lengths of grosgrain ribbon from j. caroline creative is all it took for me to finally finish my Brilliant Retro.

This time around I left the iron out of it all together!

And on the inside… a dash of color!


Now I can finally claim that this is the most wearable sweater I’ve ever knit, since I can actually wear it. I love the lack of gapping so much, I wonder if I’ll knit a buttoned cardigan for myself ever again?

I think the reason I had a difficult time picking a good zipper match is because it’s hard to visualize plastic zipper teeth using a piece of fabric as a guide. The plastic is shiny and solid, and the zipper backing is woven – light hits these two materials differently! Zipperstop matched my swatch flawlessly, but let me tell you this much – I would have never chosen this zipper based on the little fabric swatch in the colorcard. It looks way too dark and too violet on its own. Colorcards are great, but the human eye is the clear winner here.


89 thoughts on “All zippered up

  1. Melly

    Thanks for all the info about putting in a zipper. I’m to that point on my cardigan too, and thanks to you, I know just what to do!

  2. Melissa

    Wow, it turned out great! You may have sold me on this pattern, too. Wasn’t too keen on it when I first saw it in Interweave, but it looks great here. (And I love the color.) Kudos!

  3. Margaret Mills

    Awesome! Congratulations — it looks terrific on you. I would’ve gone with the striped ribbon, but I think your choice was the better one. And thanks for pointing me to ZipperStop… I’m a big fan of zippers, and I’m happy to have a reliable source for them!

  4. Teresa C

    Worth every second, it is BRILLIANT!

    I know it is the plastic that throws me. I’ll have to send them swatches from now on as well. I am sitting here, really happy that it worked out for you.

  5. Jennie

    Super cute! I really love the extra dash of color on the inside. Little details like that always makes an item a bit more special. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. loribird

    The patterned ribbon is indeed the perfect touch. You are a testament to patience paying off in the end – I’m inspired by the time you spent getting the details “just so.” Bravo!

  7. Amber A.

    Your sweater looks great (the handsewing looks perfect)!! I’m knitting the ‘Mariah’ sweater off Knitty and I’ll be dealing with the zipper issue, too. I love the ribbon you put on the inside—it fixes one of the things I don’t like about handmade clothing items with a zipper; the inside of the zipper is so ugly! I’m going to keep your links for the zipper & the ribbon. Thanks for all the info on this process!

  8. Heather

    I love how it turned out, I have to admit, I didn’t like the first zipper. I love the color of the new zipper and the ribbon is fantastic. The sweater looks amazing on you!

  9. Cindy in Oregon

    It’s awesome! Congratulations on getting it finishes and meeting your expectations. ๐Ÿ™‚ The ribbon on the inside is like a special little bonus. Perfect!

  10. Sarah

    I love your finished sweater. I am seeing so much inspiration to put a zipper into a cardigan that I’ll have to try it soon. I also love the ribbon inside. Those will be two new skills for me to learn. I do enjoy learning. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Sheila

    Your attention to detail – truly brilliant! Am sure you will wear it alot. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree – the color looks lovely. Could it be Grandma Rozas’ color works well for her grandaughter?

  12. Kristine

    That’s gorgeous, and makes me actually want to knit the sweater, something I hadn’t even considered before! Congratulations.

  13. mari

    It turned out even better than I thought it would! That zipper really is a great match. The ribbon finishes off the sweater so well – amazing!

  14. webhill

    I love it. Congratulations on a job well done! I’m in the process of making a Ribby Cardi (chicknits pattern) right now and have been SERIOUSLY sweating the zipper issue. I only hope mine comes out half as nicely as yours did!

  15. Brandy

    The sweater looks awesome! I too hate the button gaps on some cardigans.

    I love the color that you added. Such a nice personal touch.

  16. May

    That is a perfect match for the zipper. And the sewing up looks perfect. Congrats on a perfect fit sweater. IMO, that’s what knitting is all about.

  17. kate

    Your quest for the perfect zipper is inspiring! I need to be more of a perfectionist so I’ll actually wear my knitting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. margaux

    looks fabulous. what a great idea with the ribbon! i would so use that with a buttoned cardigan too! (i mean it is still fun picking Buttons!)

  19. Wanda

    That was a sweater that got passed over in my eyes in the magazine, but seeing your version of it, it looks great. I’m glad it’s a sweater that you can actually wear, no wonder you love Classic Silk. My LYS starting carrying Classic Elite and Classic Elite silk, so I am excited to try it out.

  20. Tam

    Fabulous. I haven’t done a cardi with a zipper because, like you I have a significant bust. All the zippered cardis I’ve owned buckle and gap like crazy. Armed with your excellent explanations of how to figure zipper size so that it won’t buckle, I plan to make one that actually fits. Thanks!

  21. jenna

    How satisfying to knit something you’ll get so much use out of! It looks fantastic! And thanks for the zipper info. I’m fighting with one right now, myself.

  22. Laura

    It’s perfect. The next time I put a zipper into a sweater I’m sending it to you ๐Ÿ™‚

    Congratulations on finally finishing the sweater.

  23. Kathryn

    That really does look good now. I’m so glad you replaced the other zipper, it just looked awful. I thought you’d lost your lovely perfectionism on that one, glad to see it still intact. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The ribbon on the inside is a great touch, I’d never thought of that, I might try that on my ribby cardi. Enjoy wearing your lovely sweater.


  24. Ann

    Wow – looks fantastic! I love the pop of color on the zipper lining. It really make the whole sweater look even better!

  25. Sil

    I’m with you, zippers are the way to go! Your cardie looks amazing, so good work.

    I am also a huge fan of the Zipperstop, so much better than making do with what the local fabric emporium carries.

  26. JJ

    I loved it the first time around…and it’s even better now! Dude, it’s SWWWEEEEEEEEETTTTTTT!!!

  27. Lynn in Tucson

    Mazel tov! It looks great! With all the gaping in the pattern photo, I never would have knit this. It’s always so informative to see “real-life” knits. Thanks for sharing the process.

  28. Leslie

    Wow! I love love love how the ribbon makes it pop. I’m definitely keeping that in mind for the future. In fact, I can go back and add that to one I’ve already done. Off to the fabric store!

  29. Sonya

    You do win the prize for best zipper-to-sweater match, worth all the tears and duds that came before. That ribbon is just the sweetest touch!

  30. Ginny

    Your sweater is gorgeous. You are always inspiring me to try to reach knitting goals that I haven’t met yet (finishing a sweater is one of them).


  31. Kim

    Your sweater is amazing! You’ll wear it a lot! It’s so inspiring to hear your process of getting this sweater done just right.

  32. Teresa

    Honestly, when I first saw this pattern in the magazine I never gave it another thought. I didn’t like the color mostly. Now seeing it in blue, I’m thinking I should workout a bit and burn off the baby fat and make myself a fitted sweater.

  33. Amy

    I’m *so* glad you chose that ribbon for the inside! It’s gorgeous! Absolutely love how that zipper fits in with no sagging and bagging – you’re a genius! Lovely sweater.

  34. knittingphilistine

    Fits you like a purpley glove of perfection. Love the polka dot trim. And that zipper matches perfectly. You certainly have an eye for detail! (And a deep, profound love for periwinkle!)

  35. Samina

    The sweater is lovely, but your idea to use the grosgrain ribbon on the inside really adds the crowning touch. Tres couture!

  36. Colette

    Fantastic! I love the finished product, the dotted ribbon is the perfect finish. Good for you, being persistent until you found just the right notions to finish it off.

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