I want to first give everyone fair warning that you can take your hand knits to most dry clean/laundry facilities and they will install the zipper for you in exchange for a crisp Jackson. I on the other hand, I'm stubborn and like to torture myself with perfectionism.
Seriously? a zipper is a little bit of a pain in the arse. Would I do it again? Hecks Yeah! Again with the torture stuff...I know, so if your curious to see how I went about sewing a zipper on my cardigan, here are my notes and pictures:
There are a few steps you'll have to do first, like buy the zipper and of course for me that involved picking a custom color and custom size. I purchased a color card from ZipperStop back at the beginning of the year so I would be set for when the cardigan was done. They have a wide range of selection and with the color card handy I was able to pick something suitable for my St. Brigid.
The customer service is helpful and they ship same day if they get your order in early. Before you order, have your details all ready handy like color, length and slider style. FYI: the color card lists every color they COULD get, but the website lists what is in stock. You will be limited in certain colors, but it was nice to have the card to determine the right choice.
Getting started you lay the garment down with zipper zipped. Take pins and secure loosely in place where you'd like the zipper to start. Making sure to double and triple check that it's the same place on both sides. It might look like it's buckling a bit, but it's really just the pins making it look out of sorts.
Once pinned in place then thread a needle with a highly contrasting thread and bast along the edge. Do this slowly, making sure not to stretch the fabric or zipper which will cause a ripple.
With both sides basted, you can try the sweater on. Do that. This is the time you want to make adjustments. It's easier to pull that thread out then ripping out the sewn thread.
If your happy with how you've secured the zipper, now is time to take out the sewing machine. Don't worry about that basting thread. Your main concern is keeping a consistent and straight line on your fabric/zipper.
You'll want to pick a thread as close to the color of your knitted fabric as possible and the one I found was practically invisible. Go slowly with the sewing machine, but before you know it your done. The results are just awesome and I'm so excited to have added another lesson learned under my belt!