Vogue 8831: A sweater knit top with zippers

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Since I don’t knit, I’ve become a huge fan of sweater knits. With only a few yards of the cozy stuff, you can cut and sew almost any style sweater you want. Here, in rainy Oregon, a person can NEVER have too many sweaters.

For this top, I used two coordinating sweater knits from my fabric stash (yay); a striped textured knit for the bodice, and a solid sweater knit for the arms and cowl. For fun, I also added a couple of pockets to the bodice, sewn from a untextured knit of solid black.


I used the same fabric to add sleeve bands, and, because I’d fallen in love with a RTW top with zipper detail at the hem (it didn’t fit, rats), I added two seven inch zippers to the princess seams at the hem.


The pattern I used is Vogue 8831,  a top with princess seams and a cowl neck. I’ve made it before here, and will likely do so again as I love the cowl neck and the princess seams in the bodice.


Because this sweater knit was so loosely woven, I added stabilizer to the seams before stitching in the zippers. This gave the fabric enough body to support the weight of the zipper and also helped protect the seam from unraveling. I also finished all the seams with an overlock stitch. I love sweater knit, but when it’s loosely woven, it can be a bit….touchy.   I was really glad I chose a pattern that I knew well, because the stitches seemed to just disappear into the fabric. If I’d had to unpick any of those seams, it would have been a night mare!


I learned a bit more about sweater knits as I worked on this project. The things I want to remember for my next project include:

  1. Always use the right needle. On this project, a jersey needle worked best.
  2. Finish the raw edges to keep the weave together.
  3. Stabilize seams and hems (especially if they have to carry the weight of a zipper ).
  4. Try not to pull the knit as you sew. It does stretch and can lose its shape (My hem isn’t as perfect as I’d like because I stretched it out when I put the zippers in.)
  5. Keep your cat out of the sewing room especially if he’s orange and his name is Dustin.IMG_7077

Putting in the zippers required a bit of thought and added some extra steps, but I’m glad I did. I like the look of the zippers and they make the top a bit unusual. To change up the look, I can wear it with the zippers open or closed. And if I eat too much, hey, all I have to do to get a bit of room is to unzip. Ha! Too bad I didn’t have this top to wear over the holidays!

I still have quite a bit of winter sewing to do, but the linens and cottons in my stash are calling me. Pretty soon, I’ll just have to give in and shift my focus. My spring plans are to make a couple of light weight dresses and tops that will travel well. And pants! I have to find a pants pattern that I love. Recommendations are appreciated!

I’d love to hear about your sweater knit experiences and if you’ve found any secrets to success. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by…



16 thoughts on “Vogue 8831: A sweater knit top with zippers

    1. Thanks so much! I agree photos are so weird at this time of year and around here, the sun seems to have taken a permanent vacation. It seems like a stroke of good luck when they work!

    1. Thanks so much! I wore it last night and got a few compliments which is always nice. The Zippers were a bit of a risk but I learned a lot from doing it :).

  1. Very cute sweater, so creative to add those zips! They make the sweater really special. I suspect with that handsome face, orange Dustin goes where ever he pleases! 😉

    1. Thanks! And Yes! Dustin is handsome but sly. Just when I think I’ve got things under control, an orange hair will appear on a fabric I thought I’d hidden rather well. Mysterious…

  2. I have no helpful advice re: sweater knits or pants patterns, but had to stop by to say that I love this top! I would swipe this for my own closet, if I could. 😉

    Your kitty is so handsome! I’m sure he was only trying to, er, “help” with your sweater–that’s what my Saoirse does, anyway! (She always waits until I lay something out *just so* and then plops down on top of it; she is particularly enthusiastic about delicate fabrics, like silk.) Cats make excellent sewing room supervisors, at least in their own minds!

    1. Thanks so much. Wanting to swipe a make is high praise indeed :). Dustin would love the title of supervisor, since he’s a bit of a bossy sort. And Saoirse sounds like his kindred spirit as he does love a good cutting board plop!

    1. Thanks! The zippers were definitely a bit more than I bargained for but I was obsessed with recreating that ‘look’ you know? I look forward to seeing your knit dress. I’ll pass the compliment on to my little orange guy!

    1. Thanks! Yea I’m burning through my winter projects because it’s supposed to be in the sixties this week! The weather is teasing us into thinking it’s spring.

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