Have you ever not been able to get a zipper of the right length in the store or have you had to settle for a zipper of the right length but the wrong color? If you find a zipper in a great matching color, but too short, you can’t do much about it. But if you find a zipper that has the right color and is a little longer than needed, buy it! Zippers can be shortened relatively easily. Zipper shortening is not a huge breakthrough and it is done quite often, but if you are dealing with a zipper that is too long, this article may come in handy.
There are two basic types of zippers – Separating Bottom and Closed Bottom zippers. When you completely unzip the separating bottom zipper, it splits into two halves. – its “pin” comes out of the “box”. These zippers are used when sewing jackets, sweatshirts, and vests, for example. Closed bottom zippers have a bottom stop. This bottom stop keeps the two halves of the zipper permanently connected. Closed bottom zippers are used when sewing flies, necklines, pockets, etc.
How to shorten closed bottom zipper
When shortening closed bottom zippers, shorten at the bottom of the zipper. Zip-up your zipper completely and measure the appropriate length from its top edge (where the slider is), downwards.
I will demonstrate the process on the zipper of a small toiletry bag. When sewing it, I only had a zipper that was too long. First measure the appropriate length – close the zipper and measure from the slider “down”. Mark the new bottom end with chalk or soap. Cut the zipper approximately 2-5 cm below the mark. When shortening the metal zipper, be careful not to cut its teeth, as this will permanently damage the blade of your scissors. After you cut the bottom part, handle the zipper very carefully so that it does not open, it’s very hard to close it again. Sew a new bottom stop – use a zigzag stitch and make several stitches in one place so that the zipper teeth in this place cannot be separated from each other. You can also sew “over” the zipper with a straight stitch to connect the two halves permanently. Sew a shortened zipper to your product/garment.
How to shorten separating bottom zipper
This procedure is only possible if you use a plastic zipper. Unfortunately, shortening coil and metal zippers is not that easy. When shortening separating bottom zippers, shorten at the top of the zipper. Measure the appropriate length and mark it. The lower end of the separating bottom zipper must remain intact, shortening is only possible in the upper part of the zipper. If you cut off the lower part, you will lose the mechanism (box & pin), thanks to which the divisible zipper can be connected and closed.
You will need pliers and brute force (and quite a lot of patience) to shorten the separating bottom zipper. Squeeze the teeth in the part that needs to be shortened one by one with pliers so that they fall apart or loosen enough to be pulled from the zipper tape.
Removing the first few teeth will not be easy, but then you will get into it and it will go faster.
Once you reach the part where the teeth should remain, be careful not to damage them. Also don’t move the slider all the way up (beyond the uppermost teeth), otherwise, it will come out of the zipper, and it will be very difficult to put it back.
If you plan to sew the zipper right away and you know that it’s top part will be later finished (with facing or hood, for example), you can unzip it and sew it to the garment as usual.
If you are afraid that the slider will come out of the zipper, you can sew stops on both sides of the zipper tape. Use zigzag stitch and make several stitches in one place (right next to the last teeth) so that the slider can’t move beyond this point.
Zipper shortening isn’t rocket science, but it takes some patience and careful handling. If you liked the article, you might also want to read other articles devoted to working with zippers:
Video tutorial on how to sew pants contains instructions for sewing a fly
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Have a nice day, Peťa ♥
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