Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How do you shorten a zipper?

Some of my zipper customers ask me:  "How do you shorten a zipper?" Sometimes you want to try a new project, but you don't have the right length zipper on hand. What do you do? You shorten a longer zipper. I have just shortened a 16 inch dress zipper to 13 inch size, and it only took me a few minutes.

Here is a list of the supplies you will need to shorten a zipper:
1) a measuring tape
2) a pencil
3) a pair of scissors
4) a needle and thread matching the color of the zipper

  As you probably already know, a zipper is measured by the length of the zipper coil, from the top zipper stops to the zipper stop at the bottom of the zipper (you may find this information  How to measure a zipper length helpful). In order to shorten my 16 inch zipper to a 13 inch size, I used a measuring tape, measured around 13 3/16 inches, and marked the spot with a pencil.  I then cut off the bottom portion of the zipper, leaving around 3/4 of an inch for seam allowance.
Then I used matching orange thread to whipstitch tightly across the zipper coil, working my way up (hence the extra 3/16 inches I measured off). If you are using a single threaded needle, you will need around 20 to 25 stitches for the DIY zipper stop. 10 to 12 stitches should be enough, if you are using a doulbe threaded needle. You can also use your sewing machine to speed up the process. The zipper stop doesn't need to be wide, but in my example, I created a zipper stop that resembles the original metal zipper stop. The zipper stop can be later covered up with a fabric tab (see an example of fabric tabs at Red Pepper Quilts blog).
 This is how the shortened 13 inch zipper turned out. The zipper stop is a good barrier and prevents the zipper pull from sliding down. Hope this tutorial "How do you shorten a zipper" is helpful to some of you. Please let me know if you have any questions. Have a very fruitful day!

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