Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Shorten A Zipper From The Top

Shorten a metal zipper in minutes.

For the sewing enthusiast, keeping up with fashion trends means buying new paper patterns, fresh fabric and corresponding sewing notions. Zippers, once simple, hidden closures, can now be decorative as well as functional, and come in many colors, sizes and weights. With a few household tools--and simple modifications for coil, metal or plastic-tooth zippers--shortening is a snap.


1. Measure carefully for the best results.

Close the zipper and lay it flat on a work surface. Place the ruler's starting point at the bottom stop and measure up the zipper toward the top stops. At the desired length, make pencil marks on both sides of the zipper tape (Point A). Make an additional mark (Point B) 1.25 inches up from Point A, creating a seam or fold-over allowance. Unzip the zipper. If the top stops are metal, pry them open with a small screwdriver; remove with pliers and set aside.

2. Needle-nose pliers simplify the removal of zipper teeth.

Remove zipper teeth or coil from zipper tape between points A and B. For metal or plastic zippers, use needle-nose pliers to grasp and remove each tooth from the tape, taking care not to damage the tape. For coil zippers, use scissors to cut parallel to the outer edges of the coil, trimming away the coil but leaving the rest anchored to the tape. Pass a flame across the remaining coil. This will melt the remaining plastic to the zipper tape.

3. Sew zigzag stitches on each side of the tape to create thread stops.

Position new or salvaged metal top stops on the zipper tape at Point A; crimp in place with pliers. If stops are not available, create thread stops by machining a dozen or so zigzag stitches using a maximum width setting and a short length setting. Trim the zipper tape at Point B. Fold excess allowance a half inch above Point A and stitch it down to stabilize the top tape ends. The zipper is ready for use.

Tags: shorten, zipper, zipper tape, tape Point, zipper tape Point, create thread, create thread stops, thread stops, with pliers, zigzag stitches, zipper teeth