How to Shorten a Zipper

Hello! Stephanie from Stephie B’s Designs here again today with another sewing tutorial. This time I’ll be showing you how to shorten a zipper, something you may all need to do from time to time.

Because I sew clothing in many different sizes, I never know what zipper length I may to need and I don’t always have the time to run to the store to buy one every time a project comes up. So, I tend to keep several 14″ and 22″ zippers on hand (in many different colors, of course), and shorten them as needed. That way I’ll always have a zipper when I need it.

For this tutorial, I am shortening a 14″ all-purpose zipper down to 12″.

Step 1: Measure and Mark

As you can see in the image below, the zipper length is measured from the zipper stop at the top, to the zipper stop at the bottom.

In order to shorten the zipper, you’ll need to create a new zipper stop at the bottom of the zipper at your desired length (I never knew I could use the word zipper so many times in one sentence!)

In my case, I want a 12″ zipper, so I use my handy dandy disappearing ink fabric marker to draw a line where the new zipper stop will be.

Step 2: Create the Zipper Stop

Grab some thread and a needle, knot the end of the thread, and lets make a zipper stop.

Starting from the bottom of the zipper tape, position your needle as close to the zipper teeth as possible at your marked line and push it through to the top. I tend to start on the right side of the zipper – from my perspective.

Now push your needle back down on the other side of the teeth along that marked line – again, as close to the teeth as possible.

Push the needle back up from the bottom, through the spot you pushed it through just a moment ago, to create a loop around the zipper teeth.

Repeat the last couple steps – making loops around the teeth – about 12-15 times.

As you can see below, you’ve created a zipper stop!

Step 3: Tie off the Thread

Tie off the thread and proceed to Step 4… you’re almost done!

If you aren’t sure how you should tie it off, though, I can help you with that, too.

Flip the zipper over so the bottom is facing you. Slide the needle under the new zipper stop through the center along the teeth.

To knot it, I wrap the thread around my needle 2 or 3 times, then pull the needle away from the zipper to tighten and create the knot.

Repeat a couple times and you’re good to go… You’re thread has been knotted off! Cut off the excess thread, turn the zipper over, and admire you’re work. 🙂

Step 4: Cut off the Excess Zipper Tape

Cut off the bottom portion of the tape at least 1/2″ below the new zipper stop.

Finally, finish the new end with pinking shears, a lighter (use caution of course!), or your choice of seam sealant, such as Fray Check.

And you’re DONE!!!

It feels great to learn something new, doesn’t it? Glad I could help. 🙂

See you back here in a few weeks for another How To!

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