Pulling Teeth: Tips to Shorten Zippers
Editor's note: Jacque Goldsmith is known as "The Sewsmith" in the sewing world and to her students. Jacque has a wide experience in sewing instruction, ready-to-wear design, and creating custom clothing. In Threads #153, she shares her expertise in "Zipper Fixes," a primer on repairing these tricky closures. Here's some additional how-to information from Jacque - how she shortens replacement zippers.
Factories order zippers in huge quantities and specific lengths for each garment they manufacture. For home sewers, zippers are only made in a limited size range. There may not be a zipper available in the same size as the one that needs to be replaced.
|More on zippers:
• 8 Zipper Installation Techniques
• How to Replace a Broken Zipper
• How to Sew an Exposed Zipper
• Move a Zipper's Location
You should always buy a replacement zipper longer than you need and shorten it. Closed bottom and separating zippers are shortened from the top. Invisible zippers are shortened from the bottom.
Shorten a closed bottom or separating zipper
1. Mark the desired length of the zipper on the tape. Measure from the bottom stop.
2. Remove the teeth for 1 inch above the mark. The tools and method will depend on the zipper type:
- For metal zippers, use the nippers to and cut and or pull each tooth.
- For plastic zipper teeth, use the nippers horizontally to cut off the "head" of the tooth.
Then snip the remaining plastic from the zipper tape.
- For coil zippers, use small scissors to trim the coil parallel to the tape.
Then use the scissor tip or an awl to remove the loops from the zipper tape.
3. After removing the teeth by any method, add new top stops with needle nose pliers. (If you want to match the color on your top stop, you can use nail polish or model paint before you attach it.) Use a soft cloth to cover the pliers' teeth and protect the stop's finish.