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Teach Yourself to Sew

Zipper Basics: Sliders and Stops

Learn a few tips from the pros about the nitty-gritty of working with zippers in this Web Extra.

A slider will only fit a zipper if its dimension and shape correspond to the teeth type. Top and bottom stops are sized to fit the teeth width.

Read the Slider

The slider size and type are matched to the zipper teeth. On quality zippers, the coded information is stamped on the slider back, for example, 5C. The letter designates the teeth type. “C” stands for coil; “V” is for Vislon (molded plastic). Metal teeth don’t have a letter.

zipper sliders and stops 1

Size the Stops

Top and bottom stops also come in various sizes and colors to fit corresponding zippers. The most common sizes are 3 mm, 5 mm, 7 mm, and 10 mm to match zipper-teeth widths. The number corresponds to the closed-teeth width in millimeters. A size 5 zipper, for example, has teeth that measure 5 mm wide when the zipper is zipped.

zipper sliders and stops 2

More on Zippers:

8 Zipper Installation Techniques
Lapped Zippers Rule
A Handpicked Zipper is Worth the Effort
Move a Zipper’s Location


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  1. justmarsha | | #1

    Where do you purchase zipper stops?

  2. Karenmh13 | | #2

    Did anyone ever answer this? Shortening a zipper from the top sounds great - until you get to the "replace the zipper stops" part. Maybe you could salvage the old ones if it's a metal zipper - but not plastic ones. Are these something you can buy?

  3. carolfresia | | #3

    You can purchase new zipper stops (Google "zipper stops"), but you'll have to use a metal one on plastic zippers. Joann's sometimes has a "universal" zipper repair kit in the notions aisle; this may include pieces that fit the zipper you're shortening.

    Carol Fresia, Threads Technical Editor

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