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Zipper shortening

elnababy | Posted in General Discussion on

How do I shorten a zipper that is too long for my opening?


  1. starzoe | | #1

    To shorten a zipper (am assuming that this is not a separating zipper), make a stop where you want it by handsewing across the teeth. I use either double thread in the needle, or something like buttonhole twist. Work over and over the teeth.
    You can now cut the zipper about half an inch or a little more below the stop, it depends on where it is to be installed, you may want to leave more or less.

  2. Teaf5 | | #2

    You can cut the zipper as suggested, or you can simply insert it as usual but not sew the unnecessary length at the bottom.  The remainder hangs inside the garment and can give a little stability to the seam and make the transition from zipped to seam area smoother.

    A separating zipper can be shortened at the top by making new stops with a coordinating thread or by enclosing the cut-off top edge in the neckline seam.  At the neckline, a zipper with thread stops is sometimes more comfortable than those stiff, hard plastic or metal stops anyway.

    1. Ralphetta | | #3

      Isn't it Betzina who says you should routinely get a longer zipper so that you can cut off those metal stops?  I thought my garments looked a lot better when i started doing that.  Maybe I'm wrong.

      1. solosmocker | | #4

        What I do, and I may have gotten this idea from my hero Betzina, is always use a zipper 2-3 inches longer than needed. I install it with the bottom stop where it belongs and the extra inches at the cut edge of the neckline or waist. This allows you to topstitch the zipper without dealing with the lump of the zipper pull or the awkwardness of moving it around. Once it is all stitched in, open the zipper and sew a stop in on each side at the top. I do this with a wide zigzag on the machine. Then close the zip and it should stop at the top stops. Cut of the excess even with the cut edge of the fabric. solo

        1. Ralphetta | | #5

          Yes, that's what I do and don't you think it looks better?


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