Monday, February 12, 2024

Sewing Tutorial : How-to Shorten a Metal Zipper

In the Wholecloth Patterns How-to Shorten a Metal Zipper video tutorial we'll cover the parts of a zipper, widths of zippers, lengths of zippers, and finally how to pull out some teeth, replace the top zipper stops and shorten that zipper in a way that looks as good as new. You can find the full youtube tutorial for shortening a metal zipper here. Below I'll give you the run down of the tools and supplies I used in the video. 

Where to Buy Metal Zippers for Bag Making.

Etsy has a great selection of shops selling zippers of every type. It's an easy place to shop for a specific length or color from many different stores. 

Zip It on Etsy. - Zip It has a large inventory of sizes, lengths, tape colors and metal finishes to choose from. Their shop is well organized so it's easy to sort for the zipper you're looking for. Good price for the quality, fast shipping and prompt customer service. 

Zipper Stop  - More great metal zipper options. The 14 inch #5 zippers I use in the tutorial video are from Zipper Stop. They also have prompt customer service and put together a custom color combo for me.  Zipper Stop is also on Etsy.

Wawak - Wawak has a good selection of metal zippers and (in my experience) fast shipping. 

Where to Buy Loose Zipper Stops

The little nubs above the teeth on the open end of a zipper are called the top zipper stops (see the video for full zipper anatomy). They prevent the slider  from coming off the zipper when it's fully closed. Replacing the stops on a shortened zipper makes it look brand new, and maintains its durability. The Etsy store Zipper Stop also sells zipper stops. I bought mine on Amazon for the free shipping. Be sure to buy the same size stops (see video for zipper sizing) as your zipper.  

Where to Buy Needle Nose Pliers

You can find needle nosed pliers at almost any big, or small, box hardware store. After borrowing the pliers from my husband's tool box for years, I finally upgraded to my own mini pair of needle nosed pliers. I've removed zipper teeth with regular pliers before, but it's much easier to precisely remove one tiny metal tooth at a time with pliers with a very narrow tip. I got mine as a set from Amazon. I'm pretty sure these are the pair I was borrowing from my husband. Mine are 5" in total length, very similar to these, these and these

Why Shorten a Zipper

Shorten zippers makes your sewing more efficient. The Wholecloth Patterns Tether Pouch requires 9 zippers to make a full set. It can be hard to find one shop with 3 different lengths of matching zippers in stock, or they aren't sold in sets of 3. It creates a lot of flexibility to buy longer zippers and cut them to the size needed for the pouches. The Wholecloth Patterns Fairmount Bag (coming soon!) uses a 13" top zipper. One way to achieve that size is to buy a 14" (or longer) zipper and shorten it to 13". 

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