Whether you call them zips, zippers, or even fermeture éclairs, sewing a zip requires patience, concentration, and…. a zip of the right length!

If you have ever experienced the frustration of not being able to continue with a sewing project because your zip is the wrong length, this post is for you. Learn how to shorten a metal or plastic zip in three easy steps.

Types of zip 

The type of zip you have will determine which method you will use to shorten it as you do not want to sew over metal teeth.

Plastic. Sometimes called nylon zips, these have plastic teeth and are typically used for clothing.

Metal. Mainly used for bags and occasionally as decorative elements of clothing, these zips have metal teeth.

Step by step – plastic zip 

  1. Determine the length you need, measuring from the top stoppers downwards, and mark it.
  2.   Use the zig zag setting on your machine to stitch over the teeth a few times at the marked place.
  3.   Cut the zip about 2.5 cm from your stitches.

Step by step – metal zip 

  1. Determine the length you need, measuring from the bottom stoppers upwards, and mark it.
  2. Use pliers to remove the teeth above the mark, being careful with the top stoppers which you will reuse.
  3. Reattach and crimp the top stoppers at the marked place. Then cut the excess tape.

Being able to shorten a zip streamlines your sewing process as you can stock up on long, neutral-coloured zips or you can buy zipper tape that is sold by the meter. It also gives you a neat finish when making bags with zips.

As a leading supplier of affordable sewing machines, overlockers, steam press, and haberdashery items in Sub Saharan Africa, the knowledgeable team at Empisal can help you decide what options will best suit your needs and skills. For more information, contact us today.