Friday, May 01, 2015

Do you alter your zippers?

I purchase zippers basically in two sizes - 22" and 9" in a multitude of colors and primarily invisible zippers. Although I do have some regular zippers left over from when I only used them.

Now once upon a time in my sewing career, I owned zippers in a large range of sizes.  If a pattern called for 18" zippers - I had them.  7" or 22" or 20" I attempted to stock them all.  But you know that inevitably I would go to make something and not have a zipper in the right size or the right color! 

Then about a decade ago, I was at Steinlauf and Stoeller having a zipper cut and the gentlemen cutting the zipper said that I could do this at home. He then proceeded to explain to me how to do it. It's the method I've used ever since and I think different from the prevailing method...

1. Decide what size you want the zipper and place a pin across the zipper there.


2. Make sure the zipper is zipped to the top.
3. Make a bar tack across the zipper right below the pin.


4. Cut the zipper off an inch right below the thread bar.


5. Install the "new" zipper in your garment.


I've never had a zipper fail using this method and I use it often. Now that this is part of my sewing arsenal I only purchase 9" and 22" zippers in a variety of colors. It's easier to store and keep track of this way. 


It's also more economical. As I said previously, this is an alternate method to shortening a zipper and I hope that you will give it a try.

...as always more later!




28 comments:

  1. This is what I love about sewing bloggers and sharing information - you now have me totally fascinated to know there is another method because I always do it this way! I recycle a lot so have masses of zips in random sizes and have to alter them to fit, if I buy new I buy long or a zip roll with extra pulls. I'm not even sure why I do it this way, must have seen it somewhere (I'm not a terribly experienced sewer). So you've got me musing - how many other ways are there? ��

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  2. Yes I always do this with my invisible zips and like you, I've never had any trouble with it, actually I always wondered who ever manages to get these odd length zips required by some patterns.

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  3. Terrific post and extremely useful! I always enjoy your blog, but I admit to being a lazy commenter. Thanks for sharing all your knowledge!

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  4. Yes I do, there are only two lengths available locally, I use a zig zag stitch on my machine, with the length stitch at minimum (a bit like when making buttonholes).

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  5. I do it this way too! Have you shortened metal zips?

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  6. Yes, I do alter zippers pretty well every time. Like you, I buy 9" and 22" zips. I alter the way you explained except for pants and skirts which I alter at the top so there is no gap at the waistband. I learned that from Sandra Betzina. Have a good weekend Carolyn with lots of sunshine!

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  7. I have done this for years. I have a bag full of zippers I glean from thrift stores (I only rarely buy one new - for a particular project if needed.) My personal preference is that i like ordinary zippers, not because I have never used an invisible one, I just don't care for them. The key is to always do that bar tack before cutting. I do my bar tack by hand. It is still quick and easy and I don't have my machine needle dancing over zipper teeth. Vicki mentioned metal zippers - Yes, I have shortened metal ones. You just have to have a tool that will snip the metal. I also make sure the teeth where snipped are covered when installed so there are no cuts or snags to me or the garment.

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  8. I also do alter zippers, just like you do. If I am doing a jacket,or something that has a zipper that fully opens, I will alter from the top, take out the teeth and insert new stops. Have a great week end :)

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  9. I do this also, and bulk buy when on sale. I buy most of my invisible zippers in more common colors such as black, white, beige, and navy. I also shorten my metal zippers. I shorten these from the opening by moving the metal stops on each side down. I use needle nose pliers (similar to those used in jewelry making) to work with metal zippers. It looks intimidating, but is very easy.

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  10. Thanks for the photo tutorial. That's the way I do it, too. Is there another way?

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    Replies
    1. Some people make the alteration from the top of the zipper instead of at the bottom!

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  11. I've been doing this bar tack thing for years. I also have lots of zips and most of the time I have to cut them. BUT I install all my zippers about 2 inches longer. I like my zips to go right to the top on dresses, no hooks or snaps, and with excess at the top I can just sew it in and cut it off to get that perfect ending. On invisible zips I also install them 1 1/2 to 2 inches longer at the bottom. I find I get a better installation that way and it gives me more to stitch through at the end when I secure the end of the zip to the seam allowance. It also helps make a "bumpless" bottom to the inviz zip. Great tip, Carolyn and thanks for passing it on.

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  12. I always do this and I only buy 22" zippers. That way there's always something in my stash that works!

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  13. I do it this way too. Now I'm dying to know what this mysterious other way is!

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    1. Jamiedsc - some people make the alteration from the top of the zipper!

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  14. Fab post - I knew it was possible but hadn't realised it was that easy to shorten a zip!

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  15. I shorten metal zips with a zipper repair kit. They come with extra sliders and lots of extra stops. I have bent the stops getting them off and then you can't use them again. I also have these great snips from Fiskars that will cut the teeth off plastic sports zippers so you can shorten them too. I also use Fray chek on the fabric end when I cut the zipper tape. It will ravel. I always buy a variety of sizes even though I shorten them- force of habit?

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    1. Patricia - thanks for this info. I've never altered metal zips - usually get them cut to size at Pacific Trimmings so it's nice to know that I can do them at home!

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  16. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing this! Creative Hormone Rush

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  17. Yes, when I 1st learned to sew years ago, my instructor taught me this. So convenient.

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  18. Great information. Thanks for sharing.

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  19. I only buy 22" zippers and shorten them often. I sew the zipper in the garment and, then, shorten it. Funny, I never thought about shortening the zipper before I sew it in the garment. That makes sense and is easier. Thanks!

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  20. I always do this. I was going crazy trying to stock the exact length of zipper. I bought a bunch of invisible zippers from ebay and shorten them using a wide zig zag stitch.

    www.StyleSewMe.com

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  21. I've shortened them like this many times but never thought to order only two sizes. Will definitely follow your lead with my next order for zips. Thanks for the tip!

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  22. I haven't yet had an occasion to shorten an invisible zip. Ordinary zips, I shorten by using a beading set of pliers to take out the metal stop at the bottom and move it. I just like that it looks more professional than a stitched stop.

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