Top Tip: How to shorten a zip…

If you’re like me and tend to have a stash of zips (I thoroughly recommend nabbing them when you see them at charity shops or on special somewhere), you’ll know that if you’re lucky enough to have the right colour for a make, then it will invariably be the wrong length. “Glaebas Legem” you might say 😉 Anyway, it’s super easy to shorten a “too long” zip to meet your requirements. Simply mark where you want the new stopper to be, sew over the spot several times with a double thickness thread (essentially creating a new thread stop as opposed to a metal one), then snip away the excess below…

Simple as! I’m tackling my first ever fly front zip right now. Wish me luck! (Any good tutes out there that you know of?)

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  1. Miss Lulu June 27, 2013

    This is the best method I’ve used. Produces a nice deep fly zip.

  2. Jacq C June 27, 2013

    That’s a great tip. I picked up 14 zips in a charity shop on Tuesday – for 99p! They’re a real mixed bunch (length and colour) but I couldn’t leave them for that price – in fact I paid extra because I felt guilty 🙂

  3. LLBB June 27, 2013

    I don’t know if the pieces would be exactly the same but I’ve used lladybird’s thurlow sewalong to get great fly fronts! Good luck!!

  4. ette June 27, 2013

    I learned that tip in a sewing and haberdashery shop, it’s priceless. You can as well do it with your sewing machine, using a wide zig-zag and reducing the length of the stitches to 0, like sewing the bar of buttonholes.

  5. yesilikethat June 28, 2013

    I had to shorten some metal zippers for the jeans I made, it’s a HUGE pain, involving pliers and tiny bits of metal that ping off at random…

    For fly front instructions you need the Stitches and Seams fly tutorial – it’s the best, most clear tutorial I’ve seen

    Grainline also has a good one, a slightly different method as it’s designed for a pattern without a cut-on fly, like her Moss skirt.

    Good luck!

  6. Anonymous June 28, 2013

    grainline has a great tutorial i used

  7. beassewingadventures June 28, 2013

    Brilliant tip! Thank you. I got a job lot of 100 white 70cm zips a year or two back, and I’ve still got at least 70 of the blighters left, despite giving them away left right and centre.

  8. Anne Weaver June 30, 2013

    Just wanted to let you I linked out to your tutorial on Craft Gossip this morning:

  9. Emma Made June 30, 2013

    Wow! This tip seems to simple and I can’t believe I never knew this. This is going to save me so much time and money, thank you!

  10. Anna June 30, 2013

    Oooh, you might know the answer to something that’s bothering me.

    I have a dress I want to refashion by making it a bit shorter – it fits nicely on top but is too clingy from the waist downwards, somehow if I make the hem go higher it’s more flattering, but I can only do that if I fold a bit around the waist (if that makes sense), but then it gets bulky because of the zip at the back, which is *not* a good look.

    The problem is that the zip is super long – it basically goes almost the full length of the dress. I *could* unpick it but it’s *beautifully* sewn in and I just know I could never get it that nicely done myself when I want to reattach it (especially as I refashion by hand because I don’t have a sewing machine). Would something like this trick work, do you think? If I cut it so that I didn’t need it over the skirt part? It would be a great dress if it fitted properly, the fabric is fab. Would love anyone’s advice on it – I know you’ve done loads of great refashions so you might have some experience already!

    • Mendy Kay July 14, 2013

      I think you could shorten your zipper and then stitch together the seam where it used to be. However don’t shorten it too much. Most dresses have a zipper go down into the hips because that’s usually the widest part of our figure. You won’t be able to get it on if you shorten it too much.

    • Mendy Kay July 14, 2013

      Portia, I was taught this method, but also another method. Since the zipper bottom gets more wear and tear, it can be better to leave the commercial stop on the bottom and shorten it at the top. Just do the same thing you showed but do it on each side of the top pieces.

  11. Deb Reed July 30, 2017

    I’m shortening husband golf pants. Zipper, separating (plastic w/metal tab) needs 4″off bottom. Can I remove the metal tab and reinstall at new location ?


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