Wednesday, April 25, 2012

{Tip}: How to Shorten a Metal Zipper

When I was at my local fabric shop last year, I saw a basket of vintage zippers and fell in love with this pink one. At the time, I didn't really think about how long the zipper was but I went ahead and bought it. Every time I went to use it in a project, I could never use it because it was 20" long. Finally, I came up with a project to use it in, but it was still 6 inches too long. So I decided to figure out how to shorten it. Since it is metal, you can't cut it with scissors like a regular zipper. So with trial and a BIG error, I successfully shortened it and it worked perfectly for my project!

So here is how I did it....

Step 1: Lay your zipper face down and mark where your zipper needs to be shortened to.
Step 2: Use needle nosed pliers to pull out the teeth above where the zipper needs to be shortened. You don't have to pull all of them out, just enough so that you will have room to cut the fabric above.

 Ok... this is where I had a big error so learn from my mistakes!! 
My error was that I forgot to take the crimp/stop off of the top of the zipper and put it back on above where I had removed teeth and cut the fabric. So once I started sewing my zipper onto my little bag, the actual zipper pull flew off and it was super tricky getting it back on correctly! {Like- it took me a half an hour to put it back on! ha ha But maybe I am just not talented when it comes to putting a zipper pull back on though! ha ha}
Step 3: Remove the crimp/stop on top of the zipper on each side and then use your pliers to crimp the zipper stopper back onto the fabric so that the zipper pull stops once it reaches the top of the zipper teeth.

Step 4: Cut your excess zipper off where you have removed the metal teeth. {I used pinking shears to do it so that it wouldn't fray but after the incident of the zipper flying off and me working with it so much to get it back on, it ended up fraying anyways, so just use whatever you have}

So there you have it. A super simple way of shortening a metal zipper! Just be sure to learn from my mistakes before shortening your own metal zipper! :)


  1. Great tutorial, Ashley! I've shortened a few metal zippers in the past using a similar technique. I purchased several zippers for 10 cents a piece at a thrift store a while back and have shortened them for projects. It's a great way to save $ on projects!! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wowzers! What a super idea! I've just barely begun sewing with zippers. I haven't fully embraced them yet, lol. But I am so bookmarking this tutorial!! Thank you!

  3. Knowing how to shorten a zipper is definitely a must! I was taught to always shorten from the bottom, that way you don't have to move the crimp. Just take off teeth and cut like you did, then zigzag stitch in place across the teeth to keep the bottom together.

  4. Really useful tutorial! I never thought of adjusting from the top! I was always advised to shorten from the bottom--cut to length and use a blob of superglue across the teeth to stop the zip going any further. Obviously that only works with closed-ended zips!

  5. Great tutorial... zipper freak me out! ;) P.S. It was so so fun to meet you at SNAP! Wish we would of had more time to chat. You are the cutest! XO

  6. I've been wanting to know this for the longest time, thank you for sharing a tutorial on how to do this.
    working moms support group nyc

  7. Okay, you're totally brilliant! I'm in San Diego, my friend is in Singapore, and we've been wondering how to shorten metal zips. I Googled it, and here you are, telling us exactly how to do it. Who says the internet isolates people???? Thank you so, so much!


Thanks for taking the time to comment. I honestly love reading every single one! If you have a question you would like answered- be sure to include your email so that I can get back to you!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a great day!
xoxo, Ashley