How to shorten a zip

October 3, 2019

It is super easy to shorten a zip – there is no need to rush out to the shop to finish your sewing project, just shorten a zip you have in your stash. Before we start please note a zip is measured by the length of the zip itself, not the zipper tape. 

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How to shorten a nylon zip

To shorten a zip zip you are going to create a bottom stopper at the desired length.


Start by measuring your zip and marking the desired length. Remember to start measuring from the zipper top, not the zipper tape. The marked point is where you are going to make a new bottom stopper.

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Either hand stitch over and over the marked point, or machine stitch. This new stopper needs to be secure to prevent the zip running off the end.

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Cut your zipper. The length you cut it to will depend upon the role of the zip, I have cut this short as it is being used a for a flat bottom zipper pouch, if I was using the zip for a dress I would cut it a little longer. 

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Super quick and easy, the process is exactly the same for an invisible zip. This is an invisible zip ring shortened using a sewing machine.

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How to shorten a metal zipper

Lets protect your sewing scissors. Metal zipper teeth are going to ruin your scissors… This time we are going to measure for shortening from the top of the zip.

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Mark the required length, then move the zipper down onto the finished zip teeth.

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Using pliers pull out the metal teeth from the mark. This is little fiddly but persevere.

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Pull out approximately an inch worth of teeth.



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Cut the tape to remove the excess zip length, leaving the new zip length and an inch worth of tape.

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Learning how to shorten a zip is such a handy skill for any type of sewing – but particularly when you are learning how to sew bags with zipper pockets. Check out my other essential bag making skills posts:-


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A passion for sewing, upcycling and caring for the environment - the perfect excuse to haunt charity shops for bargains!

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