Shortening and Converting Zips


It is extremely easy to shorten a closed end zip. You can shorten it before sewing, if you like. Simply measure the length you want, do the zip up and tack across the teeth at the desired length (by hand or machine). Cut an inch (2cm) below the tacks, with pinking shears if you have them, though straight scissors will do. Sew into your seam in the usual way. Don't worry about the tacks not being very strong, once the zip is sewn in it won't actually matter of the two halves fall apart!

If you prefer, you can sew the zip which is too long straight into the seam. Make sure that it is done up before cutting the unwanted bottom piece off.

Note that you can start with a closed end or open end (separating) zip but once you've cut the bottom off it will become a closed end zip! The open end zips we sell are number 5, which are thicker and stronger than standard dressmaking zips. This makes them suitable for things like upholstery, bags, notepad cases fact anywhere where you want a more robust zip


It isn't possible to make an open end zip out of a closed end one (not unless you have some machinery to do it, anyway). It is possible to shorten an open end zip, though the finish isn't perfect so it's really better if you can buy the exact length you need. If you have to shorten an open end zip then it's important to remember that it's the TOP section which is cut off - not the bottom. The top of the item must 


  • Sharon Rogers
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