A few weeks back I shared a post on Instagram about how to shorten a too-long zipper. This was for my German Renaissance costume (the zipper is hidden and stands in for period-appropriate hooks and eyes). Today I’ll show more than just a few photos… but also the instructions!
I started off with a separating zipper, 35cm – longer than I needed. Unfortunately they didn’t have a zipper exactly the length I needed, so a too-long zipper is way better than a too-short one. The top-right photo in the collage above shows by how much the zip is too long.
The very first step is marking the zipper tape to length. I just used a pencil for this, because the zipper won’t ever be seen. If the zipper will be seen, use chalk, thread marking, or any other removable marking.
Next, I pried the zipper stopper from the top of each of the zipper sides. You can save a bit of time by purchasing these separately, but I’ve found them hard to find, and this method isn’t too time-consuming.
Fine needle-nose pliers work best to pry the prongs from the back of the stopper, but I couldn’t find mine, so I used a strong needle for the task.
Once the stopper is removed, be extra-careful not to let the slider up past it’s former home and off the tape! They’re very difficult to re-attach!
The next step is trimming the zipper tape. Snip through the tape and the zipper coil/teeth. (Bottom left in the photo collage above).
With the tape trimmed, it’s necessary to finish the raw edge of the tape. I used Fray Check, which is basically a glue for fabrics that can be washed.
You can also whip-stitch, zig-zag stitch, or bind the raw edge, but Fray Check is nearly invisible, and holds well.
While I waited for the Fray Check to dry, I painted my nails… after taking so many photos of my hands I realized my nails were quite terrible looking! 😉
Once the Fray Check was dry, I re-attached the stopper at the top of the zipper tape on each side. I do this after the raw edge is treated because handling it a lot before it’s treated could cause it to fray.
I re-attached the stopper using needle-nose pliers.