I just finished up testing the new Bridgeport Jacket from Peekaboo Pattern Shop.  Since I had a lot going on when testing started, I knew I wouldn’t have time to get to the fabric store.  So I planned my entire jacket around the zipper I had on hand!!!  I’m a fabric and sewing supply hoarder so I knew if I dug deep enough that I would find a zipper to work with!  Sure enough, I had a zipper, BUT it was 28″ long.  The size I needed was 15″…big difference!


My sewing buddy and fellow tester, Alisha from The Sew and Tell Project, and I both needed our zippers shortened.  Alisha helped me to figure out the perfect tools to complete this task!  My Joann’s only sells separating zippers in even sized increments.  You may be able to find a place online that will sell oddly incremented zippers, but here’s a quick and easy way to save yourself the trouble of searching for hours!

First, gather your supplies!  I was proud of myself for finding all of these in our garage all by myself!  You’ll need wire snippers, pliers, a needle, coordinating thread and your zipper!  For demonstrations purposes, I’m using a different color thread so that you can easily see the thread against the zipper tape.  I’d also recommend some sort of eye protection.  When you snip the plastic pieces, they tend to go flying.  Safety first!

Read your pattern and determine the length needed.  The Bridgeport Jacket will specify how far from the top and bottom of the jacket the zipper stop should be.  I lined up my zipper along the bottom of my garment according to the pattern.  I then looked at the top and marked on both sides of the zipper tape how far down my top zipper stop should be from the neckline.  I’m just doing a few here to show you.


Starting with the top zipper stop and using the wire snippers, line up the sharp edge of the wire snippers with the edge of the zipper tape.  Firmly squeeze the snippers until you break the zipper stop.  If you can crack it so that it’s even with the zipper tape then the teeth part on the zipper tape will just peel off.  If they don’t peel off, then you can use the pliers to remove them.

The process is the same to remove the individual zipper teeth as it is to remove the top zipper stop.  Continue removing the zipper teeth until you reach the desired length.


Trust me…I’ve done it…a lot!  You’ll need to create a new zipper stop at the top so that your zipper won’t come off at the top and you won’t punch yourself in the face (been there, done that).


Grab your needle and thread.  You’ll thread your needle and knot the end.  Starting from the back of the zipper and sew loops around the first and second teeth on the side that does not have the zipper attached (if this was attached to a garment, it would be the garment’s right side in this case).  I probably went around about 8 times.  To finish up, slide your needle under the loops on the back side twice and then tie it in a knot with the tails from when you started.

The zipper will now be prevented from flying off because of the thread loops.  So feel free to zip it up and admire your new, shorter zipper!


Stay tuned for the release of the Bridgeport Jacket on Thursday, September 1st.


Posted by:rubyruecreations

5 replies on “How to Shorten a Zipper

  1. Very cute, Kasey! And a helpful tutorial. I have had to do it once (the only time I used a separating zipper). I don’t think people realize how different it is from shortening a regular zipper.


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