sewing · tutorial · zippers


I get asked a lot about how I shorten my zippers, or how I add my zipper ends.  I use this technique on just about every little bag I’ve made!  I thought I’d take some time this morning while I was making up a little gift to show you, step-by-step, how it’s done!

You’ll need:

Your contrast fabric (or whatever you want your ends to be), a ruler, a cutting tool, and a marker.


To cut your tabs, make two identical 1.5 inch squares.  I don’t interface them or anything, I find this makes the tabs too bulky inside the mouth of the bag.  Fold them in half (any direction, as long as you’re going wrong sides in) and then in half again this same way.  You’ll get two little tabs that look like this.

Using the marker, measure the desired length of your zipper.  This is the TOTAL length you want it to be to fit the bag.  Mark it on both ends.  I use a Frixion marker than disappears when you iron it.  Heading to your machine, sew across the zipper on both sides to keep it together, making sure that the head of the zipper is BELOW the area you sew and cut, or… you’ll be cutting it off!  Trim carefully.

Place the tabs across the ends, tucking the inside of the zipper into the fold of the tabs.  Now, just sew across the tab, through the zipper.  I usually do one line close to the edge and then another about that far away again.  I find having the ends that overlap make it easier to feed through the machine and to ensure my sewing line is straight-ish.

TRICK:  If this is fiddly for you, which it might be the first couple of times you try this, you can totally use a glue stick to hold everything in place.

You’ll have what looks like a bit of a mess.  Just trim the tabs to the width of your zipper!

Tomorrow I’ll show you how I sew this zipper into a bag, making use of the ends to make a more professional finish!


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