Here's a little how-to for any sewing enthusiast who'd like their zipper bags to have a professional look - without a lot of work. Learn how to shorten a zipper and then sew fabric tabs to each end of the zipper to give it some more color and style. And you won't believe how easy it is!
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You'll learn how to shorten zippers and add zipper tabs, and how to sew in zippers the neat way (no more pinched ends of your zippy pouches!) You'll be able to use this on ALL your future sewing projects involving zippers! Makes any pouch, bag, clutch or purse look neat and nice ;)
- a (longer than needed) standard nylon coil zipper
- 2 pieces of scrap fabric for tabs (2 inch by 1.5 inch each)
- sewing machine /needle
- sewing thread
- measuring tape
1) Make zipper tabs
1. Place your 2 by 1.5 inch piece wrong-side-up.
2. Fold in half crosswise. Press, then open again.
3. Fold the upper side to the center crease - and do the same with the lower side.
4. Fold again along the original center and press.
Repeat with the second piece.
No stitching yet. You'll slide these two pieces on each end of the zipper.
2) Adjust Zipper Length
Adjust zipper length: decide on the desired gross length of the zipper for your project.
1. Make sure the zipper pull is within the area you'll use and won't be cut off.
2. On one end, trim the ends of the zipper tape back to the metal stopper (right part of the photo), but don't cut off the metal stopper. It's just for convenience sake - this way, you only need to secure one side of the zipper (= less work)On the other end, cut off the excess zipper length.
NOTE: Any chance you might need to sew over area with the metal stopper? In this case cut off the metal stopper part too. (But you'll need to secure/sew both ends of the zipper, as shown in the next step)
3) Secure the end of the zipperSecure the end of the zipper:
Hand-stitch very close to the end of the zipper where you snipped off the excess zipper. (¼ inch from the end or LESS.)
(I'd say you can machine-stitch it, but handstitching is a lot easier in this case!)
4) Slide on Zipper Tabs
1) Slide on the two zipper tabs you made earlier (see step 3), encasing (sandwiching) each of the zipper ends.
The tabs are half an inch deep, so each one will cover ½ inch of the zipper end. This means gross zipper length minus twice half-an-inch tabs = the finalized exposed zipper length will be 1 inch shorter than the gross zipper length.
2) Use pins to hold the tabs in place.
You'll remove them one by one as you sew.
3) Then topstitch over the tabs close to the exposed part of the zipper, catching both the upper layer of the tab as well as the bottom layer (the one below the zipper). See the image:
Never stitch over any metal parts (stoppers), as it might damage the needle.
4) Once sewn, snip off the excess tab material, so you get a nice and even looking zipper, like this one:
Now you are ready to sew the zipper into a bag. It will make it look nicer and more professional. I love it how it adds a pop of color to any zipper bag!
See how neat and clean a tabbed zipper looks here:
Now, once you've learnt how to use this little hack, it becomes so easy to add it to a few scraps of fabric and - voila! Here it is, your own little bag or purse. You can totally do this!
I used zipper tabs on this little cutie, TRIA, it's my own design. I've made tons of them, and they turned out to be the perfect little Christmas gifts.
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