Teeth Pulled Here or How To Shorten a Metal Zipper

While I continue to plug away at sewing my cushions, I thought I'd toss out this little tutorial on how to shorten a metal zipper.

As I'd mentioned earlier, I had purchased 36" metal toothed (teethed?) upholstery zippers. After sewing the first two covers I realized that I really only needed 30" zippers. Not wanting to throw any more money into this black hole project, than I'd already invested, I went in search of a way to shorten the remaining zippers I already had. It's actually kind of fun and a little bit like playing dentist because you get to pull teeth!

First you'll need a few items from your sewing and tool boxes. Round up a hammer, needle nosed pliers, flat blade screwdriver, measuring tape, pencil and (not shown) a pair of pinking shears.

Start by measuring your zipper. If it's a 36" zipper, for instance, it should measure 36" from the top of the closed zipper to the bottom metal stop.

Beginning at the bottom stop measure up to the point you want your zipper to end. In my case I wanted 30".  Make a mark on the tape on either side of the closed zipper and then unzip it below that mark.

Next, using the pliers, remove the two metal stops at the very top of the zipper teeth. These keep the slider from flying off the end of the zipper, which wouldn't be good. Grasp each one firmly and give a good tug. You'll have to hold on tightly to the tape on either side. They come off surprisingly easily. Set these aside because you'll be reusing them later. If they go flying off the table and get lost in your 70's orange shag carpet don't sweat it. You can always do a thick whipstitch at the top of the teeth to accomplish the same thing. 

Now you can start pulling off teeth, above the mark you made earlier, in the same manner. It works best if you just grab the part that juts out beyond the tape. I removed about an inch worth of teeth. Try not to get too carried away. It's that much fun! 

Note: I'm holding this upside down in my obviously dehydrated fingers.
The stops that were set aside earlier will probably need to be opened up a bit in order to get them back on the tape. I used a thick bladed screwdriver as a wedge and hammered them open enough so that they would easily slide back onto the tape. Place them right above the topmost teeth, like they were originally. Crimp them closed tightly using the pliers.

The last step is to cut the tape. Using a pinking shears helps prevent any raveling. 

And that's it. You're done! You can now apply to be a member of the American Dental Association...or Swedish, or Canadian or whatever country you live in. Go out and put up a shingle saying "Teeth Pulled Here".  Next week...root canals. How hard can it be? 

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this post, especially the examples in this post portion which made it really easy for me to SEE what you were talking about without even having to leave the article. Thanks
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