Zippers need not be feared nor loathed.
There seems to be a lot of negativity that surrounds zippers and putting them into a sweater or felted bag by hand. It is, however, not as difficult as it looks and I am of the opinion that fear and loathing should be abandoned in favor of persistence and knowledge. . .
Thus, I present to you instructions on how to cut down a zipper by hand and set it into a static opening, such as a bag opening or the opening of a pillow.
Always look for zippers that are at least slightly longer than you need
A too short zipper will never work. . . and if you try to make it work, your knitting will buck and buckle–not a great look. So, that slightly or much too long zipper is perfect. . .
Determine the best zipper for your needs
Best for bags are zippers that have 2 closed ends and 2 sliders.
Best for jackets, a separating zipper.
Best for dresses and skirts, and invisible zipper with a closed bottom end.
Materials you will need
Scissors (rough & tough ones that can cut through plastic or metal zipper teeth0)
Pins to mark the spot (and later to hold the zipper in place as you set it in)
Once you have laid our your materials and are getting to the business of cutting your zipper to fit, measure your opening carefully. Then measure the zipper and mark with a straight pin where the zipper needs to be cut.
For zippers that have closed ends (for the openings of bags and pillows, for example), you will recreate 1 of the bottom stops with thread.
For a separating zipper, but to cut down from the top stops and you don’t want to interfere with the separating portion of the zipper.
For zippers that have one closed end, such as those for dresses, skirts, and pants, best to shorten the closed end bit.
Make a thread “stop”
To make a thread stop, thread your needle with a double strand of sewing thread, then ‘wrap” the zipper teach multiple times with the thread at the place you marked with the straight pin.
I recommend wrapping the teeth of the zipper as many times as you need to to feel confident that the stop will hold. I’d say 5 wraps is about the minimum with which I would feel comfortable. If you are a comfortable with a sewing machine, you can perform this step with an appropriately size zig zag stitch.
Cut the zipper down once stop is complete
One you have completed your thread “stop,” use your heavy duty workhorse scissors to cut the end of the zipper you no longer need. I recommend leaving about 1/2″ beyond the stop.
If you have any other zipper questions, please post them in the comments to this post and I will answer them in a future Noni Q&A.