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{Tutorial} Turn a separating zipper into a closed end zipper

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Heavy duty, closed end, long zippers are often needed for sewing bags.  As for the Foxtrot bag pattern for example.

But most of the time, you’ll only find separating long (30 cm / 12 inches or more) heavy duty zippers in stores.

Therefore, here is a tutorial that shows how to turn a separating zipper into a closed end zipper.

{Tutorial} Turn a separating zipper into a closed end zipper

The technique used below may seem a bit hasty, but it works, it is quick and easy.

Pre-requisite

The separating zipper you’ll use has to be longer than the closed end zipper you need.

Example : If I need a 40 cm (15 inches) closed end zipper then I’ll use a 45 cm (16 inches or more) separating zipper.

Step 1 – Prepare the zipper tab

1- Cut a rectangle of fabric as wide as your zipper and 5 cm (2 inches) long.

Tip : use a fabric the same color as the zipper tape or your project.

Cut a fabric tab
Cut a fabric tab
2- On one of the small edges, fold 1 cm (3/8″) to the wrong side of the tab. Press.
Fold 1 cm (3/8") to wrong side
Fold 1 cm (3/8″) to wrong side

Step 2 – Measure and mark

From the cursor side, measure the length of the desired closed end zipper and mark on each side of the zipper tape.

Mark the desired length
Mark the desired length

Step 3 – Stitch

1- Place the tab on the right side of the zipper, aligning the folded edge to the markings.

Align the tab
Align the tab
2- Topstitch the tab along the folded edge.
Topstitch the tab
Topstitch the tab

Be careful !

If your needle hits the metal or injected teeth, it may break. So :

  • Ensure that the needle path passes between the metal teeth.
  • Do not use the pedal to stitch over the teeth : hand-turn the wheel instead.
  • If the needle encounters resistance, try to move the zipper a few millimeters to the left or right.

Don’t forget to back-stitch at beginning and end of the stitch-line. 

Step 4 – Cut

Flip zipper to wrong side.

Because the excess teeth might get in your way when assembling your project, remove excess teeth by cutting around them.

Cutting the tape between the teeth is easy with small embroidery scissors.

Remove excess teeth by cutting around them.
Remove excess teeth by cutting around them.
Zipper wrong side
Zipper wrong side
Voilà, you’ve turned a separable zipper into a closed end zipper ! 
Right side of the now closed end zipper
Right side of the now closed end zipper
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5 thoughts on “{Tutorial} Turn a separating zipper into a closed end zipper

  1. Thank you. That was very clear, simplistic information. Great!

  2. Thank you for this tutorial. It save me from trying to order closed bottom zippers in a rush!!! It was concise and easy to follow.

  3. Very helpful! Thank you!

  4. Can this technique be used on the plastic style zippers (usually used on coats), or just the coil zippers? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Yes you can also use this technique with separating plastic zippers 🙂

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