Dealing with zippers

Discussion in 'DIY & MYOG' started by Whiteburn, May 30, 2019.

  1. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    After @OneBeardedWalker post on his woes with his Hekpeak V4A Zip thought it would be worthwhile posting how I deal with continuous zippers; the notes generally apply to common sizes (#3 & #5), types (standard & waterproof) & various configurations. Other may do it differently but this has worked for me.
    All the photos are of a standard #3 zipper, the stiffer #5 waterproof is easier to handle. In MYO scenario or zip replacement I like to cut a length of zip tape a few inches longer than the joint (zip tape is cheap), it allows the simple prep of the zip end(s) to get the slider(s) on & allows the siders to be positioned away from under the sewing machine foot.

    Single slider closed ends, typical on a pouch or pocket.

    1) Separate the zipper tape & prep the end of the tape by removing a few teeth from one side, I find a scalpel to be the quickest though I do prefer to make final cuts with a hot knife.
    Zip 1 (Large).jpeg
    2) Install the zipper slider a short way
    Zip 2 (Large).jpeg
    3) Pull the closed section zipper behind the slider apart, install a second slider in the same direction as the first & ensuring that the teeth line up with the first slider & the zip isn't puckered.
    Zip 3 (Large).jpeg
    4) Run the first slider off the end of the tape, both ends of the zipper are now closed.
    Zip 4 (Large).jpeg
    5) To ensure the closed ends don’t part I normally either hand stitch loops around the teeth or stitch a piece of gross grain across the zip tape. Another variation I’ve used on pack pockets with stiff #5 waterproof zips is to stitch a 20mm wide gross grain stopper about 10mm across the end of the zip tape & then sew the gross grain into the seam.
    Zip 9 (Large).jpeg

    Single slider one closed end one open, typical shelter doorway.

    Same process as above but the open end needs to be finished to stop the slider coming off the end. There are proprietary metal zip stops but I find it easiest to cut the zip tape slightly overlength, then cut through the tape (not teeth) at the stop position with a hot knife, folding over at 90 degs & stitching down gives an effective stop & some wiggle room for inserting a replacement slider down the line. This detail is often hidden in the seam.
    Zip 8 (Large).jpeg

    Double slider closed ends

    Prep & install first slider as 1) & 2) above, run the slider to near the other end of the tape. Prep the end of the tape (cut off teeth) & insert the second slider facing the first ensuring that the teeth line up.
    Zip 5 (Large).jpeg
    Lock the ends of the zipper.

    Double slider open ends

    Prep & install first slider as 1) & 2) above, position first slider right at the end of the zipper teeth.
    Zip 6 (Large).jpeg
    Install the second slider backwards & using it push the first slider down to engage the second slider with the teeth.
    Zip 7 (Large).jpeg
    Finish the open end(s) as photo above.

    For something like a shelter door way I’d personally first install 2 sliders in the same direction. Run the first slider off the top end of the zipper to close the teeth & lock it with stitches or grosgrain. Then reinstall the slider to the other end ‘backwards’.
    Last edited: May 30, 2019
  2. OneBeardedWalker

    OneBeardedWalker Trail Blazer

    What a brilliant and generous post. Much obliged, as I'm sure many others are too.
  3. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    This will be very useful - I've had a few "run-ins" with recalcitrant zips.
    Thank you very much :thumbsup:.
  4. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    I found practising the various configurations with standard #3 zipper worthwhile, floppy tape & small sliders; after that the heavier zips are easy.
    cathyjc likes this.
  5. MartinK9

    MartinK9 Section Hiker

    Great tutorial, many thanks for sharing. :)
  6. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    Like @Whiteburn, I find that cutting the zip tape with a few inches to spare so that you can have the zipper pull out of the way when stitching really makes things simpler.
  7. Dave V

    Dave V Moderator Staff Member

    Super post :thumbsup:

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