Measure twice—cut once. The sign of a good crafter is in the precision of their work, and the same is true with fasteners. One of the trickiest items to sew, zippers require careful measuring. Your jacket may not fit quite right, and your backpack might not close properly if the zipper is too long or too short. Understanding the ways to measure zipper lengths correctly is essential, whether you’re creating something from scratch or making a repair. Even if you measure multiple times, you must know what you’re doing with zippers.
Figuring out the length of a zipper is different from its gauge. Still, we’ll discuss how to determine both, so you’ll always get the right ones for your repair or project. While measuring zippers is simple, it’s not necessarily common sense. Use this guide to help you determine the size you need.
Determine the size of a zipper by measuring its length. Zippers come in various lengths to accommodate different projects and needs. To measure a zipper, close the teeth for an accurate size. How you measure a zipper depends on which type it is.
Also known as closed-end zippers, these are standard fasteners used for backpacks, purses, and tents. What makes them closed bottom zippers is that they have top and bottom stops sewn into the tape. This prevents the fastener from coming undone and keeps the slider on the chain.
To find the length, measure from the top stop to the bottom stop. Though the zipper will have excess pieces of tape on the ends, you only want to measure the components of the chain. It helps to lay the zipper flat while measuring.
Used on coats, jackets, and hoodies, these zippers are also known as separating or open-end zippers. Instead of a bottom stop, they have a box and insertion pin. The box prevents the slider from coming off the chain, and the insertion pin allows you to start the zipper and release it so you can separate the fastener.
To measure these types of zippers, pay attention to the space between the top stop and the box with the insertion pin. Your separating zipper may have a left or right insertion pin depending on which way you want it to open. These fasteners also have extra tape at the top and bottom. It helps when sewing the item into clothing.
Chains come in standard lengths to make your projects easier. Common sizes range from seven to 22 inches. You can also find lengths of zippers by the yard. Cut these chains to size for any project.
It’s possible to shorten a zipper if yours is too long. To shorten a zipper, you can cut between the teeth. Sear the edges of the tape with a match or candle to prevent them from unraveling. Next, you’ll need to reattach the stops to the end of the tape from the piece you cut off. You can either stitch that portion of the zipper onto your properly sized one or crimp the pieces in place one by one.
In addition to length, it’s important to know the gauge of a zipper when determining the size. Gauge refers to the width of the teeth and may determine the quality of the fastener and product it’s attached to. Thicker zippers are typically more durable; they work well with sturdy clothing and materials. Though zippers with a higher gauge tend to be made of strong materials like metal, smaller ones are typically flexible because they’re made from quality plastic.
To find out how wide a zipper is, measure it with the teeth closed. Typically, you’ll measure in millimeters. Using a ruler or measuring tape, measure from left to right across the teeth. You may also find the gauge by looking on the back of the slider. Common zipper widths include #3, #3.5, #5, and #7.
The purpose of a zipper is to fasten an item and keep it closed. If your zipper isn’t long enough, it may not perform its function. You want to measure properly when working with zippers to ensure you use the right length. In addition to measuring the zipper, measure the space where you plan to insert your fastener, so you know which size you need.
You may measure zippers to make clothing or repair them. Either way, you’ll want to keep them clean, so you don’t have to replace them time and time again. The best ways to keep zippers in good condition include:
Check descriptions when ordering zippers to ensure you get what you need. The best places to find full chains of various sizes are craft stores and online retailers. If you are repairing an item, use the opportunity to make your zipper stronger.
For instance, if your slider or pull-tab breaks, replace it using a zipper repair kit from FixNZip. The durable replacement slider is made of nickel and easy to use. Simply open the thumbscrew and place the tab over the chain. Next, tighten it enough that it will glide and close the teeth. This unique zipper kit comes in various sizes to accommodate any gauge or chain.
Whether you’re repairing clothing or making something new, you’ll need to measure. Know the ways to measure zipper lengths correctly to avoid mistakes. It’s common to order the wrong size because you mismeasured. To find the length of a zipper, you’ll just measure the metal or plastic portion. Don’t include the excess tape at the ends or you’ll end up back at the craft store. The gauge is just as important as the length. Ensure you’re using quality zippers when you pay attention to the width and material. Lastly, maintain your zippers so you don’t have to keep repairing them. Keep a repair kit around so you never have to stress about a broken zipper again!