How to use Zippers by the Yard


There’s been a new edition to the website that I’m thrilled to present – metal-look, nylon zippers by the yard.  You can find them here on the zipper page.  They come in 3 tape colors (Black, White, Light Gray) and 5 teeth colors (Silver, Gunmetal, Antique Brass, Gold & Rose Gold).  What I love about these is that you get the look of metal zippers (which I love) but the ease of sewing with nylon (which I love even more!).  Metal zippers are beautiful but they can be a bit intimidating if you’re new to using them.

Working with zipper by the yard is not as hard as you may think.  It’s nice because you’ll always have the size you need since you can cut them to any size needed for a project.  Below are some tips for working with them and adding the pulls.  Remember, sometimes having a third hand can be helpful so if you have an extra hand around (like a friend or spouse) that can be super helpful.  And it gets easier with practice!


Each set of zipper tape (1 yard or 3 yards) comes with separate pulls – 4 per yard of tape.  Always start with a nice clean, straight end.


Begin by cutting to the size needed.  I always cut about 1″ longer than needed which you’ll understand why in a couple steps.  Separate just a bit so you can add the slide.


The pull has a wider end and a narrower end.  You will insert the teeth into the wider end.

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Begin by inserting one side of the teeth at a time, just a few teeth.  Insert a few teeth on the left and then a few on the right. You want to make sure you have the tape in the narrow ridge along the side of the pull.


Place 2 fingers on the tape to hold it in place and use your other hand to slide/wiggle the pull into place.  Be patient with yourself!  This is where that third hand comes in handy 😉


Once the pull is on you may see a bubble in the tape. This is caused by the teeth not being perfectly in line when the pull was added and it’s totally normal. It’s also why I cut the zipper a bit longer so I can trim it. I slide the pull all the way to the other end and then open it a bit so I can trim the end straight.

For recessed zipper purse tops you will need to close up the end so you don’t lose the pull (since you don’t have the metal stopped that you would normally have).  I used a scrap of cork to finish mine and I really like how it came out.  The zipper tape is about 1.25″ wide so I cut my cork a little wider and about double in length – 1.5″ x 2″.  I folded it over the end, clipped in place and stitched it about 1/8″ from the edge.  The cork doesn’t fray so no need to finish the edges!


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Cork strip cut 1.5″ x 2″

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Fold in half over the end and clip in place.

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Stitch in place approx. 1/8″ around the edges. I used my favorite Janome G foot.  With my needle in the far left position (0) I can stitch a nice 1/8″ seam with the guide.  This is what I refer to as my handle foot!  Most machines have one – look for a stitch in the ditch, edge joining or blind hem foot with a center metal guide.


Voila!  A finished zipper!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  Feel free to email me if you have any questions!

Happy Sewing 🙂





























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