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Made by Me Monday – Change a Zipper Pull {tutorial}

2013 July 1

Happy Canada Day to all the Canadians out there! We are relaxing by the pool today and having friends over. Hooray for holidays!

I’ve never been happy with how small the zipper pull tab is on the regular zippers that you can buy at your local fabric store. Kids have a hard time pulling on them when I’ve used zippers on backpacks and pencil cases and the results don’t look as polished on clutches and bags.

The idea started when I was finishing a few things from last week’s list. I was working on the Gathered Clutch (Noodlehead tutorial here) that I was making for a teacher gift. I love how the strap on my own clutch attaches to the zipper – so I  began thinking about how I could duplicate it. At first I thought I could add a jump ring to the original zipper pull… but wouldn’t it be better if the pull wasn’t there at all?!

Thanks to Google (gotta love it!) I found a tutorial on You SEW Girl that explains how to change the zipper pull on any zipper. She uses the wire cutting blades on a pair of pliers to remove the pull – why didn’t I think of that?! A trip to Michaels for some circular findings and a stashed swivel clip later I was good to go.

Now that I had changed one zipper pull I had to change another! The second teacher gift was an Open Wide Zippered Pouch with an iron-on vinyl covered lining. I clipped the pull right off of the zipper and sewed myself a new one. Hooray, so much better! I have to say I’m a bit addicted to this now and might be adding zippers to everything, just so I can change the pull. I love how it turns out!

Want to try it? Here is a quick tutorial on how to change a zipper pull. I will be posting how to add a wrist strap to the Gathered Clutch later this week.

Changing a Zipper Pull

You will need:

  • two scraps of fabric for the pull – I used 2″ x 3″
  • a zipper
  • jump rings (chain findings) in two sizes – from the jewellery section of your local craft store (mine were 1/4″ and 1/2″)
  • needle-nose pliers
  • school glue stick
  • fabric pen
Here we go:

(1) Cut the original pull tab from your zipper using the pliers (see this tutorial from You SEW Girl). (2) Pull away the small piece that is left. (3) Open a small jump ring using pliers and fit it onto the slider. (4) Attach a large jump ring to the smaller one. (5) Close the small jump ring using pliers. (6) You should have the pieces pictured.

(7) Place your fabric right sides together and fold in half so the short ends are touching. (8) Measure 1/2″ in on each side of the folded edge, Draw two diagonal lines to the raw edge corners. (9) Fold over all 4 short ends by 1/4″ and glue them down. (10) Cut along the diagonal lines. (11) Stitch along the diagonal lines with a 1/4″ seam allowance, pivot at the fold. (12) Grade the seam and clip the corners close to the stitching.

(13) Turn the Zipper Pull inside out, press, top-stitch the ends closed with a small seam allowance. (14) Wrap the Zipper Pull around the large jump ring on your zipper. (15) Unzip the zipper and stitch it on close to the jump ring. It is easiest to use a zipper foot. (16) All done!

Look at how great your new zipper pull is! And I”m sure you can think of so many more possibilities!

Come on back later this week for a tutorial on adding a strap and swivel clip to a Gathered Clutch.

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10 Responses leave one →
  1. July 1, 2013

    Super idea! Will have to file that one for use one day!
    Really gives a project that extra touch!

    • July 2, 2013

      Thanks Esmari! Glad you like it. I tried to sound sensible while writing the post – but I think I might turn into a zipper pull geek!

  2. July 11, 2013

    Last summer I was on a zipper clutch sewing kick. I couldn’t get enough of them.
    Dorienne Fairbanks recently posted… Les Amis Sweet Owlies is in the shopMy Profile

    • July 11, 2013

      Nice! I’ve been on a Noodlehead Open Wide Pouch kick – seems like it is a great gift for pretty well anyone! I think I’ve made 6 or 7 in the last month alone…

  3. Julia Smith permalink
    June 29, 2016

    Thanks I was looking for something like this to make the zippers on my sale bags better. Will try it on my own bag first. :)

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