03 November 2013

Moto Jacket Update: Zippers...Argh!

Note to self:  aluminum is not the same as nickel.  Yep.  It says so right there on the old periodic table.  When the metals are used for zipper teeth, the difference is more than obvious:  it's "one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-others obvious.  I don't know if you can see the difference, but I can and it annoys me.  Sigh. 

So what are my options?  First, the aluminum zipper is staying in.  It took me FOUR tries just to sew the zipper stop at the top.  After I finally got that on, I installed the zipper and topstitched it in place.  This is my first time installing a separating zipper and I am quite pleased with the final result.  I am not unpicking that shit. 

I've given some thought to what else I could do to make this jacket happen:

Option 1 - Order two more 24" zippers from Wawak and shorten them to the lengths required for the pockets and sleeves (which is 6").  I've never added a pull tab or metal stops to an already-existing zipper, so this will be new to me.  In addition to buying more zippers, I would also have to get zipper tops, bottoms, pull tabs, and pliers and then watch YouTube videos to see how to put these things on.

Wawak has a shorter 10" aluminum zipper made for slipcovers and pillows, but the zipper tape only comes in natural.  Yeah, like pillows can't be any other color than natural.  SMH

Option 2 - Try to order the zippers from Zipperstop.  The reason I didn't order from them in the first place is because the only two zipper tape colors they had were black and navy.  There's a note that says any other color requires a minimum 50-unit order.  I will call them to see if they would be willing to make an exception.  If not, then this option isn't happening.  What am I going to do with 50 6" aluminum zippers?  Exactly.

Option 3 - Try Joann's or my other local fabric store.  I doubt Joann's will have what I'm looking for; that's why I didn't go there in the first place.  I will call the local fabric store to see if they have what I need.  Their zipper supply is pretty thin, so I'm not too optimistic.

Option 4 - Skip the zippers on the sleeves and pockets altogether and save that idea for the second version of this pattern.

If option 2 doesn't work out, then I'll probably just proceed with option 4.  I really don't feel like building a zipper from scratch.  It's a shame, too.  This jacket would have been totally bad-ass with all the shiny metal.  The aluminum just goes with the grey denim.  It really does.  Now the jacket just looks pitiful.

I have light blue denim that I was going to use to make another pair of jeans.  I think this fabric will make a cute moto jacket with brass zipper teeth.  For now, it looks like version one will be plain and simple.



  1. The 6" zippers don't need to separate, right? So I'm not sure why you need to install tops, tabs, etc. If I'm correct, then Option 5 could be just whipstitch a "stop" in place at the desired length and use pliers to pull off the unneeded teeth for an inch, and then cut the now-naked zipper tape with scissors. No, it's not perfect but really, no one is going to be THAT close to your zipper ends to call you on it (or even know what they're looking for). The overall look will be matching zips in the expected spots and that's what others will see.

    1. D'oh! Why didn't I think of that? You're right; the zippers on the pockets don't need stops on the bottom or top since the zipper opening will prevent the tab from being pulled off. The zippers on the sleeves do need top stops, though. I can either buy the metal stops or, as you said, whipstitch a stop in place. I've done this before on nylon zippers, so I shouldn't have a problem doing it with metal ones.

      I called Zipperstop today and told them what I was looking for. The lady with whom I spoke said that if I sent her a sample, she would see if it can be matched and give me a call. If this doesn't work, then Option 5 definitely looks doable. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting.

  2. What about calling Pacific Trimming and see if they've got what you want and if they'll cut them for you?

    If you really don't like the Aluminum zipper then maybe you should replace it with a nickel one. I know you put a lot of time in the the aluminum one, but if you don't like it now, I don't think you'll like it once the whole jacket is put together.

    Although, time in the magic closet might help...

    Hang in there!

    1. I went to their website when you first suggested Pacific, but I didn't see how to order what I was looking for. Duh. I didn't think of calling them. Hah. My mind works (or doesn't?) in strange ways.

      The thing is, I really like the aluminum zipper - much more than the nickel ones. If I use the nickel zippers, I'd still be in the same place now as I'd have to find a 20" nickel zipper for the front.

      The jacket is on my dress form now. There's nothing for me to do with it until I find a solution to the zipper issue. For now, I'll work on the mystery project. Muaahahaha

  3. The aluminum zip is gorgeous. I haven't done anything like take zips to bits - but it doesn't look fun in the chapter in my big sewing book. I like Debbie's suggestion about shortening from the other end. Kyle makes a good point too. I nearly ditched something the other day, and it is now retrieved, finished and looking good for what it is. Time out works - don't overthink the matter - and I am sure the solution will work.

  4. So, this whole issue reminds me yet again that I must plan for big projects. I do exactly this--->get an image of what I want exactly, and then struggle to find the notions. I hope you can adjust to the aluminum zipper as I know picking it out and reinstalling another metal would be a pain. I love the look of the aluminum! Is it lighter than the nickel?

  5. The aluminum zipper is beautiful. I hope one of the options makes you happy and loving your new jacket!


Thanks for commenting! I appreciate and read them all - even if I can not personally respond.


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