This is one of my all-time favorite DIYs. Because I should have titled this post “A DIY for short girls who like to wear skinny jeans.” These heels (which I love) made a rare appearance for photos because I am normally in one of my 57 pairs of flats. And I hate when my jeans bunch up at the ankles. If your are 5’3″ or under, I know you know what I’m talking about. Yes, you could get them tailored but isn’t a zipper way more fun?
How to Add a Zipper to Your Jeans and Avoid Sewing
What you’ll need:
- A pair of jeans (these are the ones I used)
- 2 5-inch zippers
- Fabric fuse tape
- Seam ripper
First lay out the zipper on the outside seam of the pants. The end of the zipper should be at the very bottom of the jeans. Then make a mark at the top end of the zipper so you know how far to rip the seam.
Then rip away! But don’t get too carried away – as you get close to the mark check the fit of the zipper.
Apply the tape to both sides of the top of the zipper. One thing I learned is that you want to cut off the extra tape width if its wider than the zipper. So trim any overhang before you peel off the top white part.
Carefully attach the zipper with the tape to both pant legs.
If you accidentally rip the seams too high (like I did on one side) stick a bit more of the tape at the top of the zipper to hold it together.
I haven’t washed my jeans because I’m one of those lazy people who washes jeans every other month or so. It’s gross, I know. But I’ve worn them at least a dozen times and they’ve held up great.
Edit: It’s now June and the zippers are still going strong. I’ve washed the jeans several times (regular washing & drying cycles), and the tape is holding up perfectly!59
I know that it is the practice of our culture to wash everything everyday and I won’t say that I know better for others. I wash only when items smell like they need it, I check. There was a young woman who volunteered in Napal the summer after she graduated. When she returned we at our fellowship were eager to listen to her stories about collecting orphans from many miles away and the fun she had caring for them. She was proud of herself. I however was struck by something she said as an aside more than anything else. She said do you realize that we bathe in drinking water? We flush our toilets with drinking water. We wash our clothes etc. Since hearing that I am very conscious of the water I use. I had always thought I was conserving water since reading the book Dune I was wrong. I conserve more now and it may not bring water to the people that need it but I believe it helps however slightly.
I do not smell bad waiting to wash, hair, clothes, towels and myself only when dirty.
Holy cow I think you just saved my pants… My favorite capris are about 5″ too long to be comfortable in the heat. They’re tapered so rolling is not an option and but I didn’t want to chop them as they’re styled well. A zipper in the side will open them up for air when walking about in Florida heat and humidity in July, but I can still close them back down for the normal New England summers.
Before anyone comments that I should just wear shorts or a skirt: I’ve inherited the bad veins from my Grandmother. I just feel better staying covered.
Quick update: The new sew option is okay, but will not hold up in the heat/humidity of Florida summers. Some sewing is required to strengthen the ‘new’ edges and the connection to the zipper.
I will say, when sewn appropriately, with a no show zipper in the same color, it’s hard to tell the zipper is there at all when zipped closed.
Still very thankful for this thread. I was debating destroying my capris until I read it.
I’m a seasoned seamstress (very experienced home sewer) of 35 yrs. Even for me this is a great idea. You don’t always feel like setting up your machine, filling a bobbin with the needed color thread, and more – especially for a small project like this. This has also reminded me that many smaller, tedious sewing projects can be simplified by using these tapes, fabric glues, etc. It’s not cheating! Go for it!
And btw, I LOVE the haircut you have in this photo! It’s awesome! If I could find someone I could trust to give me this cut I would walk away from long hair.
Lynn, you made my day! :) And just fyi, I was wearing these jeans on Sunday and thought, those zippers are still going strong!
pinky sade says
PS: What stuff would you recommend to buy for all these no-sew projects? Fabric fuse tape, liquid stitch… what else? You’re awesome, thanks!
pinky sade says
You are a genius!!! This is sooo awesome. I have a pair of skinnies that fit nicely once worn, but it’s kinda tough to get my feet thru (think I have big feet). This will def solve that problem. Plus, it’ll look more stylish. Thanks so much!
Love this idea – because I always have to hem my pants! Do you think iron stitch witchery would work? I mean it holds corduroy and jean hems together so do you think it would work on this project?
I almost went that route but the ladies at JoAnn’s sewing dept said the tape was a better bet. But I would think the iron on version would work too.
Wonder how these would work for a 6 footer like myself. It sure is a great look.
I’m tall, too, just two inches shorter than you. I’ve had zip leg pants & I think they look better on tall women. Sorry, ladies, it’s just my opinion. I’m older now but I had them a few decades ago, same concept, same process, only there wasn’t the convenience of tape like this.
Go for it, you won’t regret it. Make sure you wear heels, too!
Way to score one for the “petite posse”! Thanks to your brilliant idea I shall never have to walk on/ruin the hem of my jeans again!
Where did you get this idea? Amazing there’s no sewing required! These are very cool, well done again sis :)
Jen @ Cuddles and Chaos says
This is awesome! I’m totally going to try it.
i am going to have to try this
Claire @ Claire K Creations says
Love that there’s no sewing involved but that was my question about the washing. I guess it’s an excuse not to wash?
Totally! I’m going to wash on delicate and air dry … when I get around to washing :)
I use this double stick tape for costumes all the time! It stays incredibly well. I actually still have some on a costume from a show over a year ago and I just toss it in the washer and dryer when I need to.
Thanks for the info Mel! Maybe now I can wash my jeans :)
Angie@Angie's Recipes says
A great idea! And it’s really cool that you don’t even have to sew it!
I’m 5″1…so sad, i know. I look forward to zip jeans!
I totally feel your pain Francesca! My pants are always too long!
I love jeans with zippers on the bottom. So fun to make your own!
I love that you don’t have to sew it! I haven’t worn jeans with ankle zippers since they were popular back in elementary school!
Tonia, you sound like you were quite the fashionista back in school!
Anne @ Domesblissity says
Oh, you’re so clever and check out those shoes! I love them.
Great idea!! The jeans look fantastic too! I bet this would be great on kid pants with colored zippers too! -Jen
Oh, that is a fun idea! There are so many colorful zippers to choose from.