Zippers by the Yard Tutorial

How to Use Zippers by the Yard Tutorial

zippers by the yard

The biggest fear people have with zippers by the yard is either putting on the zipper pulls, or they're afraid of cutting the length they need.

Is that you?

If so, take a moment to check out my tutorial on how to use zippers by the yard! It will be extremely helpful for you! If that's not you, check it out anyway because you might pick up a few tips! ;)

Also, I've created a FREE video and printable for you for working with zippers by the yard, which can be downloaded here. Be sure to download a copy of the printable to keep handy in your sewing room!

So, let's get started!

If you're using Sallie Tomato Zippers by the Yard, you'll receive a package of three yards of zipper tape and nine pulls. The pulls will be sealed separately, so you can add them to the tape as needed.

zippers by the yard

First of all, it's very important that you truly understand the components of a zipper because it will be easier to use!  If you look at the zipper slider, there’s a rounded end with two openings (shown left) and a flat end with only one opening (shown right).  Keep this in mind, because it will be important later on.

zippers by the yard

There’s also a right side and a wrong side to a slider. The right side (shown left) will have the pull tab, which is the part that you hold to move the slider up or down. The wrong side (shown right) often has a few numbers or letters on it to indicate the size or manufacturer.

zippers by the yard

Now, if we look at the zipper tape, you’ll notice that there’s about 1” of fabric on each end.  This will help you put the pulls on because it’s a lot easier to put the zipper pulls onto the fabric, than directly onto the teeth.  But don’t worry - if you have a piece of zipper where you need to put the pull directly onto the teeth, it's just as easy with a bit of practice.

zippers by the yard

Another important thing to notice about your zipper tape is there’s also a right side and a wrong side. The right side (shown left) of the zipper tape will have the nylon coil, which can also be called teeth or zipper chain. The wrong side (shown right) of the zipper tape will just be fabric.  It should be flat, and you can see the stitching that’s holding the teeth in place.

zippers by the yard

So, now that you’re familiar with the components, you're ready to add a zipper pull onto your zipper by the yard!  Start by taking your zipper tape, with the right side up, and separate one end so you’ll have two sides of zipper chain.

zippers by the yard

Then, take your pull, with the right side up, and simply insert each side of the zipper tape into the ROUNDED end of the pull, with TWO openings.  There’s one side of the zipper for each side of the pull.

zippers by the yard

Because these are size #5 zippers, meaning the coil is quite large, you may have to guide each side of the zipper chain into each hole to help with the next step.

zippers by the yard

While the pull is still on the fabric, line up the fabric ends so they are even, and slide the pull onto the tape.  Tah-dah! You've added your first zipper pull onto zipper by the yard!

zippers by the yard

Please don’t be discouraged if your coil doesn’t line up perfectly on the first try!  With a bit of practice, you’ll realize just how easy zippers by the yard are to use!

Now that your pull is on the tape, I’ll explain how to finish making your zipper. Since it’s easiest to put the pulls directly onto the fabric, I’d recommend to save one end for putting pulls on, and always cut from the OPPOSITE end. So, slide your pull all the way to the opposite end of your tape.

zippers by the yard

If you wanted to make a double slide zipper, where the pulls meet in the middle (like you would see on a piece of luggage), now would be the time because there is still fabric on BOTH ends.  You haven’t cut anything yet, so you could add a pull on from the opposite end.

Now, mark the desired length of your zipper. Take your ruler and mark the length you need, measuring from the end of the teeth.  Also mark 1/2” beyond your desired length. These two marks will be your stitching lines which will be your new zipper stops (preventing the pull from sliding off).

zippers by the yard

Now, take your zipper over to your sewing machine and stitch along the lines you just marked.  Since Sallie Tomato Zippers have a nylon coil, you can sew directly over the zipper without breaking a needle. However, just as a precaution, it’s always a good idea to sit back and sew slowly.  I like to sew across the tape from edge to edge, then back stitch all the way to the edge for reinforcement.

zippers by the yard

Here is what your zipper should look like after sewing. After sewing, take your scissors, or a rotary cutter, and cut in between your stitch lines.

zippers by the yard

Then, your zipper is ready to use and you can go on to make the next one, using the same steps as before!

zippers by the yard

Still need help with zippers by the yard? Watch the video tutorial HERE!

What’s unique about Sallie Tomato Zippers by the Yard is they appear to look like metal, but they actually aren’t! These zippers have a nylon coil with a metallic finish, which makes them easy to cut and sew. Choose from five coil colors to match your purse hardware: nickel, light gold, antique, gunmetal, and rose gold. Also, choose from a variety of tape colors to coordinate with your fabric!

zippers by the yard

I hope you enjoy the tutorial and conquer your fear of zippers by the yard! If you need inspiration, head on over to my Facebook Group to see what everyone is making with Sallie Tomato Zippers by the Yard!

Jess from Sallie Tomato


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  • Diane Vircks

    I just peeked at your website. How is it that I have missed you this entire time!? Oh my, well you are book marked now.

  • Diane Vircks

    Thank you! I have been avoiding these bulk zippers, but recently can’t find the #5 zippers I need. So I bit the bullet and bought a roll. Then I could not get the zipper started, so I searched the web, and here you are, with the answers I needed!

  • Katherine Rose

    You did not explain how to get pills on when there is no 1" of fabric at the end. I’m working with Sallie tomatoes carry along kit

  • Victoria Severson

    Very helpful. But how do we start the next zipper?

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