I mentioned in my last post that I would tell you what I do with the bits of zipper that I cut off when I make little baggies with zippers longer than required for the size of the bag. I actually like the zipper to be quite a bit longer than the top edge of the baggie. At least 2 inches longer but if it is even longer than that, then I can open the zipper all the way and work with the baggie completely flat (see pic below). This makes the job a lot quicker and easier.

Inserting + Top stitching the zipper are so much easier when it all lies flat like this. I used a 20 inch zipper for a 9 inch (finished) bag.

OK – so I used to just toss those left over zipper bits away when I cut them off after sewing the first side seam. I NO LONGER do that as I discovered a great way to use up these left-overs.

    ZIPPER LEFT-OVERS:  remove the metal bit or simply cut it off.

 Peel apart the 2 halves of the zipper.

  Layer the 2 halves on top of each other, right sides UP, with the teeth down the edges. Pin just one pin. I hold & feed the rest into the machine as I go.

I usually thread up the needle with a decorative thread that contrasts with the zipper colour and a bobbin thread either the same colour as the top thread; OR same colour as the zipper.

I generally select a 7mm or 9mm wide decorative stitch. One of my favourites is the little star or daisy >>> Janome Horizon MC12000 Quilt Menu 2/5 screen. I adjusted the SL to 3.8

On the JANOME HORIZON 7700 this same stitch is Quilt menu #103. I did not adjust this as it is a 7mm stitch and is just fine as default.

Take care to choose the correct foot for this task: you want to be sure that the foot either fits between the 2 rows of “teeth”  or rides well & evenly on top of them. If not, you run the risk of the dec. stitching being uneven or distorted. I used the Acufeed Flex (narrow) foot (for the JANOME HORIZON MC12000) for this and it worked wonderfully. I have also used the Standard A foot with good results on other JANOME sewing machines such as the JANOME HORIZON 7700.

 There you have it: Zipper braid.

What can you use this for?

Often, when I make a bag that needs a pull loop/tag, I don’t have just the right colour of ribbon or tape in my stash. I could cut a piece of the bag fabric and make my own little loop. But I found that using the zipper ends was a neat way of having something to match 100% perfectly and also meant some zipper leftovers did NOT make their way to the landfill…….now that is a bonus!

Turquoise zipper tape with lilac dec stitching – matches the bag perfectly.

CAN YOU THINK OF OTHER USES FOR THIS ZIPPER BRAID? Send me a comment and I will share your suggestions. 

About lizafrica

I am the National Education Manager for Janome & Elna Canada (including Artistic Creative products) and I LOVE to sew! I have been employed full time in the sewing and quilting industry for almost 30 years so I bring a wealth of sewing knowledge & expertise to this blog. I enjoy all forms of sewing from quilting to sewing garments to machine embroidery and software. Pretty much everything in my life is seen through the eyes of a passionate sewer! I am constantly on the look out for fun, innovative and inspiring ideas to share with you all on this blog. I also love to read, knit , travel and spend time with my family and friends.
This entry was posted in Creativity, Decorative stitches, Horizon MC 12000, Horizon MC7700QCP, Janome Accessories, Janome Fun, Sewing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Tawna says:

    Thank you! I am making little triangle pouches to sell and found 12 in zippers for 1/2 the price of 5 in. So I will have a lot of scrap but now I dont have to buy ribbon for the loops!


    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Tawna,

      Wonderful! So glad you like the idea of recycling and using what we already have (and may have tossed in the garbage!)



  2. Andréia says:

    usually i do not write on blogs, but i would like to say that this article really convinced me to do so! congratulations, very nice post.http://www.boliche.com.br/email.htm


  3. Bridget says:

    what a great idea Liz. would never of thought of that.


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