When I was first getting started, I wanted to minimize costs wherever I could. Thrift stores were a gold mine of sewing notions. Not only were the prices low, it was a way to reuse discarded materials--perfect for my business goals!
Bear with the grainy iPhone pics. It was late at night, it has been raining for days, and taking photos of anything sewing-related is a challenge during a New England winter.
You might find single zippers still in packages, or bags of 10 mismatched colors/sizes lumped together for $1.
Thrifted zippers, I learned, are often quite old. Many are filled with metal, unlike their modern counterparts. Metal zippers are useful, but that metal can lead to nasty crashes with your machine needle if you make a mistake. Plus, you don't know how much the product has degraded sitting on a dusty/sunny shelf in someone's studio for decades.
Buying in bulk from eBay has its own issues. You get a great price per zipper (maybe 1/10th the cost of new ones), but you rarely get choice. This was part of a lot of 200 zippers that ranged in size from 4-22" long in a rainbow of colors. No packaging meant unknown manufacturing, age and origin.
I've settled on a specific type and color of zipper for all of my Dancing Threads products. I also now only buy new ones from a reputable Etsy seller. They cost a bit more, but the reliability of the zipper itself is more important to me at this stage in my business practices. What to do with this old pile 'o zippers?
Image via Pinterest from http://emptynesterreviews.com/.
So I started playing.
I got this far and decided I didn't like the pink and would stick with blue, black and red.
That's better. Then I keep playing to see where this is going because I'm curious. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it at this point.
An idea starts to form. I make a large rectangular weave and secure it all around the edges with half a zillion straight pins. If I don't, it will fall apart when I try to move it. Not like that happened at first or anything...
Now what??? Stitching the perimeter so I can ditch the pins sounds like a good place to start.
I joined them with black thread to hold everything relatively together.
Because I'm working with, essentially, zipper "fabric" at this point, I used a denim needle in my machine.
And that's as far as I got. I have a few different ideas, but I'm setting it aside for now until I explore a few more options.
Playing, I mean recycling, can be a lot of fun, and a great way to get your creative groove on!
As co-owner of Stitchery in Portsmouth, RI, I teach sewing classes to children and adults. Welcome to my blog Dancing Threads RI.