How many times have you lost a zipper pull on your luggage — one of those little dangly bits that makes the zipper easier to spot and grasp? Probably more than once, and you probably just shrugged when you discovered it was missing.
After collecting zipper pulls for years, one creative Southwest Airlines worker turned those tiny accessory parts into something lovely: a swingy, sparkly dress worthy of a fashion house.
Using only her first name, Valerie, Southwest took to Twitter to share the story of her ingenious frock.
This dress was handmade by Valerie, one of our Employees in Phoenix who does seamstress work on the side. Valerie offered to donate the dress, which is now on display at our corporate headquarters! pic.twitter.com/miQh6BLJp0
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) October 30, 2021
In a statement to Travel and Leisure, Valerie shared more about the dress.
“When I started with Southwest in 2011 and was picking up several zipper pulls every day, I announced to my coworkers that I was going to do something with them,” she said. “At first I was thinking something small, but then I settled on a dress.”
Valerie works as a Southwest ramp agent — one of the folks who helps guide planes in and out of gates and assists with luggage — so she probably sees the little guys everywhere.
She picked up a dress at a thrift store and got to work. Because of the pulls’ weight, she chose a well-made dress and used fishing line to sew them on.
Valerie took special care in keeping the pulls similar in size and shape within each line. And there are two cool sunburst designs — made with zipper pulls, of course — on the back of the dress, for added pizzazz.
“The challenge was sewing them on in a straight, even line since fabric moves and stretches,” said Valerie, who learned how to sew from her grandmother.
This feel-good tidbit comes at an opportune time for Southwest, as the airline’s had a run of bad press. A rash of canceled flights in October sent travelers reeling, and a recent report of a Southwest pilot using a controversial political slogan angered some passengers.
In any case, this is a cute story. And a cute dress!