Zipper repair is something that most of us haven’t given a lot of thought to. We often take zippers for granted, and only once they break do we realize what a difference they make in our lives!
What happens when a zipper is broken? Well, you have at least a couple of choices. One is to get rid of the garment or item. Not so fast though – don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater! Sometimes when a zipper breaks, all the garment needs is its zipper repaired, and it’s good as new, saving you the expense of replacing it.Situations That Call For Zipper Repair
How do you repair a zipper? It depends on your specific situation. Here are a few situations that would involve zipper repair and what you can do about them:
- Broken zipper slider only
- Zipper retainer box and/or pin is broken
- Zipper tooth is bent or missing, so the zipper no longer zips properly
- Broken zipper slider only
A zipper slider is the little metal piece that moves up and down the tracks (sometimes customers refer to it as a “car”).
Maybe the pull tab has fallen off the slider. If just the pull tab has fallen off, then if there is still a metal loop, you can feed a ribbon or elastic tie through the loop and use it as a makeshift pull.
If that isn’t going to work for you, or if the slider body itself is busted, then you should replace the zipper slider. You will need to know which replacement zipper slider to use. We have a handy guide that walks you through the steps to identify and order your replacement zipper slider.
With a new zipper slider in hand, and ideally a new top stop as well, you can swap out the zipper slider. Remove the original zipper top stop if there is one. If the zipper is sewn into the top of the garment, bag, etc, then you will likely need to rip the seam to expose the top of the zipper. Slide the old broken slider off the zipper tape. Slide the new slider onto the zipper tape. Then attach a new top stop and/or stitch the top of the zipper back in. Your zipper repair is complete!
2. Zipper retainer box and/or pin is broken
Jacket zippers have two important pieces of hardware at the bottom – a retainer box on one side and insertion pin on the other. If either of these parts is broken or missing, then your zipper repair will require a full zipper replacement.
Find a good replacement zipper that is similar to the zipper you will be removing. If you aren’t familiar with all the types of zippers out there, check our Guide to Ordering Zippers, which will walk you through the steps to identify your perfect replacement zipper for your zipper repair.
Once you have your new zipper, the zipper replacement can begin in earnest. Use a seam ripper to rip out the old zipper. Sew the new zipper in, and ideally you will enjoy the garment for years to come!
3. Zipper tooth is bent or missing, so the zipper no longer zips properly
If a zipper tooth is bent, broken, or missing, then you have a busted zipper. This is another case that calls for a full zipper replacement. As with case #2, find a zipper that can take the place of the original zipper. You can look for an exact replacement, or if you prefer to upgrade the zipper you could go for something a little heavier-duty, and even a different kind of zipper teeth. For instance, if a medium weight #5 molded plastic zipper had a tooth break off, you might want to replace it with a new zipper that is a larger gauge like a #8 or #10 or even a different style of zipper teeth, like metal.
Similar to case #2, once you have your replacement zipper, rip out the old zipper and sew in the new one. Once you’ve done the zipper repair, hopefully your garment will serve you for many more years!