How To Fix a Broken Zipper Easily


Dresses, skirts, and pants with broken zippers are unwearable, but not un-fixable. Instead of throwing away your garment, there are ways to repair a broken zipper or replace it with a new one. Read on to find out how to fix a broken zipper.

1) You will need the following:

  • Tools: needle, sewing scissors, straight pins, seam ripper, needle-nosed pliers, a sewing machine
  • Materials: thread, zipper of similar size or replacement zipper, safety pin
  • Time: it will take five to ten minutes to repair a zipper, and half an hour to an hour to replace it

2) Before you replace the zipper, look at it carefully and see if it can still be repaired. If a tooth is broken or missing in the upper part of the zipper, the zipper needs replacing. If the tooth is missing near the bottom of the zipper, zip the zipper up so the slider is positioned above the damage. Thread the needle and stitch around both rows of teeth right above the missing tooth. This is the new stop for the slider. To make sure that it's on firmly, stitch over the new stop a couple of times.

3) If the pull tab of the zipper is missing, see if the slider has a hole where the pull tab used to be. If there is, slip a small safety pin through the hole as the substitute for the pull tab. If there isn't a hole, try to get a clamp-on pull tab from a zipper of a similar size. You can put the tab on using a pair of needle-nosed pliers.

4) If the slider got moved off the track, use the seam ripper to carefully remove the stitching on the lower end of the zipper tape. Remove the metal stop at the bottom of the zipper, but don't remove the tapes. Take off the zipper foot, then move the track tapes onto the slider grooves. Insert these through the top and push them to the bottom. If you have to, use a pin to move the track tapes through. When the two tapes are threaded through the slider, pull the slider upwards until you see the locked teeth in the bottom. Make sure the slider is evenly positioned, otherwise the zipper won't close evenly. Using the needle and thread, sew a new stop at the bottom. Finally, re-stitch the area that holds the zipper to the garment.

5) If the zipper is damaged beyond repair, you will need to replace it. However, you will need a sewing machine for this. Using the seam ripper, remove the stitching that held the old zipper into place. Make note of how the old zipper was put in and what kind of stitches were made. Pants zippers, for instance, use several lines of stitching.

Zipper packages usually come with instructions; if this is your first time sewing a zipper on, you can follow these instructions.  Using pins, position the new zipper into place and sew it the way the old zipper was sewn.  Make sure you use the zipper foot.


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