How to Fix a Broken Zipper on Jeans

Are you wondering how to fix a broken zipper on jeans? Zippers are literally on everything, and when they break it’s pretty annoying. Maybe the broken zipper’s on an old fleece jacket you never wear, or on an old ratty sleepy bag — but when the zipper failure strikes a pair of your faithful jeans — emergency!

Jeans can be the best, most comfortable work pants, or just your favorite Sunday afternoon attire – but often a great pair of jeans is a critical part of your wardrobe. Jeans have become such an integral fashion statement that when you find a pair that fits you well — you must keep them and wear them forever.

But what do you do if the zipper breaks on jeans? Sure, you could just bring your favorite jeans to a tailor or seamstress and ask them to fix them, but many zipper repairs are relatively straightforward, and cheaper if you do it yourself.

FIXING A JEANS ZIPPER PULL

Jeans zippers, unlike those on a pullover or sleeping bag, are permanently anchored at one end, and open at the other. Because of this repeated vertical pull, often times the zipper itself is solid, but the zipper pull comes off.

If a pull comes off in the dryer, or in your laundry basket, it’s often easy enough to fix with a pair of needle nose pliers. You reattach the zipper pull, and then squeeze the bottom with the pliers so that it won’t release. Make sure you test it a few times before you finish, because it needs to be securely fastened to the slider.

If you don’t want to use tools, or worse, you can’t find your original zipper pull, there are a number of commercial replacement zipper pulls or handles that can snap onto the slider and replace the original pull. These are often recommended for heavy duty items like boots, camping gear, luggage, purses, and other itmes because of the frequent use and added stress put on the zipper with each use.

It’s also possible that the zipper pull repair kits are the best solution while you’re traveling, in case you don’t have access to pliers. There are a number of zipper pull repair and mending kit products on the market, and they are readily available online. These quick fixes might just be what you’re looking for.

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FIXING A BROKEN ZIPPER ON JEANS

If the zipper itself is broken, and it’s not just a simple fix, as above, it’s possible that the entire zipper needs to be replaced. It’s easy enough to do on your own, and only requires a bit of machine and hand sewing and a couple simple tools. The most important part of the process is to not cut into the jeans original top-stitching. This finish work, that gives jeans its particular look and cut in the front, is done in commercial textile factories and is very hard to duplicate if altered.

HOW TO FIX A BROKEN ZIPPER ON JEANS 

First remove the stitches around the zipper tape, and cut the zipper where it joins the seams. You’ll need to buy a ready-made denim zipper, and cut it to size. Line up your old zipper and mark the bottom – which is where you’ll sew a zig-zag bar tack point to provide a base to your jeans zipper.

Remember when you sew this spot, go over it enough times to make a solid bottom break point for the slider. When you install the new zipper, fold over the top flaps of the zipper tape — you will double that over and sew it under itself.

It’s helpful to pin the zipper in place as you reattach the zipper. At the topstitching you should sew this part by hand, being careful to only catch one fabric layer– you don’t want to have the zipper stitching visible on the front! Small, tight, straight, even stiches are necessary here to anchor the top. When you’ve finished reinforce the bottom with another couple anchoring stitches and you’re done… you know how to fix a zipper on jeans.


 

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