Sometimes you’re sewing a project with a zipper and you cut the zipper shorter to the right length. You keep working and then accidentally pull the zipper pull off of the zipper teeth! Or you have a well-loved garment and the zipper pull breaks. Learn how to fix a zipper and put the pull back onto the zipper teeth!
What is a zipper?
A zipper is two strips of fabric tape with interlocking metal or plastic teeth that are closed or open with a metal or plastic pull or slide. It’s used to fasten clothing and bags. In this tutorial I use the words “teeth” meaning the interlocking projecting metal or plastic teeth, “zipper tape” meaning the two strips of fabric along each side, and “pull” meaning the slide that connects or disconnects the teeth.
If you zipper is sticky or gets stuck easily you can use Zipper-Ease* to make it zip smoother. If you zipper pull gets broken or it falls off, you can add a new zipper pull. You can buy a set of zipper pulls and zipper stops* with a handy tool to do it yourself. Just make sure you match the same size, style, and color.
How to Fix a Zipper
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how to fix a zipper if the pull came off
The most common zipper to work with is a regular plastic coil zipper. These come in lots and lots of lengths and almost any color you can think of. When you shorten them you cut off the zipper stops and can pull the zipper pull off.
- Cut off the bottom zipper stop. Slide the zipper pull onto one side of the bottom of the zipper tape. Slide the other side of the zipper pull onto the other side of the bottom of the zipper tape.
- Hold both sides of the zipper tape with one hand and carefully pull the zipper pull with the other hand to slide it back onto the zipper teeth.
- Tack the bottom of the zipper teeth and the top of each of the zipper teeth to prevent the zipper pull from coming off again.
If you use this technique you can switch the colors of the zipper tape for a really fun look. This would be really fun for bags or pockets.
how to fix an invisible zipper
An invisible zipper is a zipper that is sewn in without any visible stitches. The zipper tape is curled so that the zipper teeth are on the wrong side of the garment. They are the weakest of the zippers, but they are the least visible zipper. You can learn how to sew an invisible zipper without an invisible zipper foot.
- Cut off the bottom zipper stop. Slide the zipper pull onto one side of the bottom of the zipper tape. An invisible zipper tape is curled so make sure you slide it on correctly. Slide the other side of the zipper pull onto the other side of the bottom of the zipper tape.
Hold both sides of the zipper tape with one hand and carefully pull the zipper pull with the other hand to slide it back onto the zipper teeth.
Tack the bottom of the zipper teeth and the top of each of the zipper teeth to prevent the zipper pull from coming off again.
how to fix a separating zipper
A separating zipper is a zipper that separates which makes it easy to get it on and off. A separating zipper has a special stop and slider at the bottom to connect and disconnect the zipper so that it can fully separate.
- If you cut off the bottom of a separating zipper you can’t keep using it. It’s done for. If you cut off the top of a separating you can fix it.
- Carefully separate the zipper teeth so you have two separate zipper tapes.
- Slide the zipper pull back onto the original zipper tape side all the way to the bottom.
- Use the zipper like normal. Add a safety pin to the top to prevent the zipper pull from coming off. Once you sew a seam across the top of the zipper that will also prevent the zipper pull from coming off.