How to Replace a Zipper on a Jacket

heather handmade sewing

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Learn how to replace a zipper on a jacket to keep using it. This is the perfect fix for unlined jackets with a broken zipper.

My kids have this one jacket that two of them have worn, and it’s definitely a favorite. It’s been mended a couple of times, and it’s been washed countless times.

One day it was left on the floor, and the dog chewed on part of the zipper. The zipper pull came off and the coils of the zipper were all stretched out.

The kids learned to not leave their stuff where the dog can get it, but they were sad about the jacket. Luckily, replacing a zipper is pretty easy and straightforward since the fabric is already folded and pressed in the right place.

sew each side of the zipper with zipper foot

Did the zipper of your favorite jacket break? Use this tutorial to replace a zipper in an unlined jacket!

Can you replace a zipper in a jacket?

Yes, you can always replace a zipper in a jacket. You have to remove the broken zipper and put in a new one. This tutorial focuses on replacing a zipper in an unlined jacket or a sweatshirt jacket.

If you want to replace a zipper with lining, you’ll need to use a different method.

What kind of zipper should I use?

When choosing a zipper to replace the broken one, you need to choose a zipper that is the same color, the same length, and it MUST be a separating zipper.

How to Replace a Zipper on a Jacket

Do you want to learn more about zippers? Try one of these zipper sewing projects!

jacket with broken zipper

How to Replace a Zipper on a Jacket


  • Jacket with a broken zipper
  • Separating zipper that is the same length and color of the broken zipper
  • Sewing tools
  • Sewing machine

This is the jacket that has a broken zipper and a little hole where the dog was chewing on it. It’s also dirty because I didn’t dare wash it with a broken zipper. I didn’t want to create extra holes or problems with the zipper catching on other parts of the jacket.

I used a separating zipper that I had in my stash that was just 1 inch longer and it was navy. I wanted to use what I had instead of having to buy a new zipper. It’s much easier to use a zipper that is the right length, and the right color will blend in better.

jacket with broken zipper

The first thing to do is to remove the broken zipper. Use a seam ripper to cut all the threads and pull out the zipper.

Pull out any remaining threads. Throw the old zipper in the trash.

remove the broken zipper with seam ripper

Mend any holes if you have any. This jacket had a missing spot near the neck on one side so I added a gray square of fabric to cover the hole.

mend any holes if needed

Open the zipper so that the zipper sides are separate. Lay each side face up on the coordinating side of the jacket to make sure it’ll go on the correct side.

Pin the right side of the zipper to the ride side of the jacket. Match up the bottom of the zipper with the bottom of the jacket. Do not stretch the fabric as you pin.

When you get to the top fold the zipper tape down between the seam allowance and the jacket to enclose and secure it. Pin it in place.

carefully pin in each side of the new zipper

Pin the other side of the zipper to the other side of the jacket. Line up the two sides to see if you stretched out any of the fabric.

check to see if everything lines up before sewing

Put a zipper foot into your sewing machine. Sew along the previous stitching line on each side to sew the new zipper in.

While you’re sewing you’ll have to stop with the needle in the fabric, lift the sewing machine foot, move the zipper pull behind the sewing machine foot, put the sewing machine foot down, and then keep sewing.

the zipper foot will go on the edge of the zipper teeth under the fabric

Put the zipper together and zip it up. Check to see if both sides match.

If part of the front doesn’t meet correctly you’ll need to seam rip and fix that section. If it matches then you finished and saved a jacket!

sew each side of the zipper with zipper foot

If you make something using this sewing project, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and tag me!

How to Replace a Zipper on a Jacket
heather sewing

I believe small sewing moments can create great joy. Find your own “right” way to sew. -Heather

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You can replace a zipper in a jacket by sewing the new one on top of the old one with the garment turned inside out. Carefully cut the broken zipper out by trimming close to the stitching line. This works on lined or unlined garments and is QUICK.

Hi, Heather! Fantastic tutorial! How would one replace zippers in other items, such as a dress, skirt, etc.?
Thank you!
Love your ideas and patterns!