It’s hard to imagine how fashion would have progressed without zippers. This fantastic invention also made it possible for backpacks and other vessels to exist with a fastening mechanism that was several thousand times reusable. Simply put – the world wouldn’t have been the same without the help of zippers.
Table of Contents
How Do Zippers Work?
To make successful repairs or replacements of zippers, it’s essential to understand how zippers work in the first place. The most common zipper parts are the zipper pull and the zipper teeth. The zipper teeth are components that are laid out on the zipper’s track in a super precise manner, so the two strips of zipper teeth will align once the zipper pull is used.
Since the teeth are offset from each other, they will attach, and it’s almost impossible to break the attachment by just pulling. However, the pull, which has a plain wedge, can easily remove the linkages. Then, by simply pushing against the edges of the teeth, the hooks are removed.
When a zipper starts to malfunction, there is usually something wrong with the track or misalignment that causes the teeth to fail. If you don’t want to throw away jeans or jackets because the zipper is broken, you must understand how zipper replacements are carried out. It’s not super easy, but anyone can do it with a bit of patience. You will save by knowing how to sew and make exceptional repairs like this one.
Working with a Broken Zipper
Quick repair for zippers
Not all broken zippers need to be replaced. At least fifty percent of the time, you only need to coax the zipper back to working condition. Let’s try this first before doing anything more drastic with your pair of jeans or favorite jacket.
- Check the overall condition of the zipper.
What is happening exactly?
Did the pull snag along the track?
Are you unable to close the track when you pull up?
The most common issue is that a tooth (or ten) has become misaligned, making it impossible for the track to close on its own. If this is the problem, you need to bring the pull back to the track base, so the teeth align properly again.
- Gently coax the wedge down, taking care not to damage the teeth. If any of the teeth become too damaged, a gap in the track can cause the two strips to come apart with the slightest pressure.
If you cannot get the wedge to go down, get a candle and gently wax the area. Coax the wedge until it receives some wax so that the metal can pass through the metal teeth more quickly. Remember, metals love oil, and wax is oil.
- When you are finally able to free the teeth, check either strip for signs of damage. Do you see any damage? Perhaps a few teeth have become bent as you were fixing it? If you send any weird bends, use a pair of pliers to close the teeth’ tabs gently. Straighten them out so they won’t snag your pull tab again.
- When the pull tab is finally at the base of the track, gently pull it up to see if the two strips are finally aligned the way they should be. Be mindful of any strange bends or kinks along the track.
Test your repair by pulling on the zipper. Opposing horizontal pulls should have zero effect on the zipper. However, should the zipper come apart again from the center, then a replacement may be needed?
- Zippers that pull away from any section of the track can still be repaired. Only after repair can you figure out if the way is too broken for a quick DIY repair.
- Sometimes the wedge that controls the track becomes too loose. Use pliers to pinch and compress the wedge, to clip the teeth on both sides correctly. If there isn’t much pressure as the tab is used, the teeth won’t hook properly.
Replacing a broken zipper
Let’s say that you’ve done all you can and the zipper is still malfunctioning. If you have the basic know-how for sewing, then you may succeed in replacing the zipper.
For successful zipper replacement, what you need are as follows:
- sewing machine
- hand-sewing needles
- replacement zipper (correct measurement and gauge)
- measuring tape
- seam ripper
Follow these steps:
- The first step is to use the seam ripper to remove the threads that attach the old zipper to the jacket or jeans. Be patient. When you reach the end, cut away the material as close as possible to the base.
- After pre-measuring and cutting the zipper, slide the new zipper into place and secure it with pins on either side. Raw fabric edges must be tucked in so they don’t show after sewing the new zipper on. You will see ragged edges after removing the old zipper.
- Sew the zipper onto one side and then the other. Make sure that the measurements are precise, as these have to line up perfectly. Otherwise, they won’t work.
Aligning the zipper might be risky with a machine if you aren’t used to such repairs, so you may want to do some basting stitches first to line up the two strips. Then, you can sew the strips again with the sewing machine after testing that the contraption actually opens and closes usually.
Hand-basted stitches are much easier to remove with a seam ripper, and you won’t be stressing the fabric too much, either.
4.After applying the final stitches, test your new zipper. You’ve saved another piece of clothing from being thrown out!
More articles you may interest: