Just because your favorite pair of jeans has a broken zipper beyond repair doesn’t mean you can say goodbye to it for good. With about 30 minutes of your time and some intermediate skills in sewing, you can replace your jean’s metal zipper with a whole new one.
The secret here is to find replacement metal zippers that are roughly the same style, color, and size as the one you want to replace although you can always make some minor adjustments as needed. After that, it will just be a matter of removing the old zipper with care then sewing the new one by following the steps below:
Remove the Old Broken Zipper
Many jeans have topstitching that can be almost hard to duplicate. This is why it is often best not to remove the topstitching. You can use a seam ripper instead to remove the old broken zipper through taking out only the stitches that holding the zipper in its place. You can then cut the zipper tape at the joining seams.
Size the Replacement Zipper
Although it is recommended to buy a new zipper with almost the same fit to the one you already had, it is often difficult to find a clothing zipper that has exactly the same length. This means that you need to alter the new zipper to make it work. Line up the tops of the new zipper and the broken zipper, and mark the old zipper teeth’s end of the on the replacement zipper.
Bar Tack the Replacement Zipper
You can bar tack the replacement zipper at the mark you made. Make a bar tack with the sewing machine’s zigzag function. Widen the width and reduce the stitch length of the zigzag for clearing the zipper teeth. Make repeated stitches to form a very strong stopping point for the pull. Cut the zipper right under the bar tack.
Pin or Baste the First Side
Fold the zipper tape’s top to the rear of the zipper. Insert the tape to the opening between the fabric layers right on the location of the old zipper. Pin or baste it in place.
Use the Zipper Foot to Sew the First Side
Use the zipper foot of your sewing machine with the foot set for holding the tape in place so you can sew the first side of the zipper. Be sure to stitch as close to the zipper’s bottom as possible.
Pin or Baste the Second Side
Straighten the jean’s waistband. Place the zipper tape’s other side in position on the spot where the old zipper was removed. Fold zipper tape’s top to the front side of the zipper. Baste or pin the tape in place.
Hand-Sew the Other Side
Hand-sew the other side with a sharp sewing needle and hide the knot below folded part of the zipper tape. Bring the needle through and catch only one fabric layer so that the stitches will be invisible on the outer part of the garment.
Keep the Zipper in Place with Backstitch
Hold the zipper in its place using a backstitch. To create a backstitch, bring the needle into the fabric at the back of the previous stitch. Don’t forget to stitch through one fabric layer. Use even and tight stitches so that the zipper will be more durable.
Manually Bar Tack the End for a Strong Anchor
Create a strong hold by bar tacking the zipper’s end. This part of the zipper will endure lots of pulling, so it needs a strong anchor. After you are done with this, your zipper will already be in its place and ready for you to wear your jeans again.