How to repair heavy duty zippers

Written by michele casteel
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How to repair heavy duty zippers
(George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Heavy-duty zippers are found in almost all of our most valuable things. Not only are heavy-duty zippers on our jackets and luggage, they are also on the kids’ school bags, raincoats, tent doors and sleeping bags. Learning how to repair heavy-duty zippers is an invaluable part of maintaining the things we have. In the instance that a zipper should break, it will help to be skilled on how to repair heavy-duty zippers.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Sewing scissors
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Heavy duty needle
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Paper clip
  • Old zipper with a similar size
  • Replacement zipper

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  1. 1

    Examine the zipper to see if it is missing any teeth. If it is, then you need to determine if it is missing a tooth in the upper part of the zipper or in the lower part. If a tooth is missing in the upper part, you will need to replace the entire zipper.

  2. 2

    If a tooth is missing in the lower part of the zipper, use a threaded needle to stitch above the missing tooth over both rows of the zipper teeth. This stitch will serve as the new zipper stop and your zipper will be as good as new.

  3. 3

    Check to see if your zipper has its pull tab intact. If your zipper has a missing pull tab, use a paper clip and carefully insert it into the pull tab for it to serve as the new pull tab. If the particular zipper you are working with has no hole, you can take off a pull tab from a similar size zipper that has a clip-on type of pull tab. Using needle nose pliers, attach the old zipper’s tab to your zipper.

  4. 4

    Check your metal zipper to see if it is off track. If it is, rip out the zipper tape at the lower ends. Take off the zipper’s lower metal stop without tearing the zipper tape. This is for the purpose of removing the zipper foot entirely. Guiding the tracks into proper alignment, carefully slip the slider back on. Sew a brand new zipper stop on the bottom using needle and thread. Stitch the zipper back in place.

  5. 5

    Replace the zipper if it cannot be repaired. To do this, find the nearest exact replica of the zipper. Use a seam ripper to rip the old zipper out. Follow the directions on the package that the zipper came in if you need extra guidance.

  6. 6

    Pin the new zipper into place and either hand or machine stitch the new zipper in its place. You will now have a brand new zipper for your garment or bag, making your item as good as new.

Tips and warnings

  • Be sure to use a needle designed for the type of fabric that the zipper is attached to. The package should list which type of fabric the needle is appropriate for.

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