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How to Fix a Zipper on Jeans • Heather Handmade

Introduction: How to Repair a Jeans Zipper That Wont Stay Up

By iamsewcrazy iamsewcrazy.com

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About: I am an artist and clothing designer with a passion for helping others bring their own creative dreams to life. More About iamsewcrazy »

We’ve probably all had an evil pair of jeans before. You know the type. The one that seems so innocent, and yet is actively devising a wicked plan to embarrass its wearer.

There is a tiny, spring-activated lock in the zipper slider itself that is supposed to keep the slider in place. A tiny hook comes down and lodges in between the zipper teeth, rendering the slider immobile. When you raise the little pull tab, the hook retracts, enabling you to move the slider up and down. You can see the hook working properly in my first two pictures.

Jeans zippers can fail when the tiny hook snaps off, or if the spring mechanism breaks and leaves the slider with nothing to hold it up. Fortunately, it’s quite easy to fix it yourself. Here’s how!

You will need a discarded pair of jeans from which you can take a working zipper slider. You will also need basic sewing supplies.

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Step 3: Add the New Slider

Take the working slider and carefully feed the top of the zipper tape through the bottom of the slider. Push the slider down until you get to the zipper teeth.

Remember that hook that’s supposed to hold the slider up? It won’t let the zipper slider come down onto the zipper teeth unless you lift the pull tab up! So make sure you raise the pull tab, and move the zipper slider down onto the zipper teeth.

2) How to fix a zipper that wont stay up

This is often a problem with pant zippers but it’s one that needs the entire zipper replaced; however, there are temporary fixes that can buy you some time. In fact, life hacks like this one are so easy and ingenious that you may end up putting off replacing the zipper!

You can insert a keyring into the zipper pull and

You can insert a keyring into the zipper pull and secure it to your pant button. Alternatively, you can also create a loop with a rubber band or fishing line and loop it around your pant button.

How to Put a Zipper Back On Clothing

You can almost always use one of the five simple methods described in this article to put a zipper back in clothing. That said, you may sometimes encounter special situations depending on the type of clothing in question.

On a Dress

One of the difficulties of fixing a broken zipper in a dress is that you may have to deal with either a highly visible or even an invisible zipper. Plus, you probably can’t wear the dress until you fix the closure!

The most common problems with dress zippers include the pull tab falling off or the seams ripping.

For a missing pull tab:

  • Try looping a paper clip into the slider in place of the pull. This will work in a pinch!
  • If this does not work or the slider has also fallen off the zipper, buy a new pull. It will come with instructions, but you can also use the fork method to get it in place.
  • If this happens on an invisible zipper with extra-small teeth, you may need to use small jewelry pliers and employ the plier method to get the pull into place.

For a ripped seam:

If the zipper tape has ripped away from the fabric of the dress, you will need to reattach the tape using the sewing machine method described earlier in this article. However, on a dress, you may want to take a couple of additional steps to avoid having an obvious patch job visible on the outside of the garment.

This technique does take a little bit more work, but it is the method used by many couture designers to create beautifully set zippers!

  1. Use a seam ripper to carefully remove the entire zipper from the dress. Zip up and down several times to make sure everything still works. Remove any loose threads from the tape.
  2. Next, use a basting stitch on your machine to temporarily sew shut the seam where the zipper goes. This gives a straight line to reattach the zipper onto.
  3. With the zipper unzipped, use sewing pins to attach one side just to the seam allowance on one side of the seam you just basted together. Make sure you align the open teeth to lie parallel to the basted seam, almost but not quite touching it.
  4. Use the zipper presser foot to sew the pinned tape onto the seam allowance on one side of the zipper.
  5. Repeat this method to sew the other side of the zipper tape onto the other side of the seam allowance.
  6. Gently remove your basting stitches using a seam ripper or small embroidery scissors.
  7. Use a needle and thread that matches the dress to hand-sew the tape and seam allowance so that it lies flat against the dress. These stitches will go through to the outside of the dress, so make them tiny and invisible! You will also want to set a few stitches across the bottom of the zipper at this point.
  8. Open and close the zipper to make sure everything closes up properly!

On a Jacket

On a jacket, you often have more flexibility about how or even if you will fix a zipper. For example, if you rarely wear your jacket closed, do you even care if its zipper is broken?

If you need your jacket closed to keep you warm, you may need to try a couple of different methods to get it working again.

  • If the zipper has all its parts but won’t move easily, try rubbing a little zipper wax or petroleum jelly over the teeth. You may find that Windex or lip gloss also works for this trick.
  • If the pull tab fell off, but you still have the slider in place, try attaching a small keyring in place of the pull! This can look funky as well as fix the problem.
  • If the whole slider and pull have disappeared, use the fork or plier method to insert a new pull. These only cost a few dollars at most craft supply stores.
  • Another really common issue with a jacket and coat zipper is that they can get caught in the fabric of the garment. In this case, carefully pry away the caught fabric by hand. Make sure no loose hair or grime has adhered to the teeth, and then try re-zipping the jacket.


One of the most common zipper problems you may find with jeans is that the teeth won’t close even if you pull the tab up and down several times. Since you need the fly on your jeans zipped up, try these tricks to fix the issue!

  • Sometimes you see the teeth bowing out from each other, not engaged. This often means that the teeth have worn down and do not mesh together when running the slider over them. To fix this, try rubbing the teeth with a bar of soap.
  • Alternatively, you may need to use pliers to take off the slider and re-bend the U-shaped pieces of metal that hold the slider onto the teeth. Bend them back into place over the teeth and try zipping. You may have to repeat this several times to get the right closure on the slider so that it engages the teeth again.
  • This does not often happen with jeans, but if the tape does rip and you can see loose stitching, consider taking your jeans to a tailor. Getting a zipper fixed will probably only cost $10-$15. Sewing jeans yourself gets tricky because most sewing machines cannot handle the layers of heavy fabric.


Depending on the type of damage, you may need to use any of the five methods described in this article to fix a broken zipper in your pants.

  • If the pull has come off one or both sides of the zipper, try the fork method to get it realigned.
  • If the zipper tape has ripped away from the fabric of the pants, use a sewing machine to fix it.
  • If the zipper pull does not stay up because you have an older, much-used zipper, you can try this temporary fix: insert a round key ring into the pull. Then loop the metal ring over the button of your pants. Or you can try the same trick, but use a small rubber band instead for a slightly less obvious solution.

On a Lunchbox or Pencil Case

The easiest way to fix a zipper that has broken off a lunchbox or pencil case is to use the glue method described earlier in this article.

It gets tricky to sew on three-dimensional objects like bags and cases, so fixing the zipper with a sewing machine may not work.

Instead, use either fabric glue or super glue to reattach the zipper tape to the edge it tore away from. You may also want to consider inserting an additional piece of fabric inside the bag on top of the edge of the tape and gluing that in place as well. This will provide extra support for the zipper tape and hopefully prevent it from tearing away again!

5) How to replace a zipper slider

Zippers on pants are different that zippers on jackets or accessories like purses or luggage. Nearly all zippers have zipper stops which are tiny metal teeth located at the end zippers. Generally, to get access to them on pants, you may need to unstitch a section of fabric; however, on most jackets, the zipper stops are easily removed. If you need replacement zipper sliders, try this zipper replacement kit on Amazon.

1) Gently pull out the zipper stops using a pair of pliers. 2) Pull the slider down until it reaches the end of the zipper and gently remove the slider from the zipper. 3) Grab your replacement zipper slider and align the two ends of the zipper teeth with the openings of your replacement zipper slider. 4) As you move the slider along the zipper, try to hold the zipper teeth closer together. This will help ensure that the first tooth “clenches” properly with the first tooth on the opposite side of the zipper. You only need to do this once so be patient and start over until the teeth close properly. 5) After you’ve installed the zipper slider properly, make sure to reinstall the zipper stops.

Hopefully, these DIY solutions will help you with common zipper problems. If you find that it’s beyond a quick DIY repair, most tailors can fix broken zippers for as little as $10 or $15 dollars. Please share how to fix a zipper with these DIY tips with your friends and family.