How to Repair a Broken Zipper

Broken zipper
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How to Fix a Broken Zipper

Sometimes the teeth on a zipper don’t line up right, causing the zipper to catch. At this point, most people will get rid of the entire garment. What a shame, because this is such an easy fix! Follow these basic instructions to easily fix your zipper.

First off, what is your zipper problem? Look at our guide and fixes for the most common problems.

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Zipper Repair: Zipper Teeth Don't Line Up

Zipper Teeth Don't Line Up
Zipper Teeth Don't Line Up. Photo: JD

The most frustrating of zipper issues is when you zip the darn thing up and nothing happens. The zipper remains open, even though the zipper head moved all the way to the top. What an embarrassing moment for your zipper, but luckily, it's an easy fix, because your zipper is just getting off-track.

You will need to gather a few supplies before getting started on this repair. If you don’t have them readily available at home, they can all be purchased on 

  • Pliers: I suggest using a needle nose plier since they are made to use in tight hard to reach spaces. The Stanley Needle Nose Plier is a reliable option if you do not own a pair of pliers. 

Buy Stanley Needle Nose Plier on

  • Sewing Thread: You will want to use an extra-strength thread for this denim repair. I recommend using the Coats & Clark Extra-Strong Thread that is made to work with denim. 

Buy Coats & Clark Extra Strong Thread on

  • Sewing Needle: You are going to need a heavy-duty sewing needle that is strong enough to go through denim. The Singer Heavy Duty Hand Needles Kit comes with a variety of options so you can determine which size works best for your repair.

Buy Singer Heavy Duty Hand Needle Kit on

Next Step: Now you’re ready to remove the metal bumper.

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Remove the Metal Bumper

Zipper Repair
Remove the metal stopper. This may take muscle. Rain Blanken

Remove the metal stopper at the bottom of the zipper with a pair of pliers [find the right pliers]. With a little bit of muscle, you can do it!

Zip the zipper all the way down to the bottom, stopping just below the last of the teeth. Don’t pull it off completely.

Next Step: Now you will arrange the teeth.

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Arrange the Teeth

Zipper Repair
Rearrange the teeth. Rain Blanken

Using your fingers, rearrange the teeth of the zipper so that one side isn’t bunched up. Straighten them out. Slowly zip up the zipper halfway, paying careful attention to whether or not the teeth are not locking together.

Next Step: Once they are straight, let’s stitch it up.

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Stitch it Up

Zipper Repair
Replace the bumper with stitching.

Using a needle and thread, sew around the place where the metal stopper was, using a durable buttonhole thread. The idea is to replace the stopper with thread. Sew around and around the bottom of the zipper until you have about six stitches in place. Use more stitches if you need to. Tie off in a knot on the backside of the zipper.

Next Step: Now we can zip it up.

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Zip it Up

Zipper Repair
An easily fixed zipper takes just minutes. Rain Blanken

Pull your zipper all the way to the top. It shouldn’t catch anymore. If you zipper gets misaligned again one day, just remove the stitching with a seam ripper and repeat this simple fix. That was easy! I bet you're ready to try another easy project. Stick around here and you'll find lots of quick DIY tutorials and clothing repairs.