Zippers make clothes easy to get in and out of, keep us toasty warm in our sleeping bags and keep the contents of luggage where they belong. Breaking a zipper can mean the end to wearing a favorite outfit or toting a favorite purse. However, if the zipper is jammed or off track, there are several simple ways to fix it. If these do not work, there are also zipper replacement kits that can make the item as good as new again.
Types of Zippers
There are two basic types of zippers. The first kind is an open-ended zipper. This type of zipper can be found in most coats and jackets. When the slide is pulled it causes the teeth to interlock and align up to the top stop. Closed-ended zippers do not separate all the way and are frequently found on dresses or jeans. When these zippers become damaged or worn, they can cease to function properly and may need to be repaired.
A Lost Pull-Tab Zipper Repair
The easiest zipper repair fix of all is replacing a missing or broken pull tab. There is generally a small hole where the pull-tab was attached to the zipper and a paper clip or small safety pin can be inserted in its place. If there is no hole, a pull-tab clamp from another item can be applied using needle-nosed pliers. Craft stores and fabric stores may also sell replacement pull tabs or crafty people can use jewelry wire and beads for a unique look.
Where to Start with a Jammed Zipper Repair
The first place to begin with a jammed zipper repair is to inspect the zipper to determine if there is any thread or material stuck in the zipper teeth. If this is the case, cut away any threads with embroider scissors or a precision razor or carefully pull at the fabric to keep from tearing it. Then lubricate the zipper with a bar of beeswax. Once this is done, gently pull the zipper back and forth along its track to coat it so that it runs smoothly again.
What to Do with a Gaping Zipper Repair
Gapping zipper repair takes a little more effort, but even they can be easily mended. Simply take off the metal stopper at the end of the zipper and slide the zipper pull to the bottom of the teeth. Realign the teeth and zip the zipper back up along both tracks. Once this is done, the metal stopper can be replaced with pliers or a thick satin stitch can be sewn on to prevent the zipper from completely sliding off the track.
Zipper Repair Using a Kit
When it is impossible to fix a zipper using standard methods, many craft and fabric stores sell zipper repair kits. These can be found to match almost any type of zipper. To use a kit, the first thing to do is measure the old zipper. Once this is done, a new one that is the correct size in the right color can be found. Use a seam ripper to remove the old stitching, place the new zipper in place and sew it into place. For anyone not handy with a needle and thread, many tailors will perform this service for a nominal fee.
Zipper repair can salvage an item from the giveaway pile, it can restore a favorite garment or handbag to its former status or it can keep campers warm and safe from the elements. These simple solutions will keep your zippers moving along.