The other day, I was going through my closets when I pulled out my winter coat and realized the zipper was broken. The coat itself is in great shape, and I was reluctant to replace it if the only issue was the bottom of the zipper itself. So I set out to learn all I could about fixing zippers at home, and I’m here to share with you the different tips and tricks I discovered.
The right technique for fixing a zipper will depend on exactly what is broken within it. It is common for issues with the zipper slider, bottom stops, or even the insertion pin itself. Each of these pieces of hardware can be repaired, and many replacement parts are available at your local craft store.
In this article, I’ll walk you through six methods for how to fix the bottom of a zipper. Each method will walk you through the necessary tools and give you a user-friendly explanation of how to make the repairs. Before long, you’ll be able to tackle any zipper issues that come your way.
- Can You Fix the Bottom of a Zipper?
- Why Does My Zipper Keep Splitting at the Bottom?
- How to Fix the Bottom of a Zipper: 6 Methods
- Can You Replace the Zipper Insertion Pin?
- Can You Replace the Bottom of a Zipper Entirely?
- Who Can Replace a Coat Zipper?
Can You Fix the Bottom of a Zipper?
Most of the time, you can fix the bottom of a zipper. The repairs are often simple and may involve simple steps like adding a new zipper slider or bottom stop. There are even commercial repair kits available for customers to purchase for at-home zipper fixes.
However, some situations can arise where your zipper may not be repairable. It is certainly possible for zippers to be severely damaged to the point where they will no longer work. Zippers can also be torn away from the fabric they are meant to be adhered to, requiring you to replace the zipper entirely.
If you do run into a situation where you need to replace the zipper entirely, don’t panic. Zipper replacements can be done at home if you can access a sewing machine. Otherwise, these issues are a simple fix for a professional tailor or seamstress.
Why Does My Zipper Keep Splitting at the Bottom?
There are various reasons why the bottom of your zipper could be splitting. One of the most likely culprits is the zipper slide, which could be too loose or be unable to close the zipper’s teeth correctly. This can happen if the zipper gets snagged and the pull bends, or it could simply happen over time as the metal of the slide wears down.
Another culprit could be the teeth of the zipper itself. If the teeth are out of alignment or are bent, they won’t be able to connect with one another correctly. This will result in the misaligned teeth separating from one another along the zipper, causing it to split.
You should be able to fix both issues at home yourself, with a few simple tools and replacement parts. You may be able to use a pair of needle-nose pliers to bend the metal of the slide or zipper teeth back into place. Alternatively, you can replace the slide altogether to fix the issue.
Remember that if the zipper teeth are bent or damaged too severely, you will have to replace the zipper entirely. Individual teeth cannot be removed and replaced on a zipper.
How to Fix the Bottom of a Zipper: 6 Methods
When it comes to the bottom of your zipper, there are many ways it can break over time. How you fix the issue will depend entirely on what is wrong with your particular zipper. The methods listed below should work to fix the most common zipper issues you may be facing.
1. Add a New Zipper Slider
When the bottom of your zipper breaks, the zipper slider is often to blame. The slider often referred to as the ‘pull,’ is what you move up and down to open and close the zipper. Zipper sliders tend to bend and wear down over time, meaning that they either grip the teeth of the zipper too tightly or too loosely.
If this is the culprit behind your zipper issues, you may be able to bend the metal of the slide back into place. You can see the bent areas by turning the slide on its side, looking for any spots where the metal is no longer in alignment. Keep in mind that if you find bent metal, it is highly likely you will need to replace the slider altogether.
To do this, you’ll first need to purchase a new zipper slider or repurpose one from another garment you own. You can purchase zipper sliders at many craft stores or online. You’ll also need to purchase a new zipper stopper to install at the top of the zipper and will need to have a pair of needle-nose pliers and strong scissors or end nippers.
On the slider side of the zipper, use the scissors or end nippers to remove the stopper from the top of the zipper. You want to try not to cut the fabric and just remove the stopper. This will allow you to pull the slider off at the top of the zipper.
Then, slide the new slider onto the zipper from the top. Make sure it is aligned properly and moves smoothly before installing the new zipper stopper at the top. Use your needle-nose pliers to crimp the stopper into place.
Once you’ve installed the stopper, the zipper should be fully repaired! You will always want to check to make sure the zipper is working properly before you wear the garment.
2. Replace the Zipper Bottom Stop
Another common issue with the bottom of a zipper comes from the bottom stop, which can fall off entirely. If this happens, the slider of your zipper could also fall off – meaning that the zipper will lose all of its function. The slider will not stay on without a working stop.
You can easily replace the bottom stop on your zipper to prevent this from happening. To do so, you will need to purchase a replacement stop. These are generally wider and thicker than the stops used at the top of the zipper since they need to be able to stop the slider from falling off.
Once you have your bottom stop, you’ll need to align it correctly on the jacket. Then, use a pair of needle-nose pliers to crimp the stop into place. Press firmly enough that the stop holds but not so strong that you damage the stop.
Be sure to test the stop before you zip the jacket to make sure the slide will not fall off. If it does, you may need to use a larger stop. You also may have crimped the stop too tightly and accidentally made it smaller than the slide itself. Both issues are simple fixes.
3. Zipper Repair Kit
With all of the moving parts within a zipper, there can certainly be instances where multiple parts of your zipper break at the same time. This is often the case when the zipper gets caught or snagged while you wear a garment, damaging the slide and stops of the zipper at the same time.
If this is the case, you’ll likely want to purchase a zipper repair kit to make your fixes. Zipper repair kits come with all the parts you can fix on a zipper, including top and bottom stops, slides, and sometimes even zipper pulls and pliers. They may even come with different size zippers and stops to give you options and ensure you have the right size tools for the repair.
Keep in mind that there are a few components that these kits will not include simply because they are not easily repaired. Zipper insertion pins and teeth are examples of two pieces of hardware that are not generally available for purchase.
Most kits will come with step-by-step instructions for how to install the various pieces they include, making zipper repair kits very user-friendly. This makes the kits worth the money to purchase and can help you make quick fixes in a pinch.
4. Drinking Straw
Zippers don’t wait until you are conveniently at home to break. You may need a temporary fix while you are out and about. Drinking straws offer one solution to help fix your zippers, specifically as a repair option if your zipper’s insertion pin breaks.
To use this method:
- Find a plastic drinking straw similar in size to the bottom of your zipper.
- Cut a small piece off of the end of the drinking straw, measuring approximately ½” in length.
- Cut the small piece lengthwise so that the tube shape of the straw can be opened up.
Place the opening of the straw piece around the bottom of the zipper, where the insertion pin would normally be. You can press the straw flat and hold it in place as you insert it into the zipper’s slide, or you can glue the straw in place with liquid glue. Then, use it to slide the zipper into the slider and pull the zipper closed.
Drinking straws won’t give you a long-term fix. You’ll want to be sure to replace the insertion pin properly whenever you have a chance. However, this convenient trick can help you fix your zipper problems when you’re on the go.
5. Hot Glue Gun
Another quick fix for a missing insertion pin or zipper stopper is to break out your handy hot glue gun. Like drinking straws, hot glue won’t be a permanent fix. However, it will last you long enough to buy you time to make a more durable repair.
To use this method, apply several layers of hot glue to the zipper area you want to fix. You can apply the glue in a ball to replace the zipper stopper. For the insertion pin, you can press the hot glue flat with your fingers once it has cooled enough to handle.
With this method, you’ll want to be cautious to avoid burning yourself. Wait until the glue has dried entirely before you try to use the zipper, or you could accidentally get glue into the teeth. You’ll want to remove the hot glue from the zipper before you dry the clothes in your dryer since the heat could melt the glue.
In a pinch, you can create a new zipper insertion pin or stopper with scrap fabric you may have on hand. To make the insertion pin, fold the fabric around the base of the zipper to create a point. You may need to fold the fabric over multiple times to give it added strength.
Then, sew or glue the fabric into place. Fabric can easily be bulky, so keep this in mind as you form your insertion pin. This fix won’t function as well as a true metal pin, but it will certainly work in a pinch.
To make a fabric stopper, you’ll simply want to sew a piece of fabric around the bottom of the zipper where the stopper would normally be. Make sure the fabric sticks out far enough from the zipper that it will stop the slider from falling off. This type of fix will generally hold up well long term.
Can You Replace the Zipper Insertion Pin?
Zipper insertion pins can be one of the trickier fixes to make on a zipper. However, you should be able to replace it if you are creative in your approach.
Unfortunately, replacement insertion pins aren’t often available on the market. This is because they tend to be installed by machine and are difficult to replace yourself. You’ll need to use materials you have on hand and understand that the fixes might not always be permanent.
One trick you can use is to install an insertion pin taken from another garment you own. Simply cut the insertion pin off the working zipper, and sew it in a place where the original insertion pin was. You’ll just want to make sure that the pin you use as a replacement is the same length and thickness as the original.
Alternatively, you can find a way to craft a new insertion pin to replace the old one. Drinking straws, hot glue, and fabric can all be fashioned into makeshift insertion pins in a pinch. However, most of these methods offer only a temporary fix.
Eventually, you may need to replace the zipper entirely when the insertion pin is gone. You can purchase a replacement zipper from your local craft store to sew into place. Otherwise, a professional tailor or seamstress can replace your zippers with ease.
Can You Replace the Bottom of a Zipper Entirely?
Unfortunately, you cannot just replace the bottom portion of a zipper while leaving the top portion in place. If you need to replace the entirety of the bottom, you’ll need to replace the entire zipper. This allows you to have new stops, sliders, an insertion pin, and teeth across the length of the zipper.
If the bottom teeth of a zipper are still aligned correctly, you may be able to replace the other components found at the bottom of the zipper. The bottom stops, the zipper slider, and insertion pins can generally be repaired using one of the methods described above.
Who Can Replace a Coat Zipper?
While you may be able to replace a coat zipper at home, it can be tricky if you don’t have access to a sewing machine. Coat zippers are also quite long, and the correct size may not be available for you to purchase at your local craft store.
It is often simpler and quicker to take your coat to a professional for any zipper replacements you need. Most professional tailors or seamstresses should be able to replace a coat zipper quickly and generally for minimal cost. Your best chance for success would be to take the coat to a local alterations store and work directly with a professional.
Before you pay to have your coat’s zipper repaired, check to see if the manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty on the product. Many high-end coat makers offer guarantees on their products and will allow you to send the coat in to be repaired. Alternatively, they may replace the coat if a repair is not possible.
Brands that commonly offer warranties on their products include Eddie Bauer, Columbia, The North Face, and Duluth Trading. Some of these warranties are lifetime; others are for a set period of time. Other companies like Patagonia or Arc’teryx offer repairs on their products for a small fee.
A broken zipper can be a major inconvenience and prevent you from wearing many of your favorite clothes. However, you won’t have to worry about how to tackle these issues after reading this article. Be sure to follow the methods listed above, and you’ll be able to fix the bottom of any zipper in your wardrobe!