Tips AU

How to fix a broken zipper yourself – it is possible!

By Peta Boyce

Updated: August 6th, 2019

Never get caught with your fly down again.

Anyone who has ever experienced a busted zipper on their favourite item knows how much it bites. Usually you have three options – head to the tailor for a zipper repair, bin it, or donate it to be repaired and loved again.

Well now there is a fourth option. Fix it yourself!

Unlike other complex clothing alterations, a zipper repair is not always as hard as it seems. Just take your pick from the following hacks.

The zipper teeth keep popping open

When the teeth keep popping open above and below the zipper base, try this one out. Sometimes applying a little pressure will fix the problem.

  1. Using a pair of pliers gently squeeze down on either side of the base on the zipper pull
  2. Move the zipper up and down again. If it is not fixed, repeat this process and try again
    Don’t put too much strain on the middle of the base by pressing down too hard

The zipper teeth have busted off one side of the base

This is a common problem particularly when there is a little extra pressure on the zip, post-festive season especially. Don’t bin your clothes just try this one on for size instead.

  1. Unpick the stitching that attaches your clothes to the zip at the bottom
  2. Find the zip closure stopper – this is the little piece of metal or plastic that stops the zip sliding down further
  3. With a gentle hand and pliers prise the stopper at the back of the zip open and keep it aside
  4. Slide the base off the zip entirely
  5. Hold the zipper back together to marry the top with the bottom as best you can
  6. With the unpicked section of the zip, slide the base back on starting at the end of the material – do one side only
  7. Re-adjust the teeth to measure up properly if needed then feed the other side through the base
  8. Zip it up
  9. Replace the stopper by feeding it back through the zip (while it is still done up) and gently pinch it closed with the pliers. Press the sides of the stopper into place
  10. Tuck the zipper back into your clothes. If you are savvy with a needle and thread, re-stitch it back into the clothing as best you can

The zipper teeth have busted off one side of the base – denim hackDenim zipper

This method is similar to the above except the zipper is cut rather than unpicked. It is especially useful for zips on jeans and denim clothing. If you can’t unpick it, try snipping it instead.

  1. Slide the zipper to the top
  2. Focus on the side of the zip that has busted off the base. As far down the zip as possible, make one horizontal cut under one of the teeth
  3. Slide the base down under that cut line then feed the cut side back through the base
  4. Zip it up
  5. Using a needle and thread, stitch around and through the zipper just above where you cut and re-fed the zip. Keep going until you have a thick, sturdy base that will act as a new zipper stopper
    Match the cotton colour as best as possible to the colour of the denim

Next time you bust a zipper or get caught with your fly down, don’t discard your clothes. In less than 10 minutes you can crank out an easy zipper repair yourself.

Need some other clothing alterations done? Hire an Airtasker to help!


Peta B

With a witty sense of humour, and an obsession for detail and nitty-gritty, Peta loves flexing her talents as a copywriter, marketer and event manager. She's put together some pretty impressive corporate shindigs in her time and now works across a variety of assignments as a freelancer, between being a full-time Mum.

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