Having a broken zipper may lead to a very embarrassing situation and unless you know how to fix it quickly, you can be in a spot of bother. Sometimes, the zipper pull simply comes off, dislodges from one side or simply gets stuck. Many people simply stop using or throw away their clothes, which are made unwearable due to a broken zipper.
A broken zipper is a ‘wardrobe malfunction’, that is easy to take care of. One needs to understand the basic working of a zipper, to fix it. As you know, it consists of two rows of parallel metal teeth, on each side. The slider that runs over these, has metal grooves inside, that engage the teeth on both sides together, to zip the zipper. It is quite an ingenious piece of engineering, if you really think about it.
As you know, there can be various reasons for a zipper falling in disrepair. Let me handle the various cases of fixing zippers, one at a time. Depending on the kind of problem, you may need some tools and may need to be adept, at basic sewing techniques. The basic tools that you’ll need, are a scissor, pair of pliers, thick thread (used for sewing buttons), sewing machine, and needles.
How to Fix a Stuck Zipper?
There can be two reasons for a zipper getting stuck. The major reason is the disruption of slider teeth alignment and the other reason may be lack of lubrication. The former is the more common case and you can easily take care of it. The disruption of slider teeth arrangement, leads to improper locking of teeth and subsequently, the slider gets stuck.
Firstly, spray some lubricant on the zipper, like any oil and try to move the slider down. Once you get it to the bottom and align both the parallel sides of the zipper, move the slider up slowly, taking care that the teeth lock. If that doesn’t solve the problem, then remove the stopper at the end of zipper using pliers and then slide the zipper slider till the bottom, without entirely removing it. Align both the sides of the zipper properly and fix any misaligned teeth, using pliers. Then, try to see if the zipper locks the teeth. If it works, then using a thick thread, sew the bottom of the zipper, back again, without putting the stopper in place. That should do the job.
Fix the Zipper Pull
Often, a broken zipper pull can be a problem, as it makes zipping up difficult. In such a case, you need to replace it. The slider has a hole-like arrangement at the top. Replace the pull with an open ended metal ring, that usually comes with key chains. I am sure that you must have some old ones lying around. A temporary substitute can be a safety pin.
Fixing the Slider
If the slider is bent, it can be fixed using pliers, by restoring its shape. However, if the whole slider is broken and beyond salvage, it’s best replaced. Buy a new slider. Remove the stopper at the end of the zipper and remove the old slider. Engage the teeth of the zipper, from one side first, into the groove of the new slider and do the same from the other side. Once both the teeth lineups of the zipper are engaged in the new slider, move it up and down, to ensure it’s locking teeth properly. Then, simply sew the bottom of the zipper, to lock the slider in place.
Replacing a Broken One
If the zipper teeth have a distorted alignment, which is beyond repair, there is no way out but to replace the entire zipper assembly. Buy a new assembly of the same length, as the old one. Remove the old zipper by cutting off the stitches from the inside. Remove the stopper and then remove the old zipper. Using a sewing machine, sew the new zipper in place, while taking care that its teeth align and match properly on both sides. Slide in the slider and stitch the bottom. With that, the replacement is accomplished.
It is a simple technique, which you will get better at, with practice. One thing to remember is that, if you use the zipper properly and pull the slider up and down slowly, then there is less probability that it will fall into disrepair. Another thing to remember is to lubricate the slider occasionally so that it doesn’t get stuck. If the grip of the slider over the zipper has loosened, you need to compress the slider using pliers, to restore the firm grip. These were some precautionary measures to prevent a zipper-based wardrobe malfunction.
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