5 Simple Ways To Reinstall A Zipper Update 06/2022

When was the last time you tossed out a perfectly nice jacket or pair of pants because the zipper broke or came off? The stiff teeth may have even taken you several hours to wriggle back together. Good news: five simple, straightforward solutions exist for reattaching a zipper!

Remove the stopper at the bottom with a set of pliers or a fork, then reinsert the teeth into the zipper pull. You can also use a sewing machine or adhesive to reattach the zipper, depending on the extent of the damage. Zipper pull replacement may be all that is needed to fix the problem in some circumstances.

You’ll discover five different ways to fix a broken zipper in this post. You’ll learn how to reattach a zipper to a dress, a pair of slacks, or even a pair of jeans. Finally, you’ll learn how to repair a zipper that has come undone on one side of the garment.

Can You Fix a Zipper That Fell Off?

Zippers can nearly always be reattached, however this depends on the extent of the damage to the garment and the type of zipper. There are many ways to repair a zipper if the zipper pull has come off one or both sides or if the fabric has been torn away. You may need to replace the zipper if the teeth are bent or broken.

However, it may be helpful to rapidly learn about the zipper’s components first. In order for this widely used fastener to function properly, several essential components must be present from top to bottom.

To close the zipper, you’ll see a huge “tooth” usually made of metal or plastic at the very top of the zipper. It’s called a “top stopper,” and it stops the zipper when it’s all the way zipped up.

Teeth are the ridged metal or plastic rectangles that go from top to bottom inside of the zipper. You’ll get a smooth, closed line when you zip the zipper tight using these. A chain is the precise term for these teeth when they are linked together.

The zipper tape is the fabric section of the zipper that extends from the teeth to the body of the zipper. In some circumstances, the fabric tape on a garment or bag may rip off, so you’ll need to know how to repair the tape as well as the zipper.

The final two “teeth” of the zipper will once again be greater in size. Stoppers for the bottom of the tape are the shapes made of plastic or metal that should keep your pull from slipping off!

The pull and slider are the final two components you’ll need to complete your build. There are two parts to this pull: a slider and a nutcracker. To open or shut a zipper, simply pull the little tab on the pull.

A zipper with a double slider and two pulls, or a two-way separator, may appear from time to time. When it comes to zippers, most of them have a simple closed-end mechanism that allows the slider to be pulled up or down to close or open the teeth.

How to Put a Zipper Back On: 5 Methods

How to fix a zipper

Most of the time, simple equipment like a dinner fork or a pair of pliers can be used to replace a zipper that has come off during the wash. In some cases, a sewing machine or a lot of strong glue will suffice.

After studying the intricate details of a simple zipper, this may seem impossible! When a zipper’s basic components fail, you may be left wondering how to repair it.

It’s as simple as assessing the sort of damage and then picking one of these five basic and straightforward repair options!

1. With a Fork

One of the most common ways to fix a damaged zipper is with a fork, which almost everyone has lying around the house.

If the zipper pull has come off on one or both sides, you can use the fork method to reattach it. Using this method will not work if your teeth are curved or broken, or the tape has peeled away from the fabric of your garment.

To get the zipper’s zipper pull back in place:

  1. Find a dinner fork that isn’t too big.
  2. Make sure the fork’s middle prongs fit within the slider’s empty space by putting the zipper pull on top of the fork’s middle prongs.
  3. After that, carefully place the zipper’s bottom stopper over the fork’s left and right prongs.
  4. Slide the stopper slowly up the fork prongs and onto the teeth of the zipper.
  5. The teeth should begin to close and mesh together.
  6. As you draw the zipper closer to you, squeeze it shut.

2. With Pliers

With a few simple household tools, such as pliers, you can also fix many broken zippers with just a few strokes of your fingers.

To mend a zipper with pliers, you must first remove the bottom stopper, which means you will need to buy or produce new stoppers if you use this method.

The pull and slider must be removed from the teeth on one or both sides for this method to operate. Using a different procedure if you have damaged cloth or if the fabric tape has torn away can be found later in this section.

Pliers can be used to mend a zipper.

  1. Using pliers, remove the zipper’s teeth and bottom stoppers. Your pull and slider’s size will determine how much of the bottom two or three inches of the tape you need to remove.
  2. Slide the zipper pull over the exposed fabric and secure it in place. Right-side-up for a closed zipper; upside-down for an open one, such that the pull is visible from the inside.
  3. Then, with one hand holding the teeth taut, slip the pull from the fabric up onto the teeth with the other hand.
  4. To ensure that the teeth of the zipper chain are properly meshing, pull the slider up and down the chain several times.
  5. To finish, you’ll need to replace the zipper’s bottom stoppers with new ones and then use your pliers to close them. There’s a good chance the slider and pull will stay in place this way. A crafting store is a good place to look for these items, but you can also buy them online from Amazon or Etsy.

Super glue can be used in place of the zipper stopper if you’re feeling very inventive. However, you should proceed with caution to avoid accidently gluing the zipper shut.

3. With a Sewing Machine

There are several varieties of zippers that, if you have a sewing machine at hand, can be repaired in minutes.

Zipper sewing is required in certain situations. It is necessary to sew the zipper tape back into place if you discover dangling threads or a gaping hole in the fabric of your clothing.

Hand stitching with a needle and thread is an option, but you’d have to go through some thick material to do it. With a sewing machine, the process will be much more manageable.

It is possible to use a modified version of this approach to replace a broken zipper with a new zipper if you locate a lot of broken or bent teeth.

Using a sewing machine to fix a zipper

  1. Put the zipper tape back on the fabric of the garment using sewing pins or quilting clips. In order to keep the zipper fixed to the garment, line up the free portion of tape with that portion of the zipper.
  2. Using thread that matches the clothing and a zipper foot, stitch the garment. A zipper presser foot features an open side that allows the needle to stitch right up to the metal teeth’s outer edge.
  3. Zipper tape should be pinned at this point, and the presser foot should be placed immediately above the pinned portion of the zipper tape.
  4. To lower the needle, depress the presser foot and turn the handwheel.
  5. Stitch down the torn-out section of tape, and then stitch back up with the remaining stitching in the tape that is below the gap you just created.
  6. Clip the ends of your threads neatly.
  7. Check that the repaired zipper works by sliding the pull up and down.

If you need to completely replace a zipper, you can utilize a little more complex variation of this procedure. Using a seam ripper, you’ll first need to remove the broken zipper. Then pin a new zipper in position and sew it down with a zipper foot in the same manner as before.

To complete the zipper, run a stitch along the bottom of it. As a bottom stopper, this ensures that the pull does not fall off!

4. With Glue

Gluing a loose zipper back into place is possible in some circumstances. Using this approach may be an option if your zipper has come loose from a material that is difficult to sew, like a suitcase or pair of boots.

The best way to repair a zipper that’s been torn:

  1. Decide where the ripped-away zipper section should go. If a significant amount of the tape has come undone, marking the location of the zipper with a chalk line is a good idea.
  2. A small line of super glue should be drawn on the item where the loose zipper tape is to be attached.
  3. Smooth the tape (the zipper’s fabric portion) gently onto the glue. Get the glue out of your mouth as soon as possible to avoid damaging the teeth.
  4. Clamp the zipper in place using binder clips or small woodworking clamps while the glue dries. Let the zipper sit for the recommended time per the glue bottle’s directions.
  5. Make sure you remove the clips before you try to compress and unzip the file again!

5. Replace Zipper Pull

Occasionally, an item of clothing can be saved by simply changing the zipper pull. Just buy a new pull and reinsert the teeth with it if the zipper’s slider and pull have been lost, and your zipper will work again!

Most sewing and craft stores, such as Joann Fabric and Michaels, sell zipper pulls for a reasonable price online or in their aisles. You may also purchase inexpensive zipper repair kits that include all of these parts, as well as additional useful equipment like a pair of pliers.

You may possibly have a damaged pull in which the slider has been smashed and cannot go up and down the teeth on occasion. Replacing the pull with a new, better-functioning one is the most straightforward solution in this situation.

Using a fork or pliers, you can swap out a zipper pull. Getting the new zipper pull past the top stop is the trick here. Since you won’t have to remove any teeth with the fork procedure, that might be your best bet.

How Do You Reattach a Zipper That Came Off One Side?

Using pliers, you may reattach a zipper that has fallen off one side.

To use this technique, you’ll need a small pair of pliers, preferably chain-nose pliers, because they have a flat grip.

  1. Start by finding the slider under the pull. U-shaped grips are needed to keep this little metal component in place on the teeth.
  2. The free side of the slider has a U-shape that can be loosened using pliers. It is also necessary to detach the slider’s side that is still connected to the teeth.
  3. Use the pliers to force the U shape back into place on both sides of the unbent slider.
  4. Remove the zipper’s zipper stoppers from the zipper’s upper portion. That job may necessitate the use of larger pliers.
  5. After easing the slider onto the fabric, reposition it on the teeth. The fork method may be necessary if this becomes too tough.
  6. The zipper’s upper stops should be replaced.

How to Put a Zipper Back On Clothing

Using one of the five simple procedures outlined in this article, you’ll nearly always get a zipper working again. However, there may be some unique situations that arise based on the type of apparel you’re wearing.

On a Dress

Fixing a broken dress zipper is complicated by the fact that the zipper can be highly apparent or even invisible. You won’t be able to wear the garment unless you fix the closure, too!

If the pull tab or seams tear on your dress zipper, you’re not alone.

Pull tabs that are missing:

  • Instead of pulling on the slider, insert a paperclip. In a pinch, this will do!
  • If it doesn’t work, or if the slider has come off the zipper, you’ll need to get a new one. To install it, you may either follow the included instructions or just use a fork.
  • For an invisible zipper with small teeth, you may need to use small jewelry pliers and utilize the plier method to secure the pull.

For a seam that has been torn:

Using the sewing machine approach previously outlined in this article, sew the zipper tape back onto the garment if it has come loose. On the other hand, if you’re patching a dress, you’ll probably want to go the extra mile to keep the outside from showing signs of the repair.

It’s a little more time-consuming, but many couture designers utilize this process to create gorgeous zippers!

  1. After carefully removing the dress’ zipper with a seam ripper, you’re good to go. Make sure everything is working properly by going up and down a few times. Retighten the tape if there are any slack threads.
  2. Using a basting stitch on your machine, sew the seam where the zipper is to be temporarily closed. Reattaching the zipper will be much easier with a line like this.
  3. You can attach one side to the seam allowance using sewing pins, but you’ll need to unzip the zipper before you can do this. If you don’t do this, the open teeth will not be aligned with the basted seam.
  4. To sew the pinned tape into the seam allowance on one side of the zipper, use the zipper presser foot.
  5. Make sure you follow the same procedure to attach the other side of the zipper tape to the seam allowance.
  6. Using a seam ripper or small embroidery scissors, carefully remove your basting stitches.
  7. You can hand-sew the tape and seam allowance to the dress by using a needle and thread in the color of the dress. To ensure that these stitches don’t show on the outside of the dress, make them as small as possible! At this stage, you’ll also want to sew a few stitches over the zipper’s bottom.
  8. Open and close the zipper a few times to make sure it’s all the way shut!

On a Jacket

When it comes to fixing a zipper on a jacket, you have greater leeway. Do you even notice a broken zipper on your jacket if you seldom wear it closed, for example?

It’s possible that you’ll need to attempt a few different approaches to get your jacket closed again in order to stay warm.

  • Using a little zipper wax or petroleum jelly on the teeth may help a stuck zipper get some oomph. For this method, Windex or lip gloss may also be useful.
  • If the pull tab is missing, but the slider is still in place, try adding a keyring in its stead! As a bonus, it may also work to fix the issue!
  • Using a fork or pliers, put an entirely new pull in the slider if it is missing. Most craft supply stores sell these for under a buck.
  • One of the most prevalent zipper problems is that they can become caught in the garment’s fabric. If this is the case, gently peel the tangled cloth free with your hands. Before attempting to re-zip the jacket, make sure there isn’t any hair or grime stuck to the zipper’s teeth.


Zipper problems with jeans are prevalent, and one of the most common is that the teeth won’t shut no matter how many times you pull the tab. You’ll need to zip up your jeans if you want to use these tips!

  • Occasionally, you’ll observe the teeth protruding apart from each other. When the slider is run over the teeth, the teeth are worn down and do not fit together properly. Using a bar of soap on the teeth may help.
  • As an alternative, you may need to use pliers to remove the slider and re-bend the metal parts that keep the slider in place on teeth. Zipping them up will need you to bend the flaps over the teeth once more. You may have to do this numerous times to get the slider to engage the teeth again.
  • Consider taking your jeans to a tailor if the tape rips and you can see loose stitching in them. The cost of repairing a zipper is likely to be between $10 and $15. It’s difficult to stitch jeans by hand since most sewing machines aren’t designed to handle the thick layers of hefty material.


A damaged zipper in your pants can be fixed using any of the five ways discussed in this article.

  • The fork method can be used to re-align a zipper’s zipper pull if it has come off one or both sides.
  • Using a sewing machine, you can repair a zipper tape that has come loose from the fabric of the trouser leg.
  • Use a round key ring as a short-term remedy if your zipper pull won’t stay up since it’s an old, well-used zipper. You can then fasten the metal ring to your jeans with a button. Another option is to try the same approach but with a little rubber band instead.

On a Lunchbox or Pencil Case

Zippers that have snapped off lunchboxes or pencil cases can easily be repaired using a simple glue procedure discussed earlier in this post.

With three-dimensional products like bags and cases, sewing machines may not be able to repair the zipper.

Replace the zipper tape by gluing it to the torn edge with fabric glue or superglue. You may also want to consider putting an additional piece of fabric inside the bag over the edge of the tape. Hopefully, this will help keep the zipper tape from pulling away again!


Don’t freak out the next time your zipper won’t zip because you can typically reattach it. There are many simple methods that can be used to get the job done. Most craft stores include replacement parts like sliders and pulls, which can be purchased at a low cost.

If you don’t want your repair to be noticeable, you may have to put in a bit more effort, such as sewing a zipper back into a garment using a couture hand-sewing technique. Key ring or rubber band can be used in an emergency to keep your zipper from falling down until you can mend it properly!

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