The zipper turned out great, but one thing that I noticed is the new zipper isn't quite as long as the old one.
Projects, Sewing

Back to Basics – Replacing a Zipper

Zippers are great, but they can quickly become a pain if they lose teeth, start to split, or if the stops or insertion pin go missing. It doesn’t mean you need to buy a replacement garment, you could just replace the zipper.

This may seem like a really daunting job, however it’s much easier than you think. If you have a sewing machine you’ll need a zipper foot. Or you could even hand sew a zipper in, especially if it’s a small job.

I’m going to be replacing the zipper in a thermal hoody. This particular zipper replacement has some additional details that I thought would be interesting to share, but are not necessary in replacing your run of the mill zipper. The zipper in this hoody had lost it’s insertion pin. (The insertion pin is the part of the zipper you insert into the slider body to do up a zipper.)

This is why the zipper needed to be replaced.

Here’s what you will need for this project.

  • Zipper
  • Zipper foot for your machine
  • Thread
  • Stitch ripper
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Pins

Here's what you will need to replace a zipper.

Before going to the fabric store or haberdashery make sure to measure the existing zipper to ensure that you purchase the correct size for the garment. Zippers are also made of different materials depending on the intended use. You can also find invisible, open ended, or even two way. These features will be noted on the packaging if it is a specialty zipper. With the heaviness of this thermal hoody, I chose an outerwear zipper for this project.

Taking your stitch ripper start by removing the damaged zipper.

Once you get the removal process started it really gets moving.

Once you get in started I find it’s easiest to rip the stitches from the area between the zipper and the garment. While removing the zipper, the place I paid the most attention to was at the neck. This is where the zipper, the body of the hoody and the hood all come together. I only wanted to remove just enough stitches to fully release the zipper.

Once all the points of the hood, body and zipper meet, I carefully removed the stitches and only just enough to release the zipper.

You’ll notice that this zipper has an extra detail that I wanted to preserve and bring over to the new zipper. The zipper edge is encased in a red binding.

Using the stitch ripper to remove the broken zipper.

Once the damaged zipper had been removed from both sides of the hoody, I went back and removed the red binding with the stitch ripper. (This will not be a step with every zipper and is not necessary, I just really liked the look.)

This is a close up of the removal of the edging from the old zipper.

After all the stitches had been removed and all the pieces separated, I then cleaned up both the binding and hoody by removing any lose threads left by the process.


I then pinned the red binding on to the new zipper, making sure to pay extra attention to how it was pinned. I wanted it pinned so everything would get caught by the machine and after I wouldn’t find any areas where the binding was not stitched in.


After that it was time to line up the zipper with the hoody and pin it in place. I started at the neck by folding the top edge of the zipper over and the worked my way down pinning everything in place.

The first side that I did took more than one attempt to get right.

While sewing, I went slowly to make sure to follow the original stitch line. Before I started this part I also changed the needle to one appropriate for heavier weight due to the thickness of the fabrics I was working with. (Regular point – 16/100)

Making sure to take the time to follow the original stitch line.

After lining up the zippers, I pinned the other side in place and followed the same steps.

You can see in one of the pictures below that the bottom of one side of the hoody is a little stretched from use, keep that in mind when pinning in your zipper. It threw me off, having me second guess if things were really lined up properly.

The end result, a zipper that actually works. Well almost, for a new zipper I thought the movement was a little jerky so I got a piece of wax paper to rub over the zipper and it now moves with ease.

Has anyone else been working on any clothing repair projects lately? I’d love to hear about them.

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