How to Fix Separated Nylon Zipper Teeth





Introduction: How to Fix Separated Nylon Zipper Teeth

About: Hello there, I am rather mechanically inclined artist that loves making old things live again. I have gone to school for auto mechanics and welding among other things. I love fixing newer things as well &qu...

So say you are on the trail, you get something from your pack and *pop* your nylon zipper trears away from the fabric. it may still zip with a gap but it will not be long before it causes you an issues like derailing, the gap gets bigger makes you lose something or have to replace the whole thing. So you could get a new zipper. Granted good luck finding a new one hiking. This is not just for the trail it is also for that back pack, messenger bag or purse etc you are just not ready to let go yet but can't get a new zipper on.

Either way this is no problem when you carry a sewing kit.

Step 1: What You Will Need.

  • Needle
  • like color thread (Nylon thread suggested just be sure to have scissors/knife/nail clippers near as it is not a good idea to try break it with your hands or bite it. I am not kidding it will cut you)
  • a separated zipper.

Step 2: Line It Up

Line up the zipper against the fabric with the rest of the attached zipper. For this zipper, the teeth as you can see are on the fabric some may be right on the edge. Either way line it up and try to keep it lined up as much as you can while you sew. This part is important to getting it to zip up properly.

Step 3: Start the Thread

Pull the thread to an even length on both sides through the needle, also it does not need to be really heavy thread. Put knot in your thread (or if you want use other methods to secure the thread from slipping out) and start from inside. You will want to get your first thread placement right next to or a little under were the zipper should be. That is why lining it up is vital.

Step 4: Sew Between Each Tooth

Now here is the tricky(or tedious) part; guiding the thread through each tooth as you sew. Do not worry to much about missing one as you should go back over it again to get teeth you missed and reinforce the stitches. Use your free hand to keep the alignment and steady the item while working. Keep the stitch tight and the thread from laying on the teeth.It just needs to be between.

Low on thread? Start the first stitch a bit before the separation and loop it through to the end,as you go along making every stitch count you should be fine. Tie off at the end.

Step 5: Almost There...

Keep going between each tooth till you reach the end and a little beyond. Then if you wish go back over it again in reverse (sewing from outside down through the teeth to the inside) stitching past where it had separated/you began. This will make it a lot stronger but if you can not expend the thread do not worry to much about it.

Step 6: Secure It.

I personally sew through a close to the last inner stitch/not visible area on the inside and tie it or use the rest of the thread to sew in one spot repeatedly till it would take cutting i to remove it.

Step 7: Done!

Zip it and get on your way.



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    There are still some old fashioned shoe and leather repair places that can fix these type things or replace the zipper---or even replace the zipper pull. We had a leather motorcycle jacket--not a cheap item!--that needed a new pull; the actual section on the pull that holds the pull tab snapped off making it almost impossible to pull up or down. So---we found a place; the guy opened the metal tab at the top if the zipper ( a nice beefy YKK--look f0r those when buying new or used!) and slid off the old pull and slid on a new one and re-clamped the little metal end tab. Cost? Under $10---for a new jacket form this brand of jacket--over $300. Even if you need to replace an entire metal zipper it might very well be worth it--a new decent leather item can cost a lot if you can find decent quality at all or at what price---vintage items can be salvaged for a lot less than new and often these are better quality and you did not need to shop and spend many times the price for inferior work.

    Also--if you have a zipper that only needs the pull TAB (where the little "D: shaped part is intact but the pull came off or got damaged) you can go on eBay or Amazon and buy REPLACEMENT ZIPPER PULLS--these slide open like a scissor; clip over the "D" section and then you slide them back and "lock" them in place. These cost abut $2 each; come in many metal finishes and sizes and are good to always have on hand in your sewing kit. Takes less time to do then it took to read this!

    2 replies

    45 years ago I noticed the YKK on first one jacket ,then my jeans-shorts-windbreakers-dress pants and thought what does the YKK stand for? "Yonkers Kneading and Knotting"club? Then I asked Mom the above board home seamstress and she said "YouKnotKnow" Tonight at age 61 I looked it up on the Web and it will never worry me while I'm on the Throne again!

    It just means the manufacturer is YKK Fastening Products Group. I'd guess they only put YKK on because there isn't room for YKK Fastening Products Group.

    I did this on a pair of boots and you can hardly tell from a few feet away. It lasted about eight months and I did it again. Finally: the boots are worn out and have become my yard boots and it does not matter. For those on a limited budget and a bit of time in the evening, this will stretch out a few dollars. Keep it up.


    I've been a sewing professional for over 30 years. This is only a temporary fix, and will not be very attractive. For nicer items and long-term use, seek out a professional in luggage/shoe repair shop or an upholsterer to replace at least half of the zipper if not the whole thing for items that you want to maintain in more pristine fashion.
    Also note, normal sewing thread is not strong enough to last many zips. A heavier thread would last a bit longer.

    terrific idea, note also if you pull comes off as has happened my heavy boots and motorcycle jacket I use a metal key ring. Just open it and slide one end in turning as you go. Been working for years on my leather jacket,



    I have a jacket with almost exactly that problem. I guess I have to show this article to my wife so she can fix it.

    2 replies

    YKK= Year 1,000 + 1,000. Thus year 2,000

    Dude, learn something new today and try to fix it yourself.

    Outstanding fix, thank you!

    Great idea `an tip thanks.

    Excellent !

    Wonderful instructable. We should all "use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without". Often "things" are replaceable, but why not keep the old ones running just a little bit longer? Well done!! Thanks for sharing.

    1 reply

    That's a great repair job, I will remember this as out on the trail it will be something you can't do without.


    Wonderful! Thank you!

    Hi I use to be a shoe repair, and also do zips on boots, what a pain in the backside.

    That is very handy to know. Thanks for sharing

    I haven't had this problem (yet!) but this is great to know. Hand and machine stitching has saved many items of mine and my kids. A little needle, thread and patience is worth it! Thank you for sharing!

    NICE!....I have a very cool suitcase that ripped on the very first trip (thanks Airport luggage handlers!), replacing the whole zipper costed as much as a new case so I left as it is and being using it sparingly, I will give it a try and see if there is enough space to sew it.