Mending 101: Replacing a Zipper

Mending a Zipper Tutorial | Sewoutnumbered

Hands up who hates mending clothes?  (Me! Me! Me!)

When my sister-in-law asked if I’d mend her hoodie by replacing the zipper, I silently groaned except for the fact she was generously babysitting our kids on Saturday night so how could I say no?!

As it turns out it was a really quick and easy job so today I thought I’d show you how I did it so you can start tackling that pile of clothes for mending that I KNOW you have lying around your house.  Tell me I’m wrong!!


  • Jacket (separating) zipper the same length as the original – in this case 56cm
  • Zipper foot for your machine
  • Seam ripper
  • Matching thread

Here was the victim…the zipper pull was missing as well as the stopper.

Mending a Zipper Tutorial | Sewoutnumbered

First job, rip that zipper out!

Start with your seam ripper by pulling out a few threads near the end until you can start releasing the zipper edge away from the fabric.

Mending a Zipper Tutorial | Sewoutnumbered

Once you can get in between the zipper and the fabric, use your seam ripper to pull both lines of stitching at the same time.

Rip, rip, rip!  This bit is really quick now (and somewhat satisfying…)

hoodie replace zip 3

Make sure you remove all the bits of leftover thread so you have a clean slate to work with.

Mending a Zipper Tutorial | Sewoutnumbered

You can see now how easy it would be if you wanted to alter any of your current non-zippered jumpers or hoodies into zippered ones!

Just cut down the centre of the hoodie, finish the edges and move onto the next step of inserting the zipper!  (Before cutting anything, just check to see how you’ll finish the top and bottom edges to ensure you can achieve a neat finish.)

Next job…sew on the new zipper.

If your hoodie fabric is fairly lightweight, it’s a good idea to add a long strip of iron-on interfacing to the edge of the fabric at this stage.  This will help to avoid a “wavy” edge once the zipper is in place.

Separate the zipper into its two parts and line up one side of the zipper aligning the raw edge of the zipper with the raw edge of the fabric, right sides together.

Pin or use Wonder Tape to hold the zipper in position.

Mending a Zipper Tutorial | Sewoutnumbered

Attach the zipper foot to your machine and sew as close to the zipper as you can while achieving a straight line.  Be sure to backstitch at the start and finish.

You will need to stop part way through, lower your needle and move the zipper pull to the other side of your presser foot.

Next, fold your newly sewn zipper back to the finished position.

Now, you need to top stitch approx. 5-7mm (1/4 inch) from the edge of the folded fabric.

You will be sewing through two layers of fleece and the zipper edge so I recommend using a slightly longer stitch length than normal (approx. 3.0).  I also used a denim/jeans needle partly because it was already on my machine but on this thick fleece it also seemed like a good idea.

Mending a Zipper Tutorial | Sewoutnumbered

Now, repeat for the other side.

Hurrah!!!  Mending complete!

Mending a Zipper Tutorial | Sewoutnumbered

A perfect, functioning new zipper in much less time than you’d think!

Mending a Zipper Tutorial | Sewoutnumbered

Want to learn more about zippers?  Check out this FREE Craftsy class on Mastering Zipper Techniques (affiliate link).  The video tutorials are easy to follow so you’ll be an expert in no time!

So, who’s with me?  What are you going to mend this week?

(And if someone asks you to do it for them – don’t forget to ask when they’re going to babysit!)

Happy mending!


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