One of the most common zipper malfunctions is a split zipper. You’ve probably had this happen to you with a jacket or coat zipper. After zipping your jacket, the zipper separates or splits open. Most people think that a split zipper must be replaced, but that is not always the case.
I have fixed split or separating zippers many times without doing any sewing at all. I’ll tell you how.
Here’s the most recent split zipper that I fixed in a matter of minutes without even picking up a needle or thread. This particular zipper was on a work vest, and as soon as the owner zipped it, the zipper would split open every time.
Often the problem is not with the zipper, but with the zipper slide. The zipper slide is the metal piece that slides up and down the zipper. The zipper slide can stretch out of shape with use. To fix the zipper and prevent it from separating, you may be able to tighten up the zipper slide by pinching it ever so slightly with a pair of pliers. (If your zipper slide is plastic and not metal, then this technique will not work, and the zipper will have to be replaced.)
I have a pair of pliers specially made for zipper repair, but a regular pair of needle nose pliers should work for you. You can see from this picture that I am using my pliers to squeeze the zipper slide just a tiny bit tighter. Don’t squeeze too hard with the pliers or the slide won’t move up and down the zipper at all!
I recommend tightening one side of the zipper slide and then trying the zipper out again. If it still separates, then try tightening the other side of the slide, too.
After I tightened this zipper slide, I was able to zip the vest closed. I pulled on it a few times trying to make it separate, but it wouldn’t. Ah, I’m so happy that I was able to fix this one this way. I certainly did not want to replace this zipper!
If you’ve got a jacket, coat, or any other item with a separating zipper, I hope you will give this technique a try.
I do not guarantee that a quick pinch of the zipper slide will fix your zipper. Sometimes zippers really do need to be replaced, but I always recommend trying this method of repair first.