Fix It: Replacing A Zip


It’s so annoying when a zip breaks isn’t it?! This happened to one of the skirts I had made, rendering it unwearable until I got around to fixing it. Is it just me that finds repairs boring? Which is silly, because it took about an hour and a half to replace the zip!


The first thing to do is to unpick the old zip, which will include unpicking any facings and the seam a little further than the zip.


It will then look something like this.


The next thing to do is to pin the new zip into the gap left by the old zip. This was a little easier than inserting the zip in the first place as the fabric was already folded back by the seam allowance. This is a lapped zip, not an invisible one, though the principle is the same. With the skirt inside out, place the zip face own with the teeth along the seam allowance fold.


Make sure you only pin through one layer of fabric and not the one underneath – you should be able to flatten out the seam allowance so it looks like below. This will allow you to sew the zip without catching the rest of the skirt in the machine.


Then you get to the exciting part of sewing in the zip. You’ll have to use a zip foot (or an invisible zip foot if you’re replacing an invisible zip). You’ll only be able to sew as far as the head of the zip. Repeat this on both sides, taking out the pins as you go.


It should then look something like this on the inside.


You now have to stitch up the seam that you unpicked when you unpicked the zip. You’ll need to fold the seam like this, with the zip sandwiched in between. You’ll want to hold the tail of the zip out of the way of the seam. Using a zip foot will make it easier to sew as close to the zip as possible.


You’ll need to sew the seam to overlap with the stitching attaching the zip, like below. If the lines of stitching don’t overlap, you’ll probably have a hole in the seam.


To get my zip out I needed to unpick the seam at the top of my skirt, attaching the facing. So I needed to sew this back in place, having unpicked a bit further along the hand-stitching at the bottom of the facing to gain access to the seam. (This looks weird because it has interfacing under the facing.)


It’s quite difficult to tell from my photos which seam I’m talking about, so I drew some little lines to help! If your zip is in a skirt, you’ll almost certainly have to fix the seam at the top of the zip.


The last thing left was to resew the facing to the zip and along the bottom – where the pins are.



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