The Expert Zipper Repair Edge

A pair of J. Crew 770 straight jeans with the fly unzipped, revealing broken zipper teeth in need of repairs. This is how many jeans look before being repaired by properly replacing the entire zipper. DIY techniques such as stitching the teeth do not work when the teeth have broken in the middle or higher up from the bottom. The best and most professional technique is to totally replace the zipper with a new one at Williamsburg Garment Company.

By Maurice Malone Published February 25, 2024

If you recently broke the zipper on your jeans and found them separated and unable to zip, you probably searched and found DIY solutions that involve tacking the zipper tape with a stitch just below or above the missing teeth. The purpose is that once the zipper pull is back onto the tape, the stitch prevents the slider from going down or up far enough to reach the area with the missing teeth.

This could be a temporary hack that could solve the separation problem, as long as the metal zipper head does not accidentally tear through the thread. However, what if the zipper's teeth were broken anywhere except at the very bottom or top of the zipper, like in the middle?

What do you do? This DIY hack simply doesn't apply.

Expert zipper replacement is the answer

We understand it's difficult to notice what we did to repair this zipper, but that's the goal. When we make alterations, we want to make them virtually undetectable.

A look at the finished zipper repair on a pair of J. Crew 770 straight jeans with broken zipper teeth, after Williamsburg Garment Company fixed the jeans zipper. The only noticeable trace of new sewing is the joined stitching on the waistband's interior.

Looking closely, you can see that we used matching navy stitching on the zipper tape, whereas the original used a contrasting thread color. You may also see that the chain stitch on the inside of the waistband near the keyhole has been replaced with new stitching after we replaced the zipper.

A view of the exterior side of J. Crew jeans, which had broken zipper teeth that were repaired by replacing the entire zipper and sewing the front panel back together to match the original jeans' sewing.

What causes jeans zippers to break

Now, let's examine the jeans from an external perspective. Our mastery, coupled with specialized denim factory equipment, distinguishes our craftsmanship from that of ordinary tailors and the majority of denim specialists.

In the realm of jeans construction and design, bar tacks play a pivotal role. Even the biggest denim brands occasionally overlook the crucial placement of bar tacks, leading to potential zipper failures due to unsupported stress when the zipper is open.

Properly positioned bar tacks should be situated low on the fly, ensuring that when the jeans are unzipped, the primary stress is borne by the tacked areas rather than the zipper teeth. Placing the bar tack too low shifts the strain of an open fly when lowering or pulling up the jeans over the hips onto the zipper teeth.

Similarly, zipper teeth may break above the lowest point of the fly if the zipper head isn't fully lowered to where it securely rests at the bottom, benefiting from the reinforcement of bar tack support.