Between October and March seemed to have been my busiest time for zipper replacement and repairs. My most undesired alteration request was to replace zippers. Despite the time it takes to provide a replacement that looked and functioned great, clients were always appreciative.
Remember the saying “You get what you pay for” when purchasing your zipper. I personally use the YKK metal zippers for most jacket repairs, most especially leather coats. The YKK zippers have strength and are durable. I have also used the heavy duty plastic YKK zippers with success.
This does not mean that other zippers will not be worth the investment, you just need to know what type of zipper is best for your type of replacement project, as well as the quality.
Replacements are needed when:
- the pin (the part that feeds into the slider) is pulling away from the zipper tape and fraying.
- teeth are missing on the zipper
- the tape is pulling away and fraying from jacket
- the stopper on the bottom is missing
Repairs can be done when:
- the zipper doesn’t keep your garment closed (not always, but most often this can be a “fix”)
- the slider comes off…SAVE this piece for your seamstress/tailor who might be repairing this for you. Sometimes it can be fixed, but if he/she knows the correct slider size, it will be easier for them to replace it.
- the pull comes off the slider. SAVE the pull when it comes off. Sometimes it can be used, usually not. You might end up needed the complete pull replaced.
Just remember, to keep all pieces when you bring your garment to have the zipper work done. It is much more cost effective to have a zipper repaired, vs having it replaced, as the time is very different.
Now, the best tip is to keep your zipper in working order, for as long as possible is to always keep it lubricated. Once a year is a good system, although my preference is two times, once at the beginning of the season, and then at the end. Use “zipper ease” a product that has a healthy lube for zippers I used to provide my clients for a few dollars, a bar of soap, or bees wax.
If your garment (or camping gear such as a tent) gets dirty, while unzipped, lightly brush the zipper teeth with a small brush, such as a toothbrush to remove the dirt, then lubricate. Run the zipper up and down a few times to make sure it doesn’t get stuck. Never force a zipper beyond a point where it has difficulty, as you will encourage it to break, resulting the costly expense of the replacement.
The better you care for your garment, the longer it will last. But also, don’t be afraid to spend good money on a quality garment. They last longer, and the repair is usually worth the cost.
Keep your zipper healthy,