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Zipper Installation Fixes for Common Problems

Slipped sliders and backward installations can be corrected
Threads #185, June/July 2016

Every once in a while, something goes wrong with a zipper installation. Your first impulse might be to remove and reinstall the zipper, but if major disassembly is necessary, the garment could be damaged. Often, other corrective measures can be just as effective and eliminate the risk of damage.

Here are a couple of reliable zipper installation fixes based on problems students have presented me with over the years.

One of my students once installed a metal zipper into a strapless dress foundation—backward. The slider faced the garment’s inside. Before ripping it out, she consulted me, and we hit on the solution described on the next page.

Another student installed a zipper in a trouser fly and forgot to pull the slider down before cutting the zipper to length. The slider was on the portion of the zipper she cut away. Before she could reinstall the slider on the zipper teeth, the zipper opened. Luckily, we found a solution to this problem as well.

Reattach a slipped slider from the bottom

If a zipper slider slips off the zipper teeth while you’re installing it—apt to happen when the zipper is cut to length from the top—it’s not necessary to rip out the zipper and install a new one. This solution works on most zippers, but is a little trickier when repairing an invisible zipper.

Instead of taking out the installed zipper, remove the bottom stop and reattach the slider from the zipper bottom, as if it were a separating zipper. Once it catches both sides of the zipper and you can push it up a bit from below, zip up the zipper a couple of inches, and stitch a new bottom stop.

Illustration of prying off the bottom stop.

Fix a backward slider from the top

If you’ve accidentally installed a…

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