Monday, January 16, 2012

Fixing a Zipper on RTW

Son Kyle recently (oh, around Thanksgiving) asked me if I could fix the zipper on his Mountain Hard Wear jacket. The pull was gone and some teeth near the bottom were completely broken off. I said, maybe.

My first thought was, heck, I'll just get him a new one. I hadn't bought the current one, as it was a gift from an ex-girlfriend. Actually she didn't buy this one. She bought him a size large. He traded the large with a friend who had a medium but wanted the large. Kyle wanted a medium. Confused yet? But in the bargain, he got the one with the broken zipper.

Anyway, back to my first thought. I discovered those babies are price-y!! Certainly more than I wanted to spend, so repair it was. I bought a separating zipper from Sew True Supply which wasn't quite as long as the coat's, but very close. After doing some research (i.e., I zipped the half of the new zipper to the good half of the old zipper), there was a good chance I would only have to replace half a zipper.

Step 1 then... rip out the old one. As I ripped, I took pictures so I could remember what it looked like. I won't bore you with those, but if you're doing something similar, it's a good, and pretty obvious, way to have a record.

Here it is, sans zipper:
See the "fur". Yep, it was lots of fun to rip that sucker out, especially around the collar and the hem.

OK, then it was just a matter of sewing the new one back in. Boom, sewed it in, just like that. Zipped it up and whoa! There are seams at the yoke and collar that kinda sorta should really be lined up. Whoops. Starting with the yoke seamline, I picked out the stitches around it so that I could finagle it back into lining up. The fabric is stretchy so it was pretty easy. Then I did the same thing by the collar seamline.

You insert the zipper first sewing right sides together, then flip it back and topstitch it folded back. Does that make sense? I did the ripping out, lining up before the final topstitching took place for also obvious reasons.
Finally, the last spot to give me a little trouble was the little piece of fabric that I'm calling the neck guard, up by the collar. Putting it back in was a bit of free style sewing, but if it's not in correctly, no one can tell.
I'm not a huge fan of clothing repairwork, but this is one case where it really, really paid off. The new zipper is about 1/4" shorter than the old one, but again, it doesn't affect, well, anything. Kyle is warm and toasty once again!


  1. Great save on this repair job - but mending is still in the 'yuk' list for me...

  2. Great job on the repair. However, Mountain Hardware, along with many other high end outdoor wear companies, should have a lifetime guarantee on stuff like that. Usually you can take it into any store that is a dealer for their products, they will send it away to be repaired, and you will get it back beautifully repaired free of charge (that's why they charge the big bucks for their stuff).

    a sewing geek AND outdoors buff

  3. Zipper fixes are my absolute most hated job to do, especially on jackets (and jeans). You did an amazing job.



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