Fixing a Zipper When the Pull Breaks Off


We are blessed by hand me downs. While our stash of hand me downs typically arrives in excellent condition, at one time or another, we often struggle with jacket zippers.

Some zipper issues might take a little skill, finesse and practice to repair, but many zipper repairs anyone can do easily and cheaply.



With this jacket, the entire zipper pull came off during an incident at recess. All you need to repair this situation is a new zipper pull, scissors, and a zipper top stop (I used fabric, needle and thread, but zipper repair kits come with metal ones you can often pinch on with pliers).

You can figure out the size of the zipper pull you need by looking for a number on the back of your zipper pull, or by measuring the distance across the zipper teeth when zipped (or pushed together like it was zipped).


Once you have your measurement (this was 5mm), you need to find your replacement parts. I ordered this kit from (affiliate link), but you may need to find something that matches the zipper color.


The zipper pull belongs on the side with the thick bottom stop that looks like this:


You want to pull off the top stop on that side (the big tooth/bead at the top). Ideally you can pull it off nicely with pliers, so the zipper fabric is available for clamping on a new stop.


I couldn’t pull mine off nicely, so I snipped it off with scissors.


Your new zipper pull should just slide on right now. I slid mine on and zipped up the jacket to make sure it worked.


Now you’ll need to replace or create a top stop to keep the zipper pull from sliding right off the top and getting lost on the playground, school bus or coat closet. Here, I folded up a couple inches of pink lacing that matches the jacket and stitched it on by hand. Make sure to cover the top few teeth so the zipper wouldn’t catch or start to fall off.


I repeated this for the other side to make it symmetric (both for zipper functionality and looks).


Done! It took less than $7 for the whole zipper kit and about 7 minutes of work time. This jacket came from a pair of sisters, will have gone through my two girls and (after I clean up the velcro) will be ready for Sarah’s girls when the time comes!

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