Aunt Toby’s repair basket probably has at least as many pairs of blue jeans that do NOT have rips or tears in them as she does the other sort. They are there because of ‘zipper failure’. Do not ask me why this happens – these zips started out life as vigorous metal zippers but many times lose the pull or the top stop or something and then the only thing holding the owner in is a hardy sense of decorum and the top button. And perhaps some safety pins. It’s really quite annoying because most of the time the zip fails before anything else fails and because we all see replacing a zip in an already finished garment as being too much work, the jeans end up in the repair basket or thrown away.
Very sad. Because basically, what replacing a zip entails is:
1) Finding another zip. If you have another ‘ready for the dump’ pair of jeans with a good zip, then take THAT zip out to use. WARNING: when you are taking it out, just before you remove the whole thing, take a needle and thread, butt up the top of the metal teeth together and sew firmly just above the teeth. These zippers do not have a top stop on them and as I demonstrated in one of the videos, if you just remove it and do the natural thing (which is to zip the zipper closed), then WHOOPS! the zipper pull comes right off in your hand. No more useful zipper. So, sew it together at the top so that you don’t lose the pull off the ends.
If you do not have another zip to use, buy a 9″ metal toothed zipper (these are marketed as ‘jean zippers”) at your local ‘extremely large national chain of whatever passes as a sewing store” these days.
2) Take out the old zip.
3) Lining up the left hand (as it faces you) top of the new zip and snuggle it up underneath both the waistband and the extra flap (see video). Sew down the zip under the flap and with the fly facing.
4) Lining up the right hand top of the new zip underneath the right hand part (as it faces you) of the fly, pin that down and sew it down to the bottom, being careful to ‘take a left’ when you get close to the bottom of the zipper. Be sure to avoid the metal bottom stop. That is a guaranteed ‘needle buster’ if you hit it. Find it and mark it before you start down.
Enjoy the videos. For those folks who do not want to fiddle with a new zip but who DO wish to not embarrass their friends by walking around with undone flies, see Part 2.