Replacing a zipper in pants

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After putting this project off for the better part of a year, I finally decided to do some Googling / Pinterest searching to see if this was a project worth undertaking or not. Turns out it’s a pretty simple and quick fix!  These are John’s favourite work pants and clearly go through a lot more wear and tear than the rest. They’d been sitting in our closet for quite a while so I thought it would be a nice surprise if I could fix them one weekend while John was gone.  Less than an hour later and for about $2.00, the pants were ready for work again!

Measure zipper length and buy a replacement zipper. The replacement zipper options weren’t quite the same colour or length as the original, but since it’s not visible, as long as it is long enough and strong enough it will work. I used a 7″ zipper from Fabricland that cost about $1.79.

Cut out the old zipper.  Pull out all the stitches for the old zipper, then cut the old zipper off at the top where it disappears into the waist band of the pants.  I decided to not take apart the waistband in order to minimize the amount of visible stitching required to sew everything back up. Much less pressure this way!!  You will need to rip out some stitches at the bottom of the fly to get the zipper through (the two pieces of fabric that hold the front and back of the fly together).

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Another pair of pants showing which stitches will need to be taken out (plus all of the stitches holding the other (left) half of the zipper.

Cut the new zipper to length and pin in place.  Make sure to not cut the new zipper below the metal stopper otherwise the zipper head will just zip off when doing up the zipper.

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Pinning the new zipper in place.

Sew the new zipper in place!  This was my first time using a zipper foot attachment on my sewing machine so I was pretty excited to try it out. It also made it so easy to sew the zipper on – who would’ve thought?!

Note – for the side of the pants that will be the front (your left when wearing the pants), you won’t be able to sew all the way to the top of the zipper before hitting the waistband with the machine. You will need to finish sewing this part by hand (see below).

Sew the top of the zipper by hand.  

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Finish with the top stitching. This is the one seam that is visible so it needs to be smooth and the thread colour should match (or contrast appropriately) the fabric. You may have the imprint of the previous stitching still in the fabric, but I could hardly see it let alone follow it while sewing, so I just took this seam slowly and hoped for the best!

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Not quite perfect, but definitely good enough to wear again!
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