Broken zipper? No need to replace your pants. Replace the zipper.
Sewing On Zippers
It's one thing to sew on a zipper for a project you are sewing from start to finish. But it's a different thing entirely to replace a zipper on ready to wear garments.
I detach the zipper from the waistband and the fly including the bar tacks. Then I clean up all the loose threads. Sewing tweezers are great for getting all the little bits. I unpick very little of the waistband, just enough to slip the old zipper out. The construction of these pants is just one piece of fabric folded and sewn. Also, the zipper edges align with the folded edges of the fabric, which made aligning the new zipper easier.
I baste the new zipper in place. Pins can make the zipper not lay flat and can also easily poke you as you sew in tight spaces. I place the new zipper in the same spot as the old zipper. It nicely aligns with the folded edge of the fabric. I start at the bottom, making sure the zipper stop is in the right place. Here is a before picture. You can see where the zipper stop should be and notice also that the zipper tape is folded in and out of the way.
Sew on Zipper
I use a zipper foot for sewing on the zipper. I align the zipper teeth using the zipper foot. I sew on the right side of the zipper foot, as that is how the zipper was originally sewn in place. I do my best to be as neat as possible in this step as this will show on the front of the pants. I am not able to sew at the beginning or the end of the zipper with a zipper foot. But I'll show you how I work around that later. It's very important to move the zipper pull out of the way before cutting.
I close the pants and align them. The edge of the zipper aligns nicely with the edge of the fold in the fabric. I baste the zipper in place. Then unzip it and sew it, trimming away the excess bit of zipper and tucking it in under the waistband.
Bar tacks are important to hold everything in place and reinforce areas that come under stress. This is the time to put them back. As I cannot get the regular foot in this area, I use my button foot instead. I set my machine to zigzag with a stitch length of zero and a width of 2.5. I double check that my needle would not hit the foot. Then I make several stitches to hold the zipper down.
I forgot to take an after picture. But on the back side, I hand stitched closed with the zipper tape tucked it. This held it nicely. On the front side I was then able to stitch the bar tacks on again using a standard foot.
I reattach the waistband and any other stitching needed to neaten things up.
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