Do you have a purse, bag, or zippered pouch with a missing zipper pull and/or damaged zipper tape? Have you considered replacing that zipper instead of replacing your bag? It’s often less expensive to replace that zipper than to purchase an entirely new bag, purse or zippered pouch. This post is a how to replace a zipper tutorial.
- replacement zipper
- seam ripper
- measuring tape
- sewing machine
- zipper foot or narrow zipper foot
Step 1 Evaluate Your Bag
Evaluate the condition of your bag, purse, or pouch before you commit to replacing your zipper, It’s not worthwhile proceeding if the fabric is overly worn. For example, the pink lining of this floral zippered pouch had several holes in the it. The largest hole was over an inch across, and it wasn’t a worthwhile use of my time to repair the lining and replace the zipper.
The fabric of the boxy, pink and black zippered pouch was in much better shape so replacing it’s zipper was worthwhile.
Step 2 Remove Old Zipper
Removing the old zipper is the most time consuming step of this process. A seam ripper is the best tool for the job. You may need to use a little bit of force, but be careful not to rip or tear the fabric of your bag. Play close attention to how the ends of the old zipper are finished so that you can replicate the finishing with your new zipper. If the ends of the zipper tape are finished with fabric strips (fabric zipper stops) you may either rip the stitches and re-use the same strips or you may fashion new strips for your new zipper. The ends of the zipper tape and the interior seams of the boxy zipper pouch were finished with folded grosgrain ribbon. I removed the ribbon carefully so that could reuse it.
You will also need a turning gap so there may be more seam ripping than anticipated. Bags and purses often have a turning gap along the bottom or side seam of the lining. If you can’t find the original turning gap, create a new one at either of these locations.
For the boxy zipper pouch, it was easy to completely separate the lining and exterior.
Aim to rip just enough of your bag, purse or pouch so that you have easy access to a flat area of fabric along either size of the zipper opening.
Step 3 Prepare New Zipper
Use the old zipper to determine the required length of the new zipper. Using the same quality of zipper is optional. I decided to replace the #3 nylon coil zipper in this black and pink pouch with a more robust #5 coil zipper.
Step 4 Sew New Zipper
Open the zipper half way. Unfold the seam allowance along the bag’s exterior and place it face up on your workspace. Place the zipper coil side down with the edge of the zipper tape aligned along the edge of the seam allowance. Pin or baste in place.
Place the bag’s interior face up on the zipper and align the unfolded seam allowance along the zipper tape.
Pin then use either a zipper foot or a narrow zipper foot to sew with a 1/4” seam allowance. Turn the bag right side out and press along the zipper.
Top stitch along the zipper ~ 1/8” from the edge of the fabric.
Repeat for the other edge of the zipper tape and the other edges of the zipper opening.
Step 5 Re-assemble Bag
Turn your bag inside out (with the zipper open halfway) or turn the lining inside out as appropriate and sew the turning gap closed. Turn your bag right side out or push the lining back into place when you’re done.
That’s it! There are only five steps in this how to replace a zipper tutorial! Your bag, purse, or pouch is now fully functional again!
Here are some photos of my zippered pouch with a new zipper.
Replacing a zipper is a great way to increase the longevity of your bag, purse or zippered pouch. A new zipper with a different color than the old zipper can change the look of your bag. Similarly, new fabric zipper stops can add a hint of color. Overall, it can be more cost effective to replace a zipper than buy a new bag.
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