Almost everyone who has worn a garment with a zipper, or used a bag with a zipper, has had that moment when the zipper is closing but it’s awkward and stiff, and then it sticks. What you do after that moment when the zipper first sticks can determine if you are going to break the zipper or save it.
You can damage a zipper that does not quite work right by forcing it to open or close, but there are ways to make a zipper work easier. You can jam a zipper if the fabric surrounding the zipper is too floppy. You will need to sew the fabric down to get it out of the way for this problem. Your zippers can also be difficult to open if the teeth or coils get corroded. To fix this, you need to treat the teeth or coils to make the zipper work easier.
The Sewing Notions You Need to Make a Zipper Work Easier
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing thread
- Hand sewing needle
- Distilled white vinegar
- Candle wax or bar soap
- Pull the zipper up and down slowly to see why it is sticking. If fabric is getting caught in the zipper pull, you need to sew the excess fabric down to make the zipper work easier. If the teeth or coils seem to be coated with something dry or sticky you need to treat or coat them to make the zipper work easier.
- Spread the zipper edge out flat on the table if the problem is excess fabric, so you can see the places where excess fabric is in the zipper's path. Fold the excess fabric under and pin it down using the straight pins.
- Thread the hand sewing needle and make a small knot, tying the thread ends together. Slide the needle's tip into the folded fabric, about 1/16 inch in, to hide the knot. Bring the needle tip out, catching about two strands of the fabric's fibers. Pull the thread snug.
- Move the needle's tip across to the zipper tape, about 1/16 inch forward and catch about two strands of fiber on the zipper tape. Pull until the thread is snug again, but not tight. Repeat the 1/16 inch stitching until you reach the end of the folded excess fabric.
- Dip the toothbrush in distilled white vinegar if the zipper teeth or coils appear the be dry or sticky. Brush the vinegar into the zipper teeth. Let the vinegar soak in for about ten minutes, then dip the brush in vinegar and scrub again. Let the zipper teeth air dry.
- Rub the hard candle wax or bar soap against the zipper teeth. Use firm pressure when you rub, but do not rub so hard the wax or soap crumbles or gets on the fabric. Gently pull the zipper's slider up and down two or three times to spread the wax over the zipper teeth.