I tried my hand at zipper repair.

An embarrassingly long time ago, a pair of Sonia’s jeans developed a zipper problem.

how to fix a broken zipper

Or maybe they were Zoe’s?  I don’t really know.

The thing is, they sat in my mending pile so long, everyone here has grown out of them.

I couldn’t really hand down or donate the jeans in their broken condition, though, so I kind of wanted to fix ‘em.

Plus, I thought it would be good to learn how to fix a broken zipper, so I gave it a shot.

(Learning new skills on an item you don’t care about is perfect. No stress.)

I knew Pinterest had a few tutorials on this, so I poked through those to figure out what to do.

The basic idea is that you snip between the teeth near the bottom of the zipper, to free one side of the pull.

how to fix a broken zipper | cut bottom

Then you can rethread the zipper on properly, sort of like you would on a jacket, where one side of the zipper is free.


You can’t stop there, though, or every time you zip down the zipper, it’ll come apart.

So, you take a needle and thread and whip stitch right across where you cut the zipper, in effect making a new zipper stop.


The newly repaired zipper will only be able to open as far as your new stop, which is is why when you cut the zipper, you want to get as close to the bottom of the original zipper as possible.

My zipper was now lined up, but the teeth were still having trouble engaging.


I did a little more reading and discovered that the pull was probably bent out of shape.


Apparently when this happens, it’s really best to replace the pull, but since these were outgrown jeans that I didn’t want to pour money into, I decided to try using a pliers to squeeze it into shape..


And once I did that, I was able to get the jeans zipped up properly!

I’m not sure how long the pull will stay in shape, but at least I figured out that that’s where the problem lay.

So, there you have it.  You really can repair a zipper quickly and easily and you don’t have to replace it with a brand new one.

(Related: If the metal button on your jeans pops off, that’s also a quick and easy repair.)


Have you ever mended a broken zipper this way?  Or do you have another favorite method?

On perseverance (Also: do not ever buy these windows.)

When Mr. FG and I bought our house, the windows were in unusable shape.  They were so bad, a good percentage of them wouldn’t even shut.

So, we got an allowance from the seller to replace the windows.  We hired a guy who put in windows that came with a lifetime warranty (sounds good, right??)

napco plygem window warranty

The windows were originally made by Napco, but Napco has since gone out of business.

(whomp, whomp)

Fortunately, a company called PlyGem picked up all of Napco’s warranty business.

So, when the seal failed on a window sash a year and a half ago, I was able to get a replacement.

At the same time I ordered the replacement glass panel, I let them know that the lock on a window in the bathroom had rusted and broken

They sent me a new one along with the glass panel, but it turned out to be just slightly different.

plygem napco window lock replacement

I let my customer service rep know, sent her a photo, and she said she’d have her team figure something out.  That’s where things started to go really south.

Weeks and months would go by and I would call and email with no response.  When I finally did hear from her, she kept saying they were, “working on a solution”.


Finally this year, I got sick of it and managed to snag a new representative, who had the brilliant idea of just sending me a new window.

Except, the one she sent me six weeks later was wrong.  In fact, the window wouldn’t fit anywhere in my house at all.

And it didn’t have the obscured glass, which is important because this window is in the shower.

(Yeah. Kind of a home design fail.)


But after more phone calls (and another six week wait), they finally shipped me the right window.

Sort of.

The top panel came as a complete unit, while they sent me only the glass part of the lower sash.

I thought this wasn’t going to work, but I actually was able to make the locks function properly by replacing just the top sash.


I am awfully relieved, because I was really not looking forward to more phone calls with PlyGem.

I’m so disappointed in them, not only because of the incompetence of the warranty team and the total lack of follow-up on their part (the customer should not have to call back repeatedly in order to get service!) but because the manner of the reps is so off-putting.

If I sent someone the wrong window or didn’t get back to them for months, I would feel like a profuse apology was in order.  Somehow, though, no matter how polite and kind I am, the reps behave as though it’s a huge inconvenience even to speak with me, as though they can barely stand it.

(I poked around online and apparently my experience is typical on all fronts.)


I’ve managed to get replacements to fix my window issues (that’s the upside!), but it has been an enormous headache, and I would never, ever buy these windows again.

Because of PlyGem’s errors, I now have several window sashes that I can’t use, and I’m not sure anyone else can use them either since they have no frames.


(the sashes come in a huge box with sprayed-on foam padding)

My plan is to find someone who installs these windows to see if perhaps they can use them.  If not, I’m not sure what I can possibly do with them, but I am not going to stress about it because this is not my fault.

Lifetime warranties are sometimes not all they’re cracked up to be, you know?