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We have a guest poster today… We’d like to introduce you to our sister Cara, who’s company we get to enjoy so much more frequently since she came to live out here for school!  Here she explains an easy, alternative method of fixing a broken zipper on jeans:

Hi my name is Cara, and I am related to the Homebodies. :)
So in about May, I was wrapping up my last few weeks of the High School experience. I woke up one morning and pulled on my FAVORITE JEANS. Everyone has them, you know, that one pair that fits you just right and always makes you feel super cute? These were them. I think I got them Sophomore year, and we had made some beautiful memories together. Please note that they were my first pair of designer jeans which I sort of have a fetish for now. Please also note that I got them at a thrift shop and only paid $38 for them. I’m a cheapo.
Okay so as I was putting them on, the zipper broke. I was devastated. So I did what any rational person would do. I shed a few tears, and wore them anyways. They went perfectly with my outfit! What else was I supposed to do? I had to be out the door in 5 minutes, and I do not do well under pressure.. Well needless to say, that was a VERY awkward day at school, and after they made it through the laundry they got stuck on the bottom of the jeans pile (its really a tall stack) in my closet for the next 4 months. Unable to let them go, I still brought them with me to college, thinking I would find a tailor to put in a new zipper, because those jeans and I were old friends, and you do things like that for old friends.
Well, It got a little depressing looking at them, and being a poor college student, I hadn’t quite justified paying to fix them yet. So they sat on my shelf looking like this:

Cue my sister Rochelle. I was at her house one evening, benefiting from a real home cooked meal that I invited myself over for (don’t worry, I helped cook) and I was complaining about my poor jeans. After talking for a while, we both realized that there was really nothing to lose by trying to fix them ourselves! We even looked up a zipper replacement tutorial. Well, sewing on a zipper is a little scary, so I was thinking about those other kinds of jeans that have button tabs instead of zippers, and that sounded a LOT easier.

So first I decided that we should just cut the zipper out, not seam rip it, but just cut the teeth out so they wouldn’t get in the way and be annoying.

Next we needed some material to use for the button tab. We tried to find some old denim, but settled on some grosgrain ribbon. We even recycled by using some cute pink Bed Bath and Beyond ribbon Rochelle had in her ribbon stash! (I’m from Oregon; recycling makes me happy.)

Doubling the ribbon over, we sewed it up each side to make it a double layer which would be stronger.

Then, measuring the tab on the jeans, we decided there should be 2 small-ish buttons to hold the fly closed, so I figured out where the buttons should be and I penciled in the location on the ribbon.

After we knew that, we just made 2 button holes using the button hole setting on the sewing machine, and then it was time to sew the tab into the pants. Pinning it to the forward flap, we sewed it straight down using navy blue thread which was invisible on the front of the jeans! The extra portion of the ribbon just got trimmed, threaded through the slot, and tacked down inside.

 

I measured where the button holes were on the tab and sewed the buttons into the correct location using bright pink thread (to match the fun ribbon!).

…and Voila!!! They were finished! It was pretty simple, and is surprisingly durable! Yay! Now I can wear my favorite jeans whenever I want, and I don’t have to worry about broken zippers ever again because I can just fix them! The best thing? It took less than an hour to finish :) Ta-Da!

Here I am wearing the finished product. You cant tell, but I’m smiling real big. Best Clothing Refashion Ever.

Thanks for sharing, Cara!

10/19/2011 UPDATE: So you may be wondering about the stability over time of this fix, so here’s what we have learned: ribbon on its own isn’t a great long term solution.  We tried a double layer of denim, and that lasted a little longer, but still, after washing for a year, it started ripping.  We suggest trying what a fabulous commenter below has suggested: use stiff fusible interfacing between the layers of grosgrain ribbon or denim for added durability. (Thanks vaccinenurse!) Good luck! -R-