Changing Your Clothes

Shopping, Sewing, Upcycling, Repairing: Make the most of your clothes!

Zip it: The Lost-Pull Fix

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I just found this cute cotton skirt at my favorite thrift store (Value Village), complete with bohemian print and sequin embellishment, for which I paid the princely sum of $2.50.

Embellished print skirt

Embellished print skirt, found at my favorite thrift store, Value Village.

My general belief is that clothes are given to thrift stores for a reason, whether it’s a fit issue, a stain that won’t come out, or maybe that Bridget Jones-inspired reindeer pullover was a gift you just can’t bring yourself to wear. From what I’ve seen, the most common reason we give clothing away is because there’s something wrong with it that we don’t know how to fix. In this case, my summery little skirt was missing its zipper pull.

Skirt zipper, sans zipper pull

Skirt zipper, sans zipper pull; workable as is, if you’re the patient type.

Now, the solution here is pretty obvious, right? Attach a new zipper pull. But hold the “duh” a minute. I also thought this was a no-brainer, and in one sense, it is; there’s really only one possible fix for this situation (outside of replacing the entire zipper). However, I ran into a slight and unexpected issue. We’ll get to that in a minute.

Wanting to spare myself a trip to the fabric store if possible, the first thing I did was raid my button box to see if by some miracle, I already had a zipper pull I could use. And voila! I actually found two pulls, one of which seemed like a better fit style-wise with my skirt:

New Zipper Pull

Many styles of zipper pulls are readily available at fabric stores (look where they display buttons). I found this one in my button stash.

Finding replacement zipper pulls: Probably the easiest places to find new zipper pulls are fabric stores. You’ll want to look in the section where they display buttons. I have to say, though, that the selection tends to be fairly limited, especially in their color range, so if you’re looking for something a little less generic, I would suggest taking an online stroll around Etsy (this link will take you directly to search results for “zipper pull”).

Now about the slight (?) issue I mentioned earlier: if you look closely at the zipper pull (above), you can see it has a simple clasp, so I thought it would be a simple matter of pressing it open and sliding it onto the horseshoe-shaped loop at the top of the zipper. And it is that simple, except that this required pressing on the zipper pull clasp with a lot more force than my fingers were willing to put out. I think it’s difficult mainly because the piece is so small; it’s hard to get a grip on it. (At this point, a distinct “aaargh” escaped my lips, and again, after pinching my fingers for the third time.) Time for Plan B.

I thought of pliers. Since I’ve lately been trying to teach myself a little about making jewelry, I had several different types of this useful tool to choose from. In this case, I chose the one I came across first, the round-nose pliers, but I think a version with flat inner surfaces would be ideal. I pressed (gently this time) on the clasp until it opened:

Opening the clasp on the new zipper pull

Opening the clasp on the new zipper pull; pliers with flat inner surfaces would probably work a little better than the round-nose ones I’m using here.

Once I had the clasp opened, it was a matter of sliding the open end onto the loop at the top of the zipper. Except that I kept pressing just a little too hard, causing the zipper pull to skitter across the room! Eventually, I hit on the exact right amount of pressure: enough to hold the clasp open, not so much that it would slip out of the grasp of the pliers. Success at last!

Skirt with new zipper pull!

My skirt with its fancy new zipper pull!

Suggestions: You don’t have to wait for a zipper pull to break (or go AWOL); if your zippered garment simply needs a bit of a facelift (as we all do at times, no?), try replacing the pull. And be creative! Use a contrasting color, maybe something sparkly, feminine, or bold. I could see the possibilities of having a sort of zipper pull wardrobe, a collection of your favorites, that could be used interchangeably. Just keep your pliers handy!

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Author: colormusing

I'm a writer, color palette creator, and designer of fashion, costumes, graphics, knitwear patterns, and yarn.

One thought on “Zip it: The Lost-Pull Fix

  1. Pingback: Zip It, Part Deux: DIY Pull? « Changing Your Clothes

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