Your favorite pair of pants or go-to jacket is only as good as its zipper. This simple device is more complicated than it looks, which is why it can be so frustrating when it gets stuck. There are many factors that can cause a stuck or malfunctioning zipper. Here’s what you should know about zippers and how tailoring can help protect your garments.

How Zippers Work

Zippersalteration are composed of two rows of teeth facing each other, each tooth having a hook and a hollow. The rows of a zipper are slightly offset so each hook faces a hollow. Your standard zipper also consists of a slide with an attached pull tab. That slide is comprised of wedges that hold the teeth at the correct angles for zipping. There are also stops at the top and bottom of the zipper tape, keeping the slide from being pulled off track. When the zipper’s teeth are pulled toward each other by the slide, it wedges the hooks into the hollows, creating a secure closure on your pants, bag or jacket.

Common Problems and When to Turn to Tailoring

Because zippers have so many individual parts, they can malfunction if even one piece falls out of line. For example, fabric can get caught in a wedge inside the slide. Applying a simple lubricant, like a gentle fabric soap, on the zipper and surrounding fabric could help wiggle it loose. Hold the fabric taut with one hand as you pull the zipper with the other.

If your zipper won’t close, the teeth may be bent or the track could be misaligned. Over time, you might even lose individual teeth or the wedge altogether. Fixing these issues is a more involved process that could require extensive sewing or even the replacement of a zipper. To avoid accidentally damaging your garment with a do-it-yourself fix, try having it tailored. A professional tailor will be able to remedy the situation without causing further harm to your clothing.


Wo’s Custom Tailoring in New York, NY, offers traditional craftsmanship and attention to detail, for all your alterations needs. To learn more about suit alterations, leather repair, or custom tailoring services, call (212) 988-9889 or visit them online to view a gallery of past work.