MENDing | Zipper Slider

My friend asked me if I knew how to replace a zipper.

And I grasped my invisible pearls and thought "ah hell."

No thank you.

I said "yes". 

I quickly asked if the actual zipper needed replacing or if the slider just came off. Which, is the most common issue...actually the only issue I've ever had with a zipper.


She said she thought it was just the slider and I let out the breath I was holding and quietly thanked the sewing gods. 

No problemo, I can just put the old slider back on and then put a new top stop on. 

Except that the slider was missing.

Without seeing the zippy I searched the internet and ordered a kit that included the 3 most common types of nylon coil zipper sliders: #3, #5, #8. It also included pliers and the top stop (and some other shit that I don't care about right now).

black hoodie laying on brown table surrounded by zipper replacement tools

Looking at the zippy (after I picked it up) the bottom stop was marked: N 5 R

Sweet, I think this is going to be a #5 and I have a #5.


I clipped the old top stop off with my sweet new pliers that took me back to grooming wire ways in 2001 and set about getting the new zipper slider on.

pliers and top zipper stop on brown table

Which wasn't easy, but I got the bitch on. 

Slid it down, slid the the other side of the zipper in and pulled it up aaaaand....


The zipper wouldn't close. Like it zipped up but the teeth wouldn't close.

I tried every slider in that fucking kit and not a one worked. 

From my understanding there are three types of zips: coil, metal and vislon.

Then you need to know how wide the zipper is when it's closed. And this is measured in mm. Of course it is...I hate mm. 

I thought maybe the zipper could be a 4.5 mm? Maybe? Didn't make sense cus the fucker was marked with a "5" but whatever.

I went looking in my zipper box (yeah I got a box full of zippers) and all I have are invisible zippers, metals zippers and vislon zippers. 

So then I went looking in the kid's closets to see if there were any zippies they didn't fit anymore. I found one old sweater that I thought might work. 

The zipper slider on the old sweater was marked: 5 J

Which to me means it's also a #5, right? Makes sense.

Anyway to make a short story shorter, I put on the 5 J zipper slider and it worked.

black hoodie with a white zipper pull

But what about the #5 slider I purchased? Why didn't it work? Why did the zipper from the old sweater work?

Maybe my new slider isn't a #5?

To check I took my new #5 and slid it down the kid's old sweater.

Shit works on that sweater.

I have no answer. No clue why the #5 wouldn't work on the black zippy but worked on the kids old hoodie. 


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