Posts Tagged ‘sweatshirt’

Mend It! Replacing A Broken Hoodie Zipper

October 28th, 2010

Once again I can’t bear to part with a hoodie that still has plenty of good miles left in it but has developed a fatal flaw. This time it’s a cozy oversized hoodie with a busted zipper. I start to zip from the bottom, but I get no zip!

Broken zipper

I think I feel a draft

Once again, it’s time to spend a few minutes and save this sweatshirt. I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with the zipper so the easiest solution for me is to replace it with a new one. I just happen to have one almost perfect in my stash. If you need to buy a zipper, be sure to measure the length of the original zipper as accurately as possible. I suggest taking the item with you so that you can match up the color and exact length before you begin.

matching zipper

New functioning zipper

This zipper is just about perfect. The right length, nearly a perfect match, and was dirt cheap. I bought it locally at Scrap, an excellent resource in Portland, OR for Reuse and Recycling. The other important thing is that it is a separating zipper so the two halves of the zipper separate when the zipper slider is pulled all the way down.

3 zippers

Here are three similar zippers. They are all the same size, all have plastic teeth, the only difference is color and how they end. The first on the left (blue) has a closed bottom. The two sides are connected at the bottom preventing the slider from coming off at the end but it won’t come apart. The middle zipper (green) is a separating zipper. It is perfect for jackets or sweatshirts/hoodies that are expected to open all the way. The one all the way on the right (black) is a double separating zipper. It can come apart like a separating zipper, but it has the added feature of a second slider allowing you to zip it up, then unzip it from the bottom, leaving the top zipped if you want to.

three zippers

Now, back to my project! Looking at the inside of the sweatshirt you can see that this zipper is simply attached with just a single line of stitches.

I could easily pick out the stitches and remove the zipper first. I like to leave the old zipper in place when I add my new zipper for two reasons. First, I like to have the old zipper tape to act as a support layer to keep the sweatshirt material from stretching as I sew, causing wavy zipper syndrome. Secondly, I like to have the original zipper teeth to line the new zipper teeth against as a guide to make sure my zipper is set straight (and make it easier to not use pins. Use them if you prefer.)

Place the zipper, and sew it in place.

I started at the bottom and sewed up towards the hood. Then I stopped an inch or two from the top and hand stitched the rest in place, folding the extra zipper tape from the top between the zipper and the sweatshirt fleece to hide it.

Now I have the option of trimming away the original zipper, if it wasn’t removed before sewing on the new zipper. In my experience it works just fine to trim away the old zipper, cutting as close to the line of stitching for the new zipper as possible. anything leftover is hidden just fine by the new zipper and the edge of the sweatshirt on top. I chose to leave the original zipper in place for this, though. I just like the look of the “double zipper” and the shiny brass of the original.

This is a quick and easy repair that anyone can do. It took me under 30 minutes, including hunting for the zipper! ;)

Mend it! Replacing worn Cuffs

April 3rd, 2009

I’ve got this old sweatshirt hoodie here that I’ve had for a while. When I took it out of the wash this week I found that my “ok, these are starting to wear out” wrist cuffs had exploded into a huge mess. Tatters and shreds! Instead of just tossing the hoodie out, or cutting it up to make rags, I decided to replace the cuffs with some new material to extend the life of the garment and to fight the disposable everything society that surrounds us. It’s a shame that so much of the clothing that’s produced today are made to wear out quickly and then be tossed away and replaced with new disposable fashion. So I’d like to share with you a quick 10 minute or less solution to worn out cuffs. No worn out cuffs around? That’s okay, too, you can use this same technique to add your own style to your sleeves.

Look at those cuffs!

Look at those cuffs!

The materials you’ll need are few and easy to get.

You’ll  need the shirt you want to mend, fabric for the cuffs, and sewing tools.  The material you use to replace the cuffs should be stretchy, like a knit or ribbing.  Ribbing is the best and is what you will usually find for cuffs and waistbands.  You can tell if a material is ribbed if it has vertical lines,or bumps.  A flat knit material will work, too, and that’s what I’ll be using for this demonstration.  You can get both ribbing and knit material at most fabric stores, but you’ve probably got an old t shirt laying around that would work just as well, too!

A serger can make sewing knits easier and quicker, but for this tutorial you should be able to use a standard sewing machine with a zigzag or stretch stitch with no problem.


The stretch in this fabric follows the stripes

You’re going to cut two rectangles out of your fabric, one for each cuff.  You fabric will most likely have more stretch in one direction than the other.  The stretchy direction will be our “width” or the way that will wrap around your wrist.  The less stretchy direction will be our “length” or how long you want the cuff to extend from the end of the sleeve.


Marking my fabric rectangles 9"x12"

Here I’m using just regular chalkboard chalk to mark my fabric.  Your rectangles’ width should be about 9″ and the length should be two times the final length that you want the cuff to be.  I decided I wanted my cuffs about 6″ long, so my rectangles will be 9″ wide (stretchy wise) and 12″ long (non-stretch wise).


Right sides together

Your first seams will be along the length of the cuff.  Fold it in half with right sides together and sew the fabric into a tube.

Your tube

Your tube

Now start as if to turn the tube rightside out, but you’re going to stop halfway.  You’ll want the raw edges to line up giving you a tube half as long, with both cut ends on one end, the folded end on the other, and the seam you just sewed should be hidden.

line up the cut edges

line up the cut edges

Now we’ll add the cuff to the sleeve.  First cut off the old cuff in a straight line across the sleeve.



With your sleeve right side out, you’re going to slip the new cuff onto the outside of the sleeve.  You’ll want the cuff to go on folded end first, so that the cut end of the sleeve matches up with the two cut edges of your new cuff.  You’ll be sewing through all three layers to attach the cuff.


An Important note: The cuff should be smaller than the sleeve it will go on.  You will stretch the cuff as you sew it in place.

Now sew around the edge where the sleeve and new cuff meet, stretching the cuff as you go.  Now pull the cuff down and topstitch the new seam if you wish.

img_4763Repeat the process with your other rectangle of fabric on the other sleeve, and that’s it!

Enjoy your new cuffs and the knowledge that you have given new life to an old garment or just have fun with it and try some fun colors or designs to liven up a boring sweatshirt.

All new funky cuffs

All new stripey cuffs