I visited Melbourne Repair Cafe (Inner West) yesterday intending to be a visitor, not a fixer, but Michelle Fisher had other plans!

Amanda’s boot’s zipper slider had come off track and she could no longer zip it up. Luckily, through a bit of practice, I know a thing or two about zippers. They’re one of my least favourite things to sew and fix, but they’re way more fixable than you might imagine so it’s always worth a go.

I was surprised that not everyone knew my two magic tricks for fixing zippers, so I’ll share them here with you –> 1. Bar soap. 2. Swear words and hard work, simultaneously, for up to 20 minutes.

First I removed the metal zipper stop at the top of the boot with a pair of pliers. Then I used soap to lubricate the zipper on the trouble spot at the ankle (where it had first come undone) and on the fabric at the top of the zip where we needed to reattach the slider. Fun fact: when you rub zippers with soap you make snowflakes everywhere.

It took about 15 minutes of pushing and tugging and soaping but it worked! I hope she gets a bit more wear out of them before she has to replace the zip entirely. (Don’t forget to reattach the zipper stop afterward or you’ll have to do this again. Please don’t ask how I know or I might cry.)

Patagonia has published a few zipper-repair guides (see below). They’re also on our Pinterest board if you need to find them later.