How to Fix a Broken Zipper on Jeans With an Easy Button Fly

Steph time
by Steph time
10 Materials
2 Hours

I've had these jeans in my "to sew" pile for about a year. They're a perfect fit but I broke the zipper at work and haven't got round to fixing it.

So, today's project is how to fix a broken zipper on jeans by turning them into women's button fly jeans, which are much cooler.

I went a step further and made the buttons a visible feature instead of placing them under the fly - so come on and mend with me!

Tools and materials:

  • Jeans with broken zipper
  • Snap on or hammer on jeans buttons
  • Tailor's chalk
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Hammer
  • Sewing machine
  • Zipper foot (optional)
  • Buttonhole foot (optional)
Removing the old zipper

1. Remove the old zipper

One side of the zipper will be really easy to seam rip out because the tape is exposed, so let's do that first.

Remove the tape from the waistband as well.

Removing the old zipper

On the second side, the zipper tape is sandwiched between the front leg and the zipper fly facing. 

Removing the old zipper

Start by seam ripping the stitches between the tape and the facing.

You'll also need to open a few stitches on the waistband to release the tape.


2. Restitch the facing and waistband

Sew the section of the waistband on both sides that you opened to remove the tape and top stitch it. 


Stitch the seam closed that attaches the facing to the front leg. I used my zipper foot for this as I was working very close to the button.


If you opened any part of the reinforcing stitching on the crotch, go over that as well.

As it's a stress point, backstitch over it or use a zigzag stitch.

Making buttonholes

3. Make buttonholes

I decided to add two buttons. You may want to do three, depending on the length of the front fly.

Mark the position of the buttonholes with tailor's chalk. I made mine horizontal to match the one on the waistband.

To make them, definitely use your buttonhole foot if you have one. It makes the job so much easier.

Put a button you'll be using in the back section of the buttonhole foot to fix the length of the buttonhole, before attaching the foot. I always do a test buttonhole on scrap fabric first.

With multiple layers of fabric, you may have to help feed the fabric through manually.

Making buttonholes

Snip the buttonholes open carefully, avoiding cutting through any of the stitches.

Attaching buttons

4. Attach buttons

Fasten the waistband and line up the facing. Use tailor's chalk or a pen to mark through the center of the buttonholes.

The button will sit on the inside edge of the buttonhole in use, so bear that in mind when marking where it should be.

Attaching buttons

Push the button backing through the fabric from the inside. You can punch a hole first, but I prefer to use the spike of the backing itself.

Attaching buttons

Lay the button flat on a hard surface and flip the jeans so the spike is facing down into the button. Hammer the button back until the spike locks into place.

This way you don't risk damaging the front of the button. Work gradually because it's possible to bend the spike if you hammer too hard or too fast.

How to fix a broken zipper on jeans

How to fix a broken zipper on jeans

Wow, I've been putting this project off for SO long, and I really love these jeans! Now I get to wear them again. 

If you don't want to spend time removing the zipper and restitching the jeans you could probably leave it in place, at least on one side, and button over it.

Are there any sewing projects that you've been putting off? Let me know in the comments and maybe we can fix them together.

Check out my post on How to DIY a Super Fabulous Quilt Coat.

Suggested materials:
  • Jeans with broken zipper
  • Snap on or hammer on jeans buttons
  • Tailor's chalk
See all materials

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Join the conversation
 1 comment
  • Kassi Kassi on May 01, 2023

    Always loved button front jeans. I don't have your skills, but I'm saving this post for my friends that do!