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How to Replace a Separating Zipper in a Leather Purse

Replacing a separating zipper in your leather purse requires basic sewing skills.
Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

When the zipper in a leather purse separates or otherwise breaks, it can be tempting to throw the purse in the garbage. Instead, consider replacing the zipper and using the purse again. This project takes less than an hour and requires only basic sewing knowledge.

Things You'll Need:

  • Sewing Needles
  • Stitch Ripper
  • Pins
  • Sewing Machine (Optional)
  • New Zipper
  • Thread

Turn the purse inside out to reveal the zipper. Use the stitch ripper to pull out the stitches securing the zipper in place. Work carefully to avoid damaging the leather or the lining of the purse. Remove the old zipper and any loose threads.

Unzip the new zipper, which should be the same length as the broken zipper, to make installing it easier. Slide the new zipper into place where the old zipper used to be. Pin it in place, ensuring that both sides of the zipper are even by zipping and unzipping it several times. Turn the purse right-side out again to test the zipper.

Stitch the zipper into place from the outside of the purse using a needle and thread. Work from the top of the left side of the zipper down, then stitch the bottom of the zipper, and finish by stitching up the right side of the zipper. Use whichever stitch you are most comfortable with, as long as the stitches are tight and small. Keep your stitches small and neat for both appearance and strength. Alternatively, you may use your sewing machine if it has a zipper foot. Consult your sewing machine manual for directions on attaching a zipper using your machine's zipper foot.

Zip and unzip the zipper several times to test it. If it doesn't function properly, check whether you stitched too close to the teeth of zipper itself. If you did, rip out a few stitches and replace them. Once the zipper is functioning, use your leather purse as normal.


Some handbags are designed to prevent you from using a sewing machine to replace the zipper. If your purse is designed this way, hand sewing is the only option unless you want to have your purse professionally fixed.

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