14 quick fixes for zippers, drawstrings and other common clothing problems

Problem 1: Zipper won't glide.

Solution: Use masking tape on both sides of the zipper to protect the fabric, then spray the zipper with WD-40 or a silicone spray. You can also just rub it with a lead pencil.


Problem 2: Zipper hard to pull.

Solution: Attach a key ring to it. This is a great solution for little ones since it gives them a better grip.


Problem 3: Threads get caught in zipper.

Solution: If they're fraying and you can't trim them, coat them with clear nail polish so they'll lie flat against the fabric.


Problem 4: Drawstring of sweat pants keeps slipping through the eyelets.

Solution: Sew a medium size button on each end of the drawstring and it won't slip through again.


Problem 5: Purse slips off your shoulder.

Solution: Glue a piece of foam rubber to the underside of a bag strap for a quick fix. Another idea is to keep the purse in place by sewing a button on the shoulder of your coat that prevents it from slipping. (Don't sew the button down too tightly or the purse strap will slip right over it.) You might not want to do this with your best dress coat -- though I could imagine finding a really attractive button that would act as a decorative touch, like a brooch -- but it's certainly a big help for something you'd wear for daily trips and chores.


Problem 6: Belt's too tight.

Solution: Use a drill to punch an extra hole. If that's not possible, remove the buckle, then sew a two-inch piece of elastic (same width as the belt) to the end of the belt and back around the center of the buckle. When the belt is properly buckled, the elastic won't show.


Problem 7: Belt without buckles -- the kind where you slip the end through a couple of rings -- constantly slips.

Solution: Get a set of Velcro fasteners on the belt. Sew to the belt and on the complementary piece, at the spot where you want it to grip.


Problem 8: Button is too tight

Solution: Loop a stretched out rubber band around the shank of the button. Slip the other end of the band through the hole and loop it around the shank as well. This will only work on a pants button if there's a belt or sweater covering it, or on a shirt button that's covered by a tie.


Problem 9: Button won't slip through the buttonhole.

Solution: Take a paper clip, and pull it apart so that it's in an S shape. Slip one end through the buttonhole, hook it onto the button and pull the button through the hole.


Problem 10: Zipper keeps slipping down.

Solution: For a quick fix, cover the fabric along the zipper with masking tape, then spray the zipper with a hair spray containing lacquer. For a lasting fix, sew a small dot of Velcro to the zipper pull, then sew the complementary piece to the inner part of the fly at the top.


Problem 11: Blouse is gapping.

Solution: For a quick fix, secure it with a pierced earring and post. Or use double-sided tape between buttons. For a permanent repair, use Velcro.


Problem 12: Band that holds down end of belt is lost.

Solution: To prevent the belt from flapping, use "stick-um," an adhesive that's sold to hold posters to a wall. Attach it to the back of the belt.


Problem 13: Shoes too tight.

Solution: Saturate the pressure point from the inside with a cotton ball moistened with rubbing alcohol, then slip the shoe back on. It will stretch as you wear it.


Problem 14: Back of the neck label is irritating.

Solution: Don't cut out the label: You'll just get a scratchy raw edge or a lump. Instead, cover the label with iron-on bonding tape. It will hold the labels in place, yet any care or sizing information remains visible. This trick works if embroidery inside clothing is scratchy, too.


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