Is this suitcase's separated but intact zipper salvageable?
June 19, 2017 8:57 AM   Subscribe

I have a suitcase whose zippers are tearing away at the seams. While I have a lot of history with this suitcase, it does not have any sentimental value to me -- I just hate throwing things away as a matter of principle, and would rather fix than replace. Here are some pictures.

I checked with some local shoe stores / luggage stores. I was told $150 to replace the zipper. $35 to redo the zipper stitching. There are decent suitcases selling for as little as $35 online at the moment. What do you think I should do?

Would it be realistic to get some strong fishing line and see if I can hand stitch the zipper to the suitcase? Or maybe an iron-on patch? Thanks!
posted by Borborygmus to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Nope, that zipper is completely dead. The elements seem to have pulled away from the tape, so is not salvageable.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:21 AM on June 19, 2017

Yep, you would have to put in a new zipper which would be pretty hard to do if you never had before. Still, if you'd like to try it just for the experience (I also love to repair things so I'm feeling you here), here's a tutorial on how to do it.
posted by dawkins_7 at 9:31 AM on June 19, 2017

How good do you want the suitcase to look? DarlingBri is right, you can't repair that zipper, and replacing it would be a PITA, but you might be able to secure that corner some other way (sew on a piece of strapping with a heavy-duty snap?) or add on secondary zippers over the places that are coming apart. It will be an obvious repair, though.

I am a mender by nature, but this is probably a case where I would just spring for a new bag.
posted by mskyle at 9:34 AM on June 19, 2017

Have you checked the length of time of the warranty? I got a replacement from Samsonite in year 8 of a 10 year warranty. This after the luggage store guy swore I'd never get them to honor it.
posted by mzurer at 10:30 AM on June 19, 2017

Find a seamstress or tailor in your town, and have the zippers replaced. Fixing stuff is good.
posted by Oyéah at 10:48 AM on June 19, 2017

Counterpoint: luggage is generally not suitable for home repair because a home machine won't sew through fabric of this thickness and type, and a tailor or seamstress machine will also likely be insufficient. You will need to find someone with a heavy duty industrial sewing machine, so it would have to be something like an upholsterer and even then, I dunno. My upholsterer loves me and does weird shit for me and wouldn't do that job because it's annoying.

I'd be inclined to replace/recycle with a 2nd hand Sampsonite or Tourister from a local charity shop. You do not want to find out your hacked patchup job has failed by looking out a window and seeing your clothing all over a runway, you know?
posted by DarlingBri at 11:13 AM on June 19, 2017

Darling Bri is right, that zipper is dead. The $150 is probably how much it would cost because of how much work that is to do. And it would absolutely require an industrial machine.

That repair is usually only done for luggage so expensive it has a lifetime warranty. Unless your bag is still covered, and there's an authorized repair place near you, it is going to cost you more than a new suitcase.

(I have a bag from another comapny with lifetime warranty that has zippers that have done that more than once. According to their website, at this point the company would probably decline to do the repair in favor of offering a discount on a new bag.)
posted by monopas at 1:05 PM on June 19, 2017

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