Choosing between a 7-inch nylon zipper and a 12-inch exposed zipper in a sewing store can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Zippers are something you certainly use every day, but you may not realize how many different kinds there are! Check out this guide to learn about the various types of zippers that are commonly used in clothing.
In terms of zippers, metal, plastic, and coil are the three most common varieties. In addition to the two-way, three-way, and continuous chain variations, zippers are available in numerous other configurations. They provide a wide range of attachment options, including hidden and exposed designs.
In this article, you will learn about the basic parts of a zipper and how it attaches to a garment. You’ll learn about 19 different kinds of zippers, along with what they’re used for. Zipper sizes are also included in this section.
Parts of a Zipper
Although various zippers are somewhat different or have additional parts, they all share the same basic architecture. A zipper, like a button or snap, serves as a closing on a garment, but it does so by employing a unique pattern of meshing teeth.
Top stop pieces, which might be metal or plastic, are located at the top of both sides of teeth. Using these brakes, you can keep the slider from zooming out of control while zipping up your jacket or dress.
Next, you’ll see the actual slide. The tab you pull on is referred to as a pull, while the portion that lies between the mesh teeth is referred to as a slider.
The tape is the component of a zipper that is sewn into a garment. It is possible to buy zippers in a variety of colors so that this tape will match the color of your clothing. However, zipper tapes can also be used to add visual interest to a garment when worn in an exposed zipper manner.
Interlocking teeth are what most people imagine when they think of a zipper. Plastic, nylon, and metal are all options for teeth. Different zippers have different means of attaching the teeth to the tape. During the manufacturing process, some zippers have teeth that are molded to the fabric tape, while others have teeth that are sewed on separately.
There are two metal or plastic tabs at the bottom of most zippers, which are called the bottom stops. These stop the slider from dropping off the bottom of the teeth in the same way that the top stops do.
What Are Zippers Made Of?
Teeth, whether metal, plastic, or nylon, are a common characteristic of most zips. Brass or ancient brass, aluminum, and zinc are among the metal zipper materials. Metal zippers were the norm in the early days of the zipper industry.
Zippers, on the other hand, have only been around for a relatively short period of time in fashion history. He named it a detachable fastener, but Gideon Sundback invented the zipper in 1913. All zippers at the time employed metal teeth because synthetic fabric and plastic parts had not yet been developed.
Zippers were referred to as a clasp locker, a zip fly, and a zip by later fashion creators, as well. The word “zipper” is derived from the sound generated when the slider is quickly pulled up over the metal teeth. A man named BF Goodrich came up with the moniker and was among the first to advertise zippers, utilizing them in pouches and rain boots in the 1920s.
There are a wide variety of plastic zippers to choose from these days. These zippers are made from the same plastic, but they are formed in different methods, such as by molding or extruding.
Nylon zippers, which are commonly used in outerwear and athletics, have great waterproofing properties.
In addition to the material they contain, zippers can have a wide range of aesthetic variations as you’ll see in the following section. You may have two zippers that appear completely different from the same type of plastic!
19 Different Types Of Zippers For Garments
There are a wide variety of zippers to choose from in terms of construction and appearance, ranging from metal, plastic, and nylon. The shape of the zipper teeth, for example, can make a difference in terms of style. It could also refer to the way the zipper is attached to the garment, either in a visible or concealed manner.
In addition to brass and zinc teeth, metal zippers have teeth composed of other metals. Traditional zippers are still fashionable today, but they lack the broad appeal of plastic zippers, which are more versatile and cost less to produce.
Contrary to popular belief, metal zippers offer superior strength and are better suited to clothes with little curves.
Metal zippers are available in two distinct styles. Some are made from a single piece of wire, while others are made by die-casting teeth onto a piece of tape.
Chemical finishing procedures can give metal a distinct appearance, such as an antique finish rather than a dazzling chrome finish.
Like this YKK zipper, brass zippers like this one have a somewhat golden glow. Coats, purses, and other forms of bags include brass zippers frequently. In enormous sizes with large teeth, they provide a lot of strength.
Some well-known brands of jeans utilize brass zippers as well. Durable garments like jeans benefit greatly from metal zippers, which last for a very long period.
The teeth of antique brass zippers are given a specific chemical treatment that makes them appear to have been worn down over time. A darker brownish gold tone and a matte, less shiny appearance are common characteristics of the metal. This strong heavy-duty YKK zipper lends an old-fashioned elegance to a piece of clothing.
Antique brass zippers can be used to make a fashion statement in a garment’s most exposed area. When you wear a coat open, the zipper takes on a prominent role in the overall design. In some cases, antique brass zippers may be preferable to a shiny standard brass zipper since they blend in more seamlessly with the fabric.
A metallic green or a bright silvery appearance can be achieved with various coatings on aluminum zippers. A number of coats and bags are made with zippers like this.
The drawback of aluminum zippers is that, with time, a very small fraction of the metal may be lost. Corrosion can also occur if they are subjected to excessive washing or inclement weather. If you’re looking for a long-lasting zipper, look no further than metal zippers like this one.
Zinc is the most common metal used in the production of die-cast metal zippers. A die-cast tooth is one that is made by pouring molten metal into a mold and then allowing it to cool. A more brittle metal, zinc is used in die-cast zippers to connect the teeth to the tape.
Zinc is a major component of brass, which may be used in this process.
These zippers may be referred to as “molded metal” instead of “diecast.”
Today, plastic teeth are used in the teeth of the vast majority of zippers. Coil or molded plastic versions are available. Compared to metal, plastic is a lot less expensive and lasts for a longer period of time. Many heavy-duty zippers also have plastic teeth, which may not have the tensile strength of metal zippers in some instances.
Plastic zippers with teeth bonded to the fabric tape are more durable than standard plastic zippers. Another big advantage of plastic zippers over metal zippers is that they may be used in a variety of ways.
Molded plastic zippers come in a variety of styles.
Delrin Molded Plastic
The triangular teeth on a Delrin zipper give it its distinctive flexibility and aesthetic appeal. Injection molding is used to attach the teeth to the tape on most plastic zippers.
Dresses and jackets with this type of zipper look their finest. Large-scale clothing manufacturers use these zippers quite frequently, although you rarely see them on the market for individual purchase.
To attach the zipper teeth to the tape, a special loom is used with a woven-in coil zipper.
This sort of zipper isn’t commonly seen in sewing stores, but it can be purchased straight from YKK and other zipper makers.
In general, the construction of woven-in zippers is thinner and more flexible, making them perfect for garments with a tighter fit.
They use extruded plastic components that have been extruded and cured individually before being sewn to the fabric tape. This type of zipper, sometimes known as “molded plastic,” is fairly common and typically inexpensive.
YKK is just one of a number of companies that produce zippers made of molded plastic or resin.
The teeth of L-type zippers are termed LFC teeth. When the zipper teeth are coiled in this way, it creates an interesting effect. Zippers consisting of coiled filaments, rather than plastic poured into a mold or extruded onto a tape, are the most common.
CFC zippers, which include a coiled filament element, have a different appearance from L-type teeth, which have straight teeth. These types of plastic and nylon coil zippers are widely available, both at sewing supply stores and online.
In addition to metal and plastic, nylon is commonly used in the uppers of clothing and other durable outdoor gear, such as tents. nylon is a common component in waterproof and water-resistant zippers.
Nylon zippers can be found in several of the plastic zipper designs described above. Nylon woven-in coil zippers and L-type nylon coil zippers are two examples.
Meillia’s water-repellent zipper has nylon teeth, which are common in zippers of this type.
Additionally, these almost-waterproof zippers typically feature a rubber flap that covers them when they are used in a clothing item.
The nylon teeth of a water-repellent zipper are likely to be used in military or wet suit gear.
Coil zippers contain teeth formed from a single long coil of twisted monofilament, typically nylon, and are the most common type of garment zippers. These teeth are stitched into place by a lengthy coil sewn into the zipper tape on both sides.
Because of the coil’s twisted form, this style is quite versatile. It also has flatter teeth than some styles, making it more unobtrusive. Coil zippers look like your basic plastic zip, as you can see in this version!
As with a standard zip, the coil tooth structure is similar in most situations, but the tape is sewed onto the opposite side, making an invisible zipper invisible from the outside.
Invisible zippers appear frequently in garments such as sheath dresses and pencil skirts, where the zipper line does not interfere with the garment’s shape. This zipper will give you an idea of how “invisible” this zipper type is!
It’s possible to open a two-way zipper by either pulling it down or pulling it up!
Two-way zippers are rarely used in garments, although they are extremely useful on luggage and backpacks.
Meillia’s two-way zips demonstrate the double pull motion.
Larger sizes, starting at roughly size 5, are common for this style of zipper.
With a three-way zipper, you can unzip a part of the top at a time, leaving a space in the middle. It includes three independent sliders and pulls. Catsuits and handbags are two examples of items that may contain this shape.
The open or closed end of the zipper tape is another stylistic distinction in zippers. Closed-end zippers link at the bottom of the tape, which means that even if you unzip all the way down, the two zipper sections will not totally split in your hands. Open-end zippers have two different sections that are not joined at the bottom of the zipper tape, like this one.
When it comes to pants, boots, and bags, closed-end zippers are commonly found (although not always). When putting on a jacket or coat, you need the entire front of the coat to fall apart in order for it to fit!
In other words, an open-end zipper goes by several different names, one of which is separating zipper. Coats and jackets, as well as sleeping bags and even outfits, all feature this style of zipper as a key component.
Because there are no top stops or lower blocks to keep the slider in place, a continuous zipper operates differently than a typical garment zipper.
If you prefer, you can buy them by the yard and then sew or stamp your own blockers onto the teeth!
The most common usage of this fabric is in bedding and pillows, although it is occasionally used in clothing.
Lapped vs Exposed
The way zippers are fastened to clothing determines whether they are lapped or revealed. Lapped zippers have a fabric lap, or fold, that covers the teeth and hides them from view on the garment’s outside. This is a common method of concealing the zip fly on the front of pants.
The teeth of a zipper, on the other hand, are purposefully revealed in an exposed zipper. Consider a dress with a stunning vintage back zipper running the length of the front. In this scenario, the zipper is used as a decorative element on the garment itself. ”
Decorative Zippers For Sewing
Decorative zippers are a great way to spice up your next sewing project if you’re thinking about using an exposed zipper.
There are zippers with lace or denim tape, or zippers with distinctive rose-gold teeth.
If you opt for a fancy zipper, the possibilities are truly endless!
Zipper Sizes [Chart]
Due to the size number indicating the closed tooth width in millimeters, zipper sizes have an exquisite simplicity to them. When the teeth are closed, a size 5 zipper will measure five millimeters!
A size 5 zipper’s tooth width may vary slightly if you take a look at a random zipper; the teeth’s width is normally more of an approximation, meaning that it falls closer to five millimeters than six millimeters for a size 5 zipper.
The length of the zipper can also vary. A typical fly zipper’s length is either five or seven inches. When it comes to the length of a dress’s zipper, 18 and 22-inch lengths are common.
Zipper teeth come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and so do the stoppers at the top and bottom of the zipper.
All-purpose clothes including skirts, pants, and dresses are best served by zippers sized one to four. In jackets, coats, and bags, sizes 5-7 appear more frequently. Many items, including tents and military gear, come in sizes ranging from 8 to 10.
|Teeth Width||Standard Zipper Size|
How To Measure Zipper Size [Length and Width]
A zipper’s size is determined by the gauge and the length, which are both measured in inches.
Zipper gauges are used to measure the width of teeth when they are slid together. The larger the gauge, the larger the sizing number, and the stronger the zipper!
Zipper gauge can be determined by placing the zipper on a level surface. Make sure the teeth are interlocking by pulling the slider up all the way.
Using a tape measure, measure the distance between the teeth on each side. This measurement should be in the range of one to 10 millimeters at the most.
When the zipper is closed, measure the distance from the top of the slider to the bottom stop. For the most part, you want to measure the vertical spread of teeth while the zipper is closed. This can vary slightly depending on what kind of zipper you have, such as a two-way zipper.
Standard Zipper Lengths
There are only a few common lengths of zippers for clothing, usually between seven and twenty-two inches. Many other zippers can be found in luggage, tents, and even boat coverings, as well as non-clothing zippers! However, zippers used in clothing typically range in length from 7 to 22 inches.
A seven-inch zipper is the most common on skirts, pants, and denim. Zippers ranging from 14 to 22 or even 24 inches in length are likely to be required for dresses and coats.
Make sure to check the necessities listed in the pattern instructions or envelope if you need a zipper for sewing. Zipper length and width will be determined by this information.
Coil Zipper vs Tooth Zipper
As opposed to individual teeth, a coil zipper has one long, continuous piece of material instead of a set number of teeth.
In place of individual teeth, coil zippers use an unbroken stretch of monofilament. In most cases, the tape is stitched onto extruded nylon, but plastic can also be used. This style of zipper offers a lot of flexibility. From bags to boots to garments, coil zippers can be found.
It’s possible to have metal or VISLON plastic teeth on a tooth zipper. It’s better to use molded teeth than coiled teeth because they’re more weather-resistant, although coiled teeth are more flexible and strong.
What is the Strongest Zipper Type?
Coil-structured zippers, as well as those made from sturdier fabrics, are the most durable. These zippers are known as “heavy-duty,” and they are commonly used in outdoor gear or apparel that is designed to withstand the elements.
The teeth of heavy-duty zippers tend to be larger, allowing the chain to better grip the zipper. In other words, if you pull on the zipper from one side to the other, the teeth won’t come apart. The teeth of these zippers are usually constructed of nylon or plastic.
YKK, for example, has a variety of zippers designed for use in the nautical industry!
How Do I Know What Type of Zipper I Have?
Determine the type of zipper you have by looking at its style, the material it’s made of, and its dimensions. This will make it much simpler to locate a new zipper!
Decide on the zipper style first. It appears that there are either no pulls or a few pulls. This will reveal whether or not your zipper is two-way. You may also detect if you have an exposed zipper by looking at whether the zipper tape is on the outside or inside the clothing.
Make a detailed inspection of the teeth and try to figure out if they form one long continuous coil or if you can make out the individual teeth. In this way, it will be easier to tell whether your zipper has teeth or a coil.
Is the zipper made of plastic or metal teeth? At least with this one, you can tell right away!
On the reverse of the slider, most zippers have sizing information. Make sure you acquire the correct zipper size by checking this.
What Does the YKK On Zippers Stand For?
The name Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha, which appears on numerous zippers as the YKK logo, refers to a significant Japanese corporation by the same name. As many as half of all zippers sold in the globe are manufactured by the corporation, which includes a number of well-known blue jean brands!
It’s no surprise that the company also carries zippers in every possible material and color. Zippers are available in over 9,500 different colors from this company!
YKK zippers are known for their durability and quality. YKK zippers contain self-lubricating teeth that don’t get grittier or stickier with time, depending on the model you choose. Marine and military zippers are also available in a variety of heavy-duty options. Military personnel, firefighters, and hikers and campers are among the many target audiences for this brand.
What Size Zipper Slider Do I Need?
Measure the length of the zipper to find out what size of zipper slider you need. A slider that is too big or too small will not allow the zipper to function properly, which is why this is important.
There are often sizing measurements imprinted into the back of the damaged slider. Zipper size is indicated by a small number or letter on the tape, and a letter may identify the type of cloth used. You’ll save some time if you know this simple tip!
It’s possible to estimate the zipper’s size without a slider by counting the teeth. Measuring the horizontal breadth of the teeth (instead of the tape) is easiest with the teeth all tangled together. For this, millimeters are the preferred measurement unit.
In most cases, the millimeter measurement should be in agreement with the zipper sizing charts provided by the manufacturer of your zip
Metal, plastic, or nylon teeth are common on most zippers. Brass, interesting treatments like old brass, or a zinc alloy are common materials used in metal zippers. When it comes to plastic zippers, teeth can be molded, extruded into the tape, or even sewn into a piece of tape. The twisted coil shape of nylon zippers makes them more flexible.
Zippers are available in a wide variety of styles created from these three basic materials! Exposed, lapped, and invisible zippers are among the most popular types for garment zippers. One, two, or even three pulls and sliders can be added to zippers, allowing them to open in various ways.
Have you ever purchased a piece of clothing because of a unique zipper? What kind of zipper did it have? ‘ The best way to let us know is to leave a comment below.