What is Zipper | Different Types of Zipper Used in Garments

Last Updated on 22/02/2023

What is Zipper?
A zipper, zip, or zip is fastening device. It is a commonly used device for binding the edges of an opening of fabric or other flexible material, as on a garment or a bag. It is used in clothing (e.g., jackets and jeans), luggage and other bags, sporting goods, camping gear (e.g. tents and sleeping bags), and other items. Zipper, the tiny mechanical wonder, keeps so much of us and our possessions together. Without this sleek trim, it would be so difficult to manage our clothing, baggage and even footwear. This fabulous fashion accessory really deserves a well organized description.

Fig: Zippers

The ‘zipper’ was introduced in 1893 at the Chicago World’s Fair then with the name of ‘Clasp Locker’. Initially, during the 1930s zippers were elements in children’s clothing for aiding them to dress themselves more easily. Zippers came into public interest in 1937 through the fashion designers in France who used them on men’s trousers.

Eventually you will need to insert a zipper into a garment or a tote bag. With a bit of preparation, the task will be easier and the final results will be stunning! With so many choices, which zipper to choose? Check out the notions section of any sewing shop and you’ll find a rainbow of color choices. In addition to matching the zipper color to the fabric, it is important to choose the proper type to complement your project.

Different Types of Zipper:
The zipper is probably the most used of all fastenings. Zippers come in a variety of lengths, types and materials, so always select the best zipper type and material to improve the appearance and durability of your sewing project. Zipper teeth are manufactured from three types of materials—metal, molded plastic chain and coil (nylon). Zippers also fall into three categories—tooth, coil and invisible. Zippers can be open at one or both ends, closed at both ends or invisible.

There are a great many types available, in a variety of lengths, colors, and materials, but they all fall into following categories: coil zippers, metallic zippers, skirt or pant zippers, metal or jeans zippers, invisible zippers, open-ended zippers, and decorative zippers etc.

There are several types of zipper available, each with its own unique features and uses. Some common types of zipper are:

1. Coil Zippers: It is the most common type of zippers, and they have a continuous coil that is sewn onto the fabric. Flat on one side with teeth on the other. Each tooth is connected to the next and bend easily. They are flexible, durable, and lightweight, making them perfect for a variety of applications backpacks, sleeping bags and tents. Shorter lengths can be used in purses and totes.

Various types of zipper
Fig: Various types of zipper

2. Tooth Zippers: Teeth are equally visible on both sides of the zipper tape. Every tooth is separate. They are perfect for most straight applications like jackets, garment bags and totes.

3. Metallic Zippers: These zippers are generally made of stainless steel, zinc, brass, nickel or aluminum alloy and are mostly found in jeans. The metal pieces are shaped into the form of teeth and are positioned in a zipper tape at uniform intervals. The metal zippers could be colored in a variety of colors to match the color of the garment.

4. Plastic-Molded Zippers: These zippers have teeth made of molded plastic, which makes them lightweight and durable. They are commonly used in luggage, backpacks, and sporting goods.

5. Invisible Zippers: This type of zipper looks different from other zippers because the teeth are on the reverse and nothing except the pull is seen on the front. Hidden in a seam with only the pull tab showing. They are flexible and strong. Use an invisible zipper foot to insert. Use in skirts, blouses, dresses—anywhere you need an invisible closure with a smooth finish.

Invisible Zippers
Fig: Invisible zippers

6. Open-End Zippers: These zippers have two separate pieces that can be completely separated, making them ideal for jackets, coats, and other outerwear.

7. Two-Way Zippers: This type of zippers have two sliders that allow the zipper to be opened from either end. They are commonly used in tents, sleeping bags, and other outdoor gear.

8. Closed-ended zippers: This kind of zipper is used regularly in baggage and is closed at both ends. The close-ended zippers are nonseparating and are usually opened and closed by means of a slider. These zippers are used on trousers, jeans, jacket or shirt pockets, etc.

Closed-ended zippers
Fig: Closed-ended zippers

9. Water-Resistant Zippers: These zippers have a special coating that makes them resistant to water and moisture. They are commonly used in raincoats, boots, and other outdoor gear.

10. Innovative Zippers: Due to the specific performances of textile and clothing, requirement of specialty zippers are also necessary to meet the functional performance of the garments. As a result, innovations were made to produce novel types of zippers such as flame-resistant zippers, airtight and watertight zippers, chemical-resistant zippers, zippers having electrical conducive yarn, zipper tape printed with ink-jet, environmentally conscious zippers, etc.

Cautions of Zippers for Children Clothing:
Zippers on all children’s product must not contain toxic elements. If the zipper pull has a surface coating, it must comply with the CPSIA 2008. All zippers and zipper pulls must conform to the European Nickel Directive and must be non-ferrous to ensure garments pass through the metal detector. Zippers must have fully autolock or semi-autolock sliders. Pin Lock zippers are not acceptable on children’s wear.

Top edges of zippers are to be finished so that there are no sharp edges on the teeth or top stops. Fasteners cannot have rough or sharp edges, and they must be free from rust, contamination, oxidation and all other types of degraded corrosion.

Zipper stops are especially designed so that the zipper slider can be removed which are not permitted for use on children’s clothing. Coil zippers for children’s clothing must have moulded plastic top and bottom stops. For USA and Canada, metal zippers require a zipper guard or facing to prevent the zipper being in direct contact with the skin.

However, invisible/concealed zippers are not permitted for children’s clothing for 3 years and under, i.e., sizes 0–5T for USA, sizes 0–3x for Canada.

A zipper pull is the component used to open and close a zipper. It can be attached through either the main body of the zipper slider or through the eye of the zip pull. Indirect attachment pulls (Two piece zipper pulls) are not allowed for children’s clothing for 3 years and under.

Ring pulls or other open-type designs are not permitted for children’s clothing for 3 years and under.


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