sewing

A lazy guide to zippers

Zippers are a great invention (unless for the love of god you cant get it right in a garment, then they are hell!!). They are widely available in almost every colour under the sun and in every length you could possibly need. They are a staple in a lot of garments you may make from cushions to dresses and trousers, so its important to understand the different types available.

Types of zipper available

Metal teeth zippers: As the name suggests these have metal teeth and give a nice decorative finish. They can be ironed as they wont melt but you need to be careful of rust on cheap ones. The teeth are set onto a fabric zipper tape.

Image result for metal teeth zipper

Plastic teeth zippers: The teeth for this are moulded plastic and are set onto a fabric zipper tape. They won’t rust however you need to be careful when ironing them as too much heat will result in a melted zipper. These tend to give a chunkier finish.

Image result for plastic teeth zipper

Nylon Zippers: These are zippers which are made from nylon/polyester and if you look carefully you can see small filament loops make up the zipper. These are really common and are what most zippers are made from.

Image result for nylon zipper

Invisible/concealed zippers: These zippers are used in garments where the zipper has to be hidden from view i.e in women’s trousers, skirts, dresses. The teeth are only visible from the back of the zipper tape.

Image result for invisible zipper

Open ended zippers: These are a type of zipper normally used in sweatshirts, coats etc as the two rows of teeth completely separate from each other to allow are garment to separate.

Closed zippers : These are the opposite of open ended zippers, so they are permanently closed at the bottom of the zipper and are used in almost any garment or project i.e purse, cushion, jeans.

Top tips

Determining zipper length

If a pattern asks for a 22in zipper, most shops, online etc will have pre-marked zippers so you can just read the tag. However if you have a stoke pile at home abnd have since lost the tags its easy to work it out at home. Simply measure from the top metal stoppers to the bottom and this gives you the zipper length. DO NOT measure from the top to the bottom of the zipper tape. The zipper itself doesn’t run from the very top to the very bottom and you’ll end up using a smaller zip than you actually need.

Bespoke zipper length

Now it is possible that you will need a zipper that isn’t a standard size, especially if you are making up a garment without a pattern. However don’t worry bout this as it is really easy to make a zipper into any size you want. Obviously don’t start off with a 22in zipper if the end size you want is 5in as apart from anything it’ll cost you more! All you have to do is measure the desired zipper length from the metal stoppers at the top of the zipper. Then once you have marked where you want the new zip to stop, simply hand stitch in loop stitches across the teeth of the zipper, so when the zipper is pulled down it will stop at your desired length. Make sure you aren’t skimpy with the stitches as it needs to be strong. You an then trim off the access under the stitches (no too close though), and VOILA! new size of zipper just for you.

Hope this was helpful 🙂

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Love Heather xx

 

 

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