Manufacturing - Zip Up Your Zipper Knowledge

Zippers Come In A Variety Of Types

Zippers Sellers of apparel need to be intimately familiar with every piece of a garment.

Small but mighty details determine whether a garment functions properly or has an embarrassing malfunction. Knowing what type of closures are on the garment you’re presenting matters, particularly when it comes to zippers – an unzipped pair of pants certainly doesn’t appear professional, but more importantly you want to be the apparel provider that has answers about every single piece of a garment’s construction.

Zippers come in a variety of types. For most apparel, like pants, skirts and shorts, the common option is a closed-end zipper, which, as the name suggests, has a single slider that zips up in only one direction. These are non-separating.

For jackets and coats, you’ll encounter two other choices. Open-end zippers have two halves that completely disengage from each other, perfect for a jacket. Two-way open-end zippers also present separated ends, but have slider movement that can close from the top or bottom of the garment. This allows for a zipper to be opened near the garment’s bottom but closed near the top. Long, heavy winter coats and raincoats frequently use this version.

The structure of the zipper is comprised of the slider, elements and tape. The slider is the moveable tab that joins or separates the elements. Think of elements as “teeth”; these are the parts along each side of the zipper that engage when the slider opens or closes. The tape is the fabric sides to which the zipper is embedded.

Polyester is commonly used because of its strength and durability. The material that makes up the slider and elements really affects how a zipper looks and performs. There are metal, plastic and nylon versions. Within the metal choices you find variants from aluminum to nickel to brass.

A well-known and reputable brand of zipper is YKK. Dunbrooke (asi/50930), for example, only puts YKK’s polished brass zippers in its line of workwear jackets. Not only are these zippers proven to last, they also open and close smoothly. When purchasing a garment with a zipper, examine its parts and try it out. Be sure there is no loss of elements and that the track is straight.

Are there any threads or frays of fabric that can get caught in the zipper? Once a garment is zipped does it lie flat or hang straight? Examining and discussing these details with your client positions you as an expert and gives them a reason for investing more in long-term quality.