FAQs - Zippers

OUR COUTURE ZIPPERS

Fabric Funhouse currently carries one size (#5/6mm) of symmetrical metal zippers in a variety of finishes and tape colors. Our zippers are made in Italy to our exact specifications, and our manufacturer holds a Standard 100 OEKO-TEX certification for their products.  

While all metal zippers have metal teeth that are clamped onto the zipper tape, our zipper chain possesses metal teeth which are individually moulded, tumbled, and plated before being stapled one by one to the tape. The special symmetrical shape of our zipper teeth gives a higher lateral resistance performance. When you zip them up, they stay zipped! This makes them incredibly durable so they are perfect for heavy-duty coats, duffle bags, and cork projects. While you might like the statement the metal teeth make in your apparel, be careful of the weight! They are far heavier than their nylon, polyester and plastic counterparts.  

TERMINOLOGY

SYMMETRICAL - It doesn't matter which direction you put on the slider, and you can utilize two sliders on this type of zipper.

CHAIN - The "teeth" of the zipper, also called a coil in nylon zippers.

ZIPPER CHAIN (CONTINUOUS) – a length of zipper tape, either coil or tooth style, sold by the yard. Allows you to make and customize your own zippers. At least one end must be sewn or stopped closed. It cannot be used to make separating jacket zippers.

ZIPPER TAPE – The fabric part of the zipper.

ZIPPER SLIDER & PULL: the sliding head on the zipper. The actual pull is the articulated lever attached to the slider. [Note:the zipper sliders from one brand are usually not interchangeable with other zipper brands] We carry a non-locking slider – a zipper slider which slides easily and has no internal locking mechanism to hold it in place. Uses: purse pockets, handbags, luggage

PULL TAB – The part of the slider that is held to move the slider up or down.

TOP STOP – Two permanent stays affixed to the top most end of a zipper, to prevent the slider from coming off the chain.

BOTTOM STOP / CLOSED ZIPPER – a bar that goes across both sides of the base of the zipper, used when creating a closed bottom zipper, which keeps the zipper in one piece.

SEPARATING ZIPPER – A separating zipper, well, separates. These are typically found in jackets and coats.

Tools

ZIPPER FOOT - The only absolute necessity for sewing with zipper is a zipper foot. There are two different types of zipper feet – regular and invisible. These feet are necessary because they allow you to sew close to the teeth. An invisible zipper foot are made specifically for invisible zippers and are not necessary for other zipper types.

NIPPERS - Coil and molded plastic zippers can be cut through with scissors if needed. Metal zippers, however, require you to snip and pull off some teeth prior. There are many tools you can use to accomplish this, but we recommend jewelry zipper nippers or a zipper install tool (both can be found for very little money).

PLIERS - Coil and molded plastic zippers can be cut through with scissors if you need to shorten them. Metal zippers, however, require you to snip and pull off some teeth prior to shortening.

INVISIBLE TAPE - Yes, tape. The clear tape you use to wrap your presents with. Tape those zippers down to keep them from slipping around as you sew. Another alternative would be to use 1/4" Wonder Tape or Fabric-Tac to glue down your zipper tape prior to sewing.

FAQs

SHOULD YOU USE TOP & BOTTOM STOPS?

The purpose of zipper stops is to keep the zipper sliders from derailing when the zipper is in use. In handbag construction, use of top and bottom stops can be optional. If the ends of the zipper chain are sewn into a seam, you may choose not to attach top/bottom stops because the seam will act as the “stops”. 

Another option is to attach a grip tab to each end of the zipper chain. It is often made from the fabric used in the bag itself. This finish will prevent the zipper slider from dislodging while the tab itself can be gripped in the hand when operating the zipper.

When using zipper stops, bottom stops are attached to one end of a one end closed zipper and both ends of a one or two-way non-separating zipper. Bag manufacturers tend to use the latter method. Top stops are used at the top end (the “open” end) of a one-end closed zipper. They aren't always necessary in handbag construction, due to the ability to use one of the other methods above instead, but will come into play with apparel construction.

HOW TO ATTACH A ZIPPER SLIDER ONTO CHAIN

1. Cut the zip chain to length plus 2” [5 cm].

2. On one end of the zipper chain (tape), part the zipper teeth about 2″ [5 cm].

3. Insert one side of the zipper about 1/4 ” [6 mm] into the curved end of the zipper slider.

4. Insert the other end of the zipper into the slider. To prevent misalignment on the other end of the zipper line up the short ends of the zipper tape evenly.

5. Firmly holding both zipper halves slide the slider onto the zipper teeth. It may take several attempts to line up the zipper teeth and to prevent a bulge on one side of the zipper tape if the teeth are misaligned.

6). Apply stops to each end of the zipper. Trim away any excess at zipper ends to neaten. 

[NOTE: When putting two zipper sliders on the same zipper tape, attach the second slider on the opposite end of the zipper tape using the same method as above so that the sliders are facing head-to-head].

COMMON CONFIGURATIONS

                      

Double slider “X” type               Closed end                    Double slider “O” type

Top stops on both sides.             Bottom stop on               Bottom stops on

                                                     one side, top                   both sides.

                                                     stops on the other.

 

SIZING GUIDE

Zipper Number General Size Good For
1-4 small formal clothing. cushions. small handbags. skirts. dresses. pants.
5-7 medium jackets. duffel bags. tents. purses. backpacks. luggage. boots.
8-10 large industrial clothing. vehicle covers. upholstery. canvas tents.