An introduction to zippers and zip pulls

zipper and zip pull

The zipper has become one of the most commonly used inventions in the world. However, it was only in the 1930’s that this staple began to find it’s way in apparel and gained popularity thanks to the Prince of Wales and a number of french fashion designers.

Today, zippers have been used to make bold fashion statements as well as improve the functionality of a garment. Dependable and reliable zippers are worth their weight in gold as they can often make or break an outfit.

In this blog post, we take a look at a large variety of zippers and highlight the types you should be using for your garments in order to get a seamless finish.

Firstly, it is important to distinguish between the two basic classes of zipper:

Closed bottom zip

This closed bottom zipper has a bar at the base of the zip, also known as the bottom stop that keeps the zipper in one piece. This is commonly found on backs of dresses, pockets and purses.

Separating zip

This type of zipper pretty much does what it’s called, which is separate. These are typically found in jackets and coats.

There are three main types of materials zippers are typically made from:

Coil Zips

Coil zippers are a lightweight zip with coiled nylon or polyester teeth. It’s construction makes it very flexible meaning it is a great choice for knit jackets or other light garments and clothing. In comparison to molded plastic or metal, the design of the teeth are very subtle which makes it a perfect option for bags and pockets where you don’t want the zipper to stand out. Coil zippers tend to be one of the most popular options for most garments.

coil zip

Moulded plastic zippers

Moulded plastic zippers have the teeth moulded into the zipper tapes. This shape causes them to be slightly stiffer than a coil zipper, which whilst might not be ideal for every project, they can be great for children’s clothing. Moulded plastic zippers are also a more cost-effective solution for up and coming designers.

moulded plastic zips

Metal zips

Metal zippers naturally have metal teeth that are secured onto the zipper tape making them perfect for more heavy duty clothing items like coats, leather jackets, duffle bags and so on. While metal can make quite the statement, it can get pretty weighty. Metal zips are heavier than nylon, polyester and plastic.

Invisible zippers

Commonly used in formal wear or gowns, these zippers are slightly different to the rest. The teeth of these zippers are on the back of the zipper, meaning that once it is sewn in, the zipper is not visible on the top.

When working with zippers for your project, make sure you take into consideration the size and weight of the zipper. Most patterns come with a recommended zipper size for you to determine which is the most suited for your project.

Sometimes metal zippers can weigh over four times as much as nylon or coil zippers so you will need to factor this in, along with the material you use. For example, if you are using a light weight fabric, a metal zipper may pull down the fabric and cause it so sag.

Custom zipper pulls

Whether you are making a tote bag or a jacket, having the right zipper for the project can make all the difference to the final finish. For a more personalised touch, having a custom zipper pull with your branding or logo can really elevate the visual appeal and value of your item.

We supply a large variety of customisable zipper pulls, from die-cast metal and injection mould PVC pulls to woven and leather zip pulls.

To discuss zipper pulls or another project, drop us an email with your logo, artwork or idea to or alternatively call 0116 251 2634 to speak with one of our experienced account managers who will be happy to discuss your project and provide best advice to ensure your brand is appropriately reflected.