Making Clothes: Zipper Details

Zippers are such cool closures. They have a function, but can also be an accessory or an integral part of a garment's design, like this fantastic dress made from 120 upcycled zippers.

Zipper Dress by Sebastian Errazuriz. Image from here


Or this very creative cuff bracelet made from an upcycled YKK zipper.

Tara St. James Zipper Cuff. Image from here


We use zippers in more conventional ways, but there are so many options to consider when choosing the right one for a design. Here's a quick guide to zipper types and sizes. There are so many kinds of zippers -- metal, nylon or plastic; closed end, one-way separating or two-way separating; and ones with wide teeth that can be exposed or ones that are invisible when sewn in. 


For our Curvy Moto Jacket, we used a 2-way zipper -- one that opens and closes at both ends -- and a closed-end zipper for the sleeve cuffs. The 2-way zipper allows the jacket to be styled in different ways -- giving the wearer many more options. We also selected zippers with bright white tape as another way to accent the white topstitching detail on the jacket. 


For our Crop Moto Jacket, we selected a one-way separating zipper as well as the bright white zipper tape.


Both of our jackets have nickel "teeth" -- a high-quality metal in a silver tone that ensures the zipper can be zipped smoothly and without snags. Also, these zippers are made here in California, in keeping with our commitment to support our local industry as much as possible.


Zippers can also be used for knitted garments, but it is trickier to choose the best ones. 

This is one of our hand-knit designs from a couple of years ago. In selecting the zipper detail, we needed to balance the need for an edgy and stand-out zipper in metal (to capture the moto vibe) with the soft nature of a hand-knitted garment. If the zipper is too heavy, it will weigh down the garment and cause it to lose its shape. If it is too light, the zipper will be "floppy" and twist or curl up when unzipped. We tested a number of zippers in varying sizes -- every garment is different, so testing is the best way to ensure you choose the best one! Yarn: Spud and Chloe Sweater.


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