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Zipping It Up: Learning the Varied Types of Zippers and Closures

In dressmaking and sewing, zippers are very important. Zippers are types of fasteners or closures widely used in joining two edges of fabric. They are also used for clothing, bags, luggage, sporting goods, and textiles.

A zipper is composed of two different strips of fabric tape. Each strip is attached to a piece from the two parts to be joined. It carries tens or even hundreds of specially designed plastic or metal teeth. Operated by hand, the slider moves along the teeth of the slide. Inside the slider, there is a Y-shaped channel that separates or joins the opposing rows of teeth.

Types of Zippers

There are different types of zippers which are categorized according to their uses. Below are some examples.

Coil Zippers

These are the most common types of zippers used worldwide. The slider of the zipper runs on two different coils on both sides. The teeth of these types of zippers are the coils. Additionally, there are two basic types of coils that are used. The first one has coils in a spiral form, normally with its cord running inside the coils. The second one is the ladder form called the Ruhrmann type. This is used in specific parts of the world, particularly in South Asia. Coil zippers are generally made of polyester coils, which is why they are also called polyester zippers.

Invisible Zippers

The teeth of these types of zippers are placed behind the tape. The color of the tape matches with the color of the garments. The zipper is virtually invisible, except the slider. These types are common in dresses and skirts and are mostly polyester.

Metallic Zippers

These are the most classic types of zippers found in jeans today. Its teeth aren't coil but rather individual pieces of metal that have been molded into shape before set on regular intervals on the zipper tape. Metal zippers can be made from aluminum, brass, or nickel, depending on the type of metal used in making the teeth. All the metal zippers are made basically from flat wire.

There are also some specialized metal zippers that are made from heavy duty pre-formed wires, usually brass. However, only few companies have the technology to manufacture such types. These types of metal zippers are mostly used in work-wear, high grade jeans wear, and others where high strength, durability, and the ability to withstand tough washing is required.

Plastic-molded Zippers

These types are the same with the metal zippers but its teeth are plastic. These zippers can be manufactured in varied colors of plastic and commonly use polyacetal or polyethylene resin.

Open-ended zippers

These zippers use a particular mechanism called a box and pin to securely lock in place the two sides of the zipper. These are mostly found in jackets.

Closed-ended zippers

These are the types of zippers where both its ends are close. These are commonly used in baggage.

What is a Hook and Eye Closure?

Another type of fastener is called the hook and eye closure. This is commonly used on undergarments like brassieres. The hook and eye closure is very easy to sew in because of its design which makes it easy to handle. This closure can be efficiently used in wide varieties of garments, and comes in a wide variety of sizes and colors.

The hook and eye is made from metal. It consists of two basic parts, the metal hoop and the eye loop where the metal hook slips through. Once it has slipped through, the eye loop then firmly holds the hook and eye closure together. What makes this closure tightly secured is the pulling of the two sides against each other. Brassieres, corsets, and snug dresses use the very small hook and eye closure while the larger ones are ideal for jackets, cloaks, or shirts.


Buttons are also another type of closure. Used in fashion design and clothing, buttons are those small disc-shaped objects that are usually attached to a part of a clothing to secure an opening. Buttons are manufactured in a broad variety of materials that include natural materials like wood, vegetable ivory, shells, bones, or horns. There are also some made from synthetic materials such as plastic, metal, glass or celluloid.

In any dressmaking or sewing, keep closures handy. Remember that these are very important things in every sewing activity.

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