All About Zipper

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1.  Zipper structure
A zipper has following parts
a) Slider 
Slider is the moveable part of a zipper that disengages or interlocks the two sets of elements (stringers) to form a chain. Various types of sliders are available depending on use.
b) Elements
Elements are the parts on each side of a zipper that disengages or interlocks with each other when passed through the slider. Elements may be as teeth, scoop, and coils
c) Tape
A narrow width material to which the elements are attached. Durability of the tape is major factor in zipper performance. Tape may be cotton, synthetics, or fiber bland.
d) Chain
The zipper chain consist of two interlocking stringers of elements that lock and unlock with the movement of the slider.
e) Stops
The devise at the top and bottom of the chain or stringers, that prevents the slider from leaving the chain.
f) Zipper pull
A handle or part connected to slider used to move it. They may be small, large, round, plain with the logo of the zipper manufacturer.
Fig: Zipper Structure 

2. Category of Zipper 
Mainly we can categorize the zipper in two options by;

1. Materials 
Different types of materials are used in zipper which as follows 

a) Nylon/ coil Zipper
Nylon Coil zippers consist of a continuous coil chain made from nylon. They are very flexible and most commonly used in fashion (skirts, dresses, etc.), pouches and bags. If the coil is located on the back of the zipper instead of the front it is an Invisible Zipper.

b) Plastic/ vislon/ derlin Zipper. 
Plastic Molded zippers have individual plastic elements that fit together like puzzle pieces. They are very durable and commonly used in outerwear, sports clothes and equipment (gym bags, etc.), and outdoor goods. 

c) Metal
Metal zippers consist of individual metal element. They are typically made from nickel, brass, aluminum and manganese. They are available in several finishes such as gold, antique gold, black oxidized brass, nickel aluminum and specialty.  They are often used in jeans, leather items, jackets, sweat shirts, and bags.

2.   Function.
According to function, zipper may be classified following ways; 

a)  Close-end zippers are non-separating and are normally opened and closed with a slider. The bottom stop is made up of a single part and doesn’t allow complete separation of the chain. These zippers are used on trousers, jeans, bags, boots, etc. 

b) Open-end (separating) zippers have separated ends. The ending part is joined by a box and pin mechanism provided on the lower end of the zipper. The zippers are closed using sliders, and are normally used on jackets and other outerwear. 

c) Two-way separating zippers have separated ends as well. The bottom slider allows movement from the bottom of the zipper. These zippers are used in rain wears, sports wears, and sleeping bags. 

d) Two-way head to head zippers have two sliders at the center of the chain when the zippers are closed. Head to head zippers can be opened by pulling the sliders towards the stops, but cannot be separated because the ending parts have two stops that cannot be divided. These zippers are mainly used for bags, backpacks, and luggage. 

e)  Two-way tail to tail zippers have sliders on opposite ends when the zipper is closed. These zippers can be opened by pulling the sliders towards each other, but cannot be separated. They are used for overalls and anything else.

3. About Zipper Slider 
Slider is the moveable element that open and close the zipper. It composes of "body", "puller" and "crown". Most sliders are made of zinc alloy raw material. There are also sliders made of copper alloy, iron and plastic to fit specific purpose. When choosing the most appropriate slider to assemble onto the zipper, one needs to consider the four important elements:1) Zipper size and type 2)Locking function 3) Puller type 4) Surface treatment.

4. Position of Slider and regional use
Normally we follow some regional requirement regarding the zipper, when we ordered or attached the zipper with body. Such as right handed zipper and left handed zipper.  This requirement also very important for fashion trend so before place an order merchandiser should confirmed it from buyer.
  • L/S: left side slider, where wearer use right hand to insert pin and left hand to pull.Europe and Asia: used both by male and female. USA: generally used by female
  • R/S: right side slider, where wearer use left hand to insert pin and right hand to pull. USA, Canada, and South America: generally used by male. 
5.  Zipper color
1. Nylon & Plastic
Whole zipper may be any color as buyer required usually DTM or Tone on Tone.
2. Metal 
Only tape color may be as above but slider & teeth color remain as metal color. Nickel Silver, Matt Silver, Antique Silver, Black Nickel, Antique Brass, Antique Copper, Black Oxidized, Golden Brass, Golden
6.  Zipper No./size
Zipper has a number usually engraved on underside of slider such as 3, 4, 4.5, 5, 8, 10
7.  Zipper no. and Teeth Size 
Zipper No.
3 mm
4 mm
6 mm
7 mm
10 mm
4 mm
4.5 mm
6 mm
7 mm
8  mm
4 mm
5 mm
6 mm
7 mm
8  mm

8. Zipper length
Zipper length is measured from stop to stop
9. Zipper application
There are two types of zipper applications exposed and enclosed. Many different methods may be used with either types of application. 
a) Exposed zipper
Exposed zippers are not covered or concealed by fabric and may be aesthetic as well as functional. Zipper may provide color accent and texture variation for style. Exposed zippers may be applied in seam but do not require seams for application. Exposed zipper applications are symmetric and commonly used for neckline opening in knit garment, front opening of jackets and sweatshirt, and pocket closure on various types of outerwear. Minimal fabric is required in applying exposed zipper.
b) Enclosed zipper
Enclosed zippers are concealed by plackets located in seam. Enclosed zippers application may be symmetric or asymmetric plackets.
i. Symmetric plackets may use seam openings and are formed from seam allowances and continuous top stitching. Symmetric applications are often found at the center fronts and backs of garments, lower ends of sleeves and pant legs and side seam. A type of zipper named invisible zipper frequently used with symmetric plackets. 
ii.    Asymmetric applications include lapped or fly plackets.
  • Lapped plackets, which are approximately ½ inch wide, also use the seam opening with the overlap and under lap formed from corresponding seam allowances. Zippers are offset under the seam opening and covered with the overlap half of the seam allowance. It is commonly used in skirt and. 
  • Fly plackets are traditionally used on pants. A fly placket is wider (1- 1½ inch) and more structured than the typical welt placket. To construct a fly placket, extensions of the seam allowances or a separate piece of shell fabrics are required. 
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