Understanding the Right Zipper Parts

It can be confusing when going to the sewing store to explain what zipper parts are needed in order to create something new or repair an old piece. Most people do not have a lexicon of zipper definitions as an intrinsic part of their vocabulary. However, once the basic parts are understood, it is a simpler chore to get the right type of zipper parts in order to get the job done correctly.

What is the Zipper Chain?

The chain of the zipper is the part where the two halves mesh together. These are usually made from molded plastic, nylon coils or metal. The chains come in different length, gauges and colors. The individual elements of the chain are known as the teeth. Most zipper repairs are related to the chain as it is easy to get fabric or thread caught in the teeth preventing the zipper from going up or down, jamming the zipper or from gaps where the zipper chain does not connect properly.

What is the Zipper Tape?

The tape of the zipper refers to the fabric the chain is attached to. This material is usually dyed to match the material of the item it is being sewn to so that the zipper blends with the piece. The tape ends are the areas of the zipper material that extend above or below the chain. This zipper part is the place where it can be attached to the garment, purse, tent, shoe or other item.

What are the Zipper Stops?

There are stops on a zipper to prevent the slider from coming off of the chain. There is usually one attached at the top and the bottom of each half. This prevents the zipper from separating. A bridge stop keeps both sides of the zipper together at the bottom so that the zipper cannot be separated. For example, this is often seen in closed-ended zippers on dresses or jeans.

What are the Zipper Slider and Pull Tab

Zipper parts also include a slider and a pull tab. The slider is the device that moves up and down the chain in order to open or close the zipper. The pull tab is attached to the slider. It makes it easier to grasp the slider in order to make the zipper work. These are another common failure on zippers and often need to be replaced when they fall off. Attaching a new one is easy however, or a simple paperclip or safety pin can be used as a pull tab instead.

Zipper parts come in many sizes and styles. They can be finished to a specific length and any necessary components can be attached. They can have a continuous chain, be open-ended or closed-ended depending on what they will be used for. They are also simple to attach or a professional seamstress can help. However, the biggest criteria when purchasing new zipper parts is in finding a part that matches the item it will be attached to.