We have many different types of zip to choose from but to make life easier lets split them into two groups.

We have the light weight zips that tend to be made with the coil system and the heavy weight that are generally molded or metal. You’ll want to match the weight and use of your zip to the weight and purpose of your fabric and project. For a summer dress you’d be best to go for a standard/light weight zip and if you’re making a warm jacket you’ll want a zip on the heavier side. You’re also going to want to open the zip fully on a jacket so an Open ended zip will be what you’re looking for. Confused, much? It can be a minefield but you’ll soon catch onto what to look for.

An assortment of zips from Standard skirt zips through to heavy metal zips

Let’s start with the light weight zips.

These are made with a plastic coil which is woven into the fabric tape of the zip. Normally found in your general ready to wear and readily available in your local haberdashery/ sewing shop. They tend to come in very light weight and a normal/medium weight zip for use in anything from skirts or trousers to dresses. You may notice there are invisible zips in there. Those are the zips which have their coil hidden at the back of the tape. When you get to putting in an invisible zip it will become much clearer. As it is, I don’t want to completely boggle you with alternatives.

Coil zips-standard and invisible

Heavy weight/ use Zips

So these can be either coil or toothed zips but have a much stronger hard wearing feel to them. They tend to be just a little bit more chunky.

The Heavy coil zips are generally used for jackets or where they are going to get quite a lot of use.

Metal zips can be used from jeans to jackets and due to being a hard material are very sturdy. You might notice one of those has a slight kink at the base of the zip. This is a mans trouser zip. Not used quite so much now the waistline of trousers has drifted lower down the body but if your man is a fan of the deeper based trouser you’ll find these useful as they follow the curve of the crotch seam.

You are also likely to find the heavier zips can also have an open end. Check when buying your zip if this is what you need. This makes it suitable for open tops or jackets, unless you like to step into yours…

If you’re looking for a chunky zip for aesthetic reasons be sure to interface your fabric so that it can hold the weight of the zip. A strip of interfacing along the stitch lines of your fabric will work wonders for controlling your fabric whilst putting your zip in.

A range of heavier weight zips from mens trouser zip to an open-ended jacket zip.

So, now you have a little more idea as to which zip you might be looking for, let’s have a look at the feet you’ll need to get one fitted.