Let me be the YKK on yo' zipper!

12:00 AM

YKK Zippers vs. Coats & Clark - Erica B.'s DIY Style!
The title of this post is taken from the rap group Outkast's 2001 hit single, "So Fresh, So Clean".  Everytime I see a YKK zipper, I can't help but to sing the lyric aloud.  Which leads me to talk about my new favorite preference in zippers.  It was a longtime coming, but I finally have to say good-bye to Coats & Clark zippers.  I've held onto them for so long based on convenience.  See, I live really, REALLY close to Hancock Fabrics, Jo-Ann's AND Hobby Lobby.  I've always been able to easily make a mad dash to one of these locations for a quick zipper run and also with the savings possibility of coupons! Coupons will cause you to make bad choices just to say that you saved money.  When in the long run, you're not!

I've had several invisible C&C invisible zippers break on me in the last year.  Too many to count.  I even blogged about an experience that almost put me in a bind.  I did consider it was me.  But I've been successfully installing concealed zips for many, many years.  So when I doubted my own ability, I went in search of re-learning from scratch how to do it all over again.  Still, the zippers failed me once again and then again.  So, I'm done.  I'm not going to promise that in the throes of sewing passion that if I need a zipper, I won't give in and use a C&C.  But it's definitely no longer my go to brand.  

So as of today, YKK is my zipper brand.  They're considered the best zipper brand in the world.  And it's the brand that most designers use.  Just grab a random RTW garment of yours and look at the zipper.  It will almost always be stamped "YKK".  

Now that I've ventured out into the world of custom sewing, there is no way that I would put a C&C zipper in a garment for a customer.  I just don't trust their reliability,  Nor would I ever want to compromise the integrity of something someone has paid me to make with a sticky zipper, breaking teeth, a lockup or one that will more than likely split open on someone's special occasion.  I've had that happen, I know what it feels like and I wouldn't want anyone to experience that -- especially when I made it.

A zipper doesn't make a garment, but it can damn sure break one!

Here are my sources for YKK zippers:
Wawak
Zipperstop
Zipit

What zippers are you using and highly recommend?  And what are your favorite sources or vendors?  Please share!

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37 comments

  1. I've been doing the YKK thing since my second year of sewing! No other's stand the test! So fresh and so clean clean clean

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    Replies
    1. I wish someone had told me back in the day!

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  2. I made a frock for work and I felt pretty good in it. It was purple with a peplum and a zip that ran from the nape to my behind.

    Well, I got this zip from the market and it felt pretty ok, made my lapped Zip with it and off I went.

    I was gonna show my guys at work my sewing and design skills! I jumped in my car drove down the road and reached the car park.

    I got out the car, just five minutes before I was due to start work.

    There was a cool breeze on my back that I felt when I got out the car, imagine my shock when I realised the top of my knickers and the whole of back is out for the world to see!

    Beware the cheap zip!

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    Replies
    1. Sadly, I've been there.

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  3. Cool!
    ♥♥♥
    Jeanne
    http://www.fashionmusingsdiary.com

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  4. I've been using vintage metal zips lately - many of them YYK. We have a local store that sells vintage haberdashery super cheap. They do feel more substantial than the modern versions!

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    1. I've yet to find a local store with YKK. You're so lucky.

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  5. I use a lot of YKK zippers... I also tried the C&C but the few times I used them, I was not convinced at all. In Germany you can buy YKK zippers nearly everywhere so I use these. But I have to commit that I never had problems with breaking teeth or anything you mentioned.
    I am totally convinced of the japanese YKK zipper quality and hope with these you will no longer have issues!

    Stef from Sea of Teal

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    Replies
    1. In my area, it's just the opposite. You can get the C&C everywhere.

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  6. I only use YKK now, especially when it comes to invisible zips. I had too many other brands bust apart or melt under the iron.

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    Replies
    1. I learned the hard way.

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  7. This is really interesting. I have never considered the brand/quality of zippers as a cause of concern, but it makes complete sense. As I've improved my sewing, I've improved the quality of the materials I use (interfacing in particular). This is a great tip!

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    Replies
    1. I never thought they made a difference either. But they really do.

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  8. My favorite zippers for exposed or jackets and coats, are Riri that I buy either in person or online at Pacific Trimmings in NYC. They are like jewelry. I also have had C & C break. I put in a brass jeans zipper in a pair of jeans and it broke, fortunately during the try on stage and not out in the world. Lots of topstitching to remove.

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    Replies
    1. I'm just waiting for a project that I can use one of those fabulous Riri zips!

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    2. Lampo zippers are also stunning

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  9. I will buy a C&C here and there because like you, I'm just a mad dash away from Hancock and JoAnn (we don't have a HL). BUT I found out about Wawak and placed a ridiculous order for zippers once when they were having a buy 2 get 1 free sale.

    And I agree on not taking the chance on customer's garments especially. That would be horrifying.

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    1. Wawak has great deals!

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  10. I never gave this much thought before but you are right. You spend time and money looking for quality machines and accessories, material, threads and other notions, why not zippers? I've never had one break on me (knocks on wood) but I have had thread problems

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    Replies
    1. Thread is another topic!

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  11. Here, YKK are easily obtainable. I've never used a C&C one - I don't know if they're available here. There are a couple of other brands I use, one quite expensive but so lovely (if a zip can be lovely!). I have used some from the local market, cheapos, and haven't had a problem - yet! I hadn't considered the importance but it's obvious when you think about it.

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  12. I just ordered some YKK metal Jean zips from 'create for less' - the more you buy, the cheaper they are!

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  13. Sewtrue.com has a lot YKK zippers and has free shipping sales once a month or so. I love the selection- all kind of zippers in loads of colors and lengths. I agree they are very nice zippers!

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  14. You may notice that YKK zippers from JoAnn's have thinner more flexible tape than ones from Wawak. They also have more colors in JoAnn's so it depends on what you are making. The thicker more stable tape is great for pants but sometimes I prefer a thinner tape for down the back of a dress so I keep plenty in stock in invisible and regular. Wawak has specials from time to time so stock up on the popular sizes since there is no way I will ever stop needing 9 inch zippers for pants...ever!

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  15. Good info to know. I get my zippers from G Street Fabrics and never paid attention. Now I will go and check to see what I have.

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  16. I had an invisible zipper break on me just this morning... on a skirt I made maybe 2 months ago. Thanks for posting your two cents & sources for YKK, I'll definitely be checking them out!

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  17. RiRi when I feel like dropping $12-20 on a fancy zipper for a seriously nice garment (my wedding dress for instance) in a very specific tape & teeth color combo. I get RiRi at Pacific Trim in NY, but they also have a comparable house brand with a basic range of colors. Those run around $5 a pop and are totally worth it.

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  18. I always use the YKK zippers. I purchase them in the garment district in NYC

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  19. I'm glad you posted this and I'm glad I read it. A few years ago, I started helping my clients get ready for the prom. Well, last year, I made a beautiful prom dress for a client. I was there helping her get dressed, I used a C&C invisible zipper. When I zipped up the dress it was fine, when she went to bend over to pick something up the zipper popped open. I was devastated. I've been sewing for over 30 years and this had never happened to me. My reputation was now on the line (that's how I felt). I had to hand sew the area closed where the zipper was inserted. I said I would never use another invisible zipper in a prom gown again. Now I know it's the brand and not me. Thank you for this post.

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  20. YKK are great zippers. Unfortunately, people should be wary of buying YKK labelled zips from unreputable stores... as there are a lot of fake YKK zips out there http://www.ykkfastening.com/brand/counterfeit.html

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  21. Yesterday I bought 5 black RiRi zips in my local charity shop - they must have come from a factory closure as you rarely see them outside London here in the UK. Now I just need to actually use them.

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  22. i don't sew, but I thought this was a GREAT post!! who knew I'd love reading about zippers so much!

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  23. I prefer YKK, but have had them fail on me too. I find that if I see the zip down on the outer portioned the zoo tape as well it gives the zipper more stability and less chance of failure. YKK has a heavy duty bridal invisible zip, but it only comes in white and bone. I found this at Sears of all places!!! http://m.sears.com/ykk-invisible-zipper-foot-for-ykk-invisible-zippers/p-SPM8047995029

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  24. Great post, Erica! So true about these store bought zippers. You have two of my favorite sources, Was an and Zipperstop. I have to check out Zipit, never heard of that one.

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  25. Yes Mrs. Erica you are so right. I have had several C&C to break and seemingly for no reason. I have ordered from Wawak before I will have to look at the other two site. Thank you

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  26. Thanks Ms. Erica for a great post! I had no idea! I use C&C for many years… While I have not had a problem with a zipper yet, I don't want to have one!!! I purchase from Wawak occasionally and will now be looking to get my zippers from them as well! I usually try to keep a good supply of colors and types. So I guess it's time to stock up on new zippers! Thanks so much for the great post!

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