Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Buying Zippers in NYC's Garment District

SIL Thread at 257 W. 38th Street in the Garment District offers zippers in all types of teeth and colors

When I need a separating zipper or closed zipper cut to size, I usually head to SIL Thread. This is for those cases where I don't need my zipper to be a star, just functional; for stunning Riri or Lampro zippers I go to Pacific Trim (Riri) or Botani Buttons (Lampro).

Here are the steps to buying a zipper to-size at SIL:

1. Decide on what kind of teeth you want: Brass? Nickel? Molded plastic?
2. Factor in your application: If you're making outerwear you'd probably want a zipper with a wider tape and larger teeth, but something more delicate if you wanted an exposed zipper on a dress. SIL has many choices for tape width, weight and zipper teeth size.
3. Find the right color zipper for your garment
4. Take your zipper to the counter: Tell your cashier what size zipper you want out of the one you've selected, and whether you want it to separate (like for a jacket application) or closed (like in a dress or skirt). Pay for your zipper and then wait while an employee cuts it to size for you.

Today at SIL I bought a separating zipper with molded plastic teeth that I'll use on a spring jacket I'm making. It cost me just $4 and I only had to wait a few minutes while it was sized to 12 inches.

Even though Coats & Clark has expanded its zipper offerings to keep up with the styles, and they served me well for many years, I love being able to buy zippers that look more RTW. What about you, readers? Where do you buy your zippers?

SIL offers a large selection of colors and zipper teeth styles.
When you've chosen the right zipper for your application, take it to the counter to buy it and then have it cut to size


  1. I always forget about SIL and go to Steinlauf and Stoeller when in the district...even tho' I know SIL is cheaper. Otherwise I buy zippers from Daytona Trims and online...okay so everywhere! *LOL*

  2. I LOVE SIL... definitely my favorite zipper source, though I also use Daytona and Pacific.

  3. I usually go to Daytona just because it's on the same block as all my favorite fabric stores.

    For special colors that I need to match I buy my zipper at SIL. For about $1 a zipper with a wide variety of choices, you can't go too wrong.

  4. Thanks for this. Sometimes shopping in unfamiliar garment district stores can be a little overwhelming! I've always gone to Pacific, but I'm thankful for this how-to so I will know what to do if I ever need a special zipper!

  5. I sew more crafts than clothes, and I buy zippers from Mood. Their YKK 9" zippers (nylon, non-separating) have been running 50 cents each in the store (higher online). One time I bought close to 100 (in-store) and the owner gave me a nice discount.

    Last year, I came across a small trim shop (can't remember who - one of the side streets) that had 9" YKK's under a counter, still jumbled in their shipping boxes. When I asked the price, they quoted $1 each. I said no thanks, and they wanted to quote me another price if I would tell them how many I wanted. I still said no thanks, since I knew Mood could beat them & would have a better color selection.

    Mood's zippers are right inside the door, and you can open the boxes on the table that's there. Self-service, but easy to reach, the lighting is good, and you can lay your swatches & zippers on the table as you shop.

  6. SIL is my preferred zipper supplier, especially because they stock such a wide range of YKKs. Also, I am assured of getting first quality goods there. I have shopped for zippers at another store (which shall remain nameless). They were name brand zippers, loose in bins, but every single one that I tested was flawed - jammed. Not sure if they were selling seconds or if there is such a thing as "fake" zippers... It's weird. Anyway, SIL is reliable and the selection is great. Some of the YKK Excella line can compete with Riri too.

  7. SIL is my choice for everyday zippers as well. I stock up on skirt and pants zippers and they are half the price of Joann's. Did you notice that they carry invisible separating zippers? I have seen this in rtw but SIL is the only place I've ever seen them. I've also had them make up a custom length for me and have had the same experience as you.

  8. i buy my zippers at pacific Trimmings (when i'm in NY that is) the fancy Riri ones. they're expensive but gorgeous. and i stock up on unusual colours and finishes which know will be IMPOSSIBLE to find back home


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