YKK Zipper Rant

I am stunned, peeps.  Flabbergasted.  I have been rendered speechless by a zipper.

Like most Canadians who are not inside the sewing/fashion industry, but are sewing at home and rely on our various Fashion Districts or local sewing stores to get our supplies, I have sewn with many invisible zippers over the years.  Most of them have been purchased from Fabricland, World Sewing Centre, Neveren’s or other places on Queen Street in Toronto.  Every single zipper has three little letters on some part of it:  YKK.  Even though the tags may say Costumemakers (from Fabricland) or, if you buy from the vendors in the Fashion District, the zippers are sans tags, the little YKK imprint can be found on the pull, the stop, or printed on the zipper tape.zippersSo I thought I was dealing with the world-renowned YKK zippers.  But I having had a few break during wear, and, most recently, while trying to finish up my skinny trousers, I was advised by several of you via comments that you’ve never had a problem with YKK zippers.  Which got me to thinking maybe I don’t really know what a true YKK zipper looks like.  Or feels like.  Or sews and zips like!  Maybe I had never sewn with a real YKK zipper.

So I did some quick research and ordered from Zipperstop and upon opening the package noticed a few differences from the Fakers, but nothing to write a post about.

zipperstop YKK Conceal zipsThe tapes are narrower, the pulls have the little YKK branding with some numbers on the back, and the tapes are not made of cheap nylon.  They also require a little more pull to zip up than the cheap fakes that I’ve been working with.  The real deal is on the left in the pics below.real vs fakewhich is realYup, that’s a split Faker on the right, courtesy of Fabricland.  Today I finally sat myself down and inserted a real one into my skinnies.  And I am so amazed at the difference that I just may write Fabricland Head Office a letter of complaint about stocking Fakers.  The tapes, although narrower that the Fakers, were much easier to manoeuvre.  And hand sewing or pinning them is a breeze.  Has anyone else noticed that the Fakers occasionally challenge your needles or pins and require super finger strength to penetrate while sewing?  Not YKKs.  And the strength of the coil is a thing of beauty.  I’ve zipped and unzipped my YKK through all the matching seams and pockets and it hasn’t complained at all.  No sign of stress or worry that it won’t zip up.

I am so excited about this discovery.

I am so incredibly disgusted and ANGRY about being sold Fakers everywhere I go in Toronto.  Has anyone else noticed this?

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14 thoughts on “YKK Zipper Rant

  1. I hear you on this too as real YKKs are only available at a few places near me in little ol’ NZ. I have a small pile of fakers which I use for muslins because I hate to throw notions away. A small local haberdashery says theirs are real, but they are not so Faker Marketing dept are doing a good job unfortunately 😦

  2. I recently found a great store on Etsy that sells an *amazing* assortment of YKK zippers at wholesale prices. They have very inexpensive shipping (I am in the US) and my order came in two days. I bought every color (65!) in 12″ for something like $23.00. I wanted to see what all the colors were, & I will use them to make zippered bags/pouches for gifts. I found them linked from another sewing blog, I do not know them. http://www.etsy.com/shop/zipit

  3. I DEFINITELY say write to Fabricland and complain! I had assumed they were “real” YKK zippers as well! ARGH! I haven’t had too much trouble with any of mine (no more than I get from RTW invisible zippers anyway)… but still. ARGH.

  4. I did not know this! Interestingly, I just bought an invisible zip from Fabricland and the top is twisted, won’t lie flat, so now I have to take it back. It says ‘costumemakers’ on the tag and “YXX” on the zip pull.

  5. Fake zippers! Who knew? That you for the heads up. although I have no idea where I would find real YKK’s, as the only fabric store within a 6 hour drive is the dreaded Fabricland.. One more reason to hate them. 😎

    1. Well, there’s always the option of buying online. I was hesitant to put out the $ for shipping, but after working with the real deal, I’m thinking I’ll shell out. Replacing zippers is not my idea of fun sewing, so spending a bit more (it works out to $2 per zipper) is well worth the quality, imho. 🙂

  6. Thank-you for this post as I didn’t know that fake YKK zippers existed. Sadly, my supply of invisible zippers, are all fake. And this explains why I have had trouble with them breaking, especially on skirts or pants with yoke waistbands. I live in Australia, so I will research and find out where I can buy the real deal.

  7. In the last year I’ve become very picky about zippers. When you think about it, it’s really one of the few moving parts in a garment, so worth a little more investment! I hope you can stamp out the fakers in TO!

  8. I happened to run across the YKK fakes by accident (as I mentioned in a earlier comment about this topic). I’m really not sure how much the real YKKs cost at regular retail–I get reliable YKKs at SIL Thread in the NYC garment district for about $1. How much can the profit on a fake be? I don’t know the shops mentioned, but having found fakes in a popular NYC trim shop, I have a hard time believing they didn’t know. So weird–you’d think that sewing would be outside the counterfeit good market entirely!

    I haven’t bought a Riri zipper yet, but I’m wondering if there are fakes out there too. Seems like a prime target for counterfeits.

    ~Jen

  9. I only buy my zippers from Wawak.com and they are the real deal…narrower that the Fakers and stronger. Check out their catalog and it seems every month the run a special on Buy 2 get one free. I have worked on fake zippers that after 2 openings and closings, the teeth pull away from the tape…who needs that?

  10. All my zippers come from Fabricland which is the closest sewing store to me so I can’t compare. I have never had one of these zippers split, except this summer on my new denim shorts- though it likely happened through my painstaking shortening efforts from the top of the zipper. One of the upper brass stops fell off and there goes my zipper. Now I have another project on replacing the zipper.
    Maybe Costumemakers needs a letter too, on selling fakes.

  11. It’s weird – the ‘fakers’ seem to be the only ones I’ve ever come across either, as I only get my zippers from Fabricland or Dressew. Hopefully they’ll hear your complaint and rectify it!! It’d be good for them to know we will pay more for quality 🙂 I’m tired of seeing cheap crappy poly fabrics and faker zippers!!

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