Thursday, December 16, 2010

Robin, Robin, Come Back!

Years ago I used to buy all my clothing zippers from one fabric store. At the time, I think it was either Hancocks or Minnesota Fabrics that carried a smaller brand called Robin. I preferred this brand (still do) to Coats and Clarks, whose zippers are heavier and very stiff in comparison. The Robin's can be wrapped around your little finger, they're so flexible. However, from what I could find on the internet I don't think they're still in business. :(

Luckily, in my stash I have a few left. At some point I must have been into buying in bulk because I was able to find two zippers perfect for my two upcoming dresses and what I have left are some assorted colors in 7-inch lengths for pants and skirts. Which means in the not too far future Coats & Clarks will loom over my future projects.

There may be salvation, in close-ups on the web, the Ziplon coil zippers by YKK look pretty similar to the Robin brand. If I can find them in a store, I'll try them out. It seems you can order them on both the Hancock and Jo-Ann websites but my local stores do not seem to carry them. Do any of you use YKK zippers and how do you like them?

Also, does anyone know why Coats & Clark seem to have a monopoly in Hancock and Jo-Ann?! Why don't they sell a variety of zippers from multiple companies?


Marie-Christine said...

YKK zippers are generally very superior to all others. Much tougher, anyway, which is important if you're not amused at the thought of demolishing a garment/object so you can replace the zipper. They're the absolute standard for technical wear. I haven't yet tested their water-repellent zippers, but I can't wait to get my hands on one for a jacket.

Big chains like Joann and Hancock naturally prefer dealing with other big chains, and preferably a single one of them, it simplifies their accounting. If you don't like that principle, may I suggest looking at smaller independent stores?

lsaspacey said...

I wish we had some independent apparel fabric stores here in Richmond. Our independents are quilting shops, primarily. I guess I can check to see if they sell zippers, perhaps for pillows? Thanks for the reminder.

melissa said...

I generally tend to buy YKK zippers as those are more readily available here. I'm guessing Coats & Clark have the zipper monopoly at those chains because there's some clause in their stocking contract that they can only sell those. I know the C&C reps were REALLY heavy handed with the London haberdashery stores when they bullied their way in a few years ago, insisting those stores stop stocking Gutermann in favour of their (IMHO) vastly inferior, thread-snarling, masses of birds nests spools. So I definitely wouldn't put it past them to do something similar with zippers.

Ahh, Coats and Clark - frustrating sewers with inferior products!

(Also, have you tried Riri zippers? I think stock them)

Maryissewfast said...

I buy all my zippers online at Sew True There prices are good and they offer free shipping often. I did notice that the Mennonite grocery we have in town now carries sewing supplies and they had a wide array of zippers, so at least I can visit them iff I need a zip in a hurry!

daiyami said...

My local fabric shop (closing in January!) carries YKK/Ziplon and I like them noticeably better than the Coats&Clark at Joann. They just pull more smoothly. (And don't cost THAT much more, because Joann never seems to put zippers on sale, unlike everything else)

Rita said...

I have tried YKK zippers, a store near me sells them quite cheaply. Truth be told, I had never heard about YKK zippers prior to the first purchase at the store but the shopkeeper kept making a big deal about his zippers were YKK that I had to look them up.

I do like the YKK zippers but I do not know that I am all that picky.

moggy said...

I like the YKKs - the invisible ones are great. They are a bit pricey in Australia (like most haberdashery) so I bought a bulk lot from (NAYY) in New York. I do like the security of a nice stash of zips!