Saturday, 26 April 2014

Zips And Nickel

I only buy new plastic zips these days as vintage zips set off my nickel allergy, however they still have a tiny amount of (coated) metal at the back of the pull. I was really disappointed when I wore my new (shorter) corduroy skirt without a tucked in top for the first time and the itching, redness and weeping began. It's a small area but the sensation is like being burnt - enough to make me very uncomfortable!

I currently buy standard YKK zips. The only specifically nickel free ones I have been able to find are metal open ended ones - also YKK, which obviously have limited applications (from here). 

I can't find a reference to this problem on any other sewing blog.

Does anyone know of a supplier of plastic zips with nickel free tabs and other nickel free habby for sewers? 

If not, I will stick to buttons, lapped zippers and tied garments. It will be a learning experience for me as lapped zippers are without doubt my least proficient type of zip insertion - I guess I'm about to become pretty good at it!

Just in case anyone else reading this has had an unpleasant reaction, this article has some self-help tips and links to follow, although from personal experience I would advise never coat cheap jewellery with clear nail varnish. It wears off too quickly and if your allergy is severe like mine it won't work. Sterling silver is not too expensive (avoid the blackened and uncertified silvers) and is used quite commonly for earring posts these days. Paying a couple of pounds more is well worth it in this case.

I'm not sure whether I will replace the zip on my skirt. It's very neat and the stitches have disappeared in to the fabric. I'm going to see how I feel and in the meantime keep it for tucked in tops.

Happy sewing 'til next time,

Philippa x

13 comments:

  1. Maybe you could sew in a little extra flap of fabric to protect you skin from the metal? Instead of taking out a beautifully installed zip... how frustrating!

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    1. Take a look at this, although it sounds like you wouldn't need to do the whole zip" http://sewaholic.net/never-pinch-your-skin-in-a-zipper-again/

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    2. Maybe - but the cord is so bulky already. I suppose I could use cotton? I don't think I'm in the 'right place' at the moment, as I made a bit of an effort to sew the skirt in the first place (having seen it wasn't going to fit as a long skirt I was a little tempted to recycle the fabric!). I will have to come back to it. In the meantime, at least it's wearable with tucked in tops.

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    3. Oooh! That is gooood! As in fantastic! Thank you so much! Invisible zippers can still be mine. How clever, and what a relief! I will be certainly giving this a go and I will mention how I get on with it in my blog. Thanks once again!

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  2. Oh man - what a nightmare. I was going to suggest putting in a flap of some-kind under the zip as well - sew rachel beat me too it! Can you imagine how fancy smancy you could get by using some pretty patterned ribbons? Very cute indeed!!

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    1. I know! Next time I make something with a zip, I'll totally be using this idea!!

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  3. I have no idea about where to buy nickel free zips I am afraid but how about the old fashioned solution of making a half slip/ petticoat to wear under your skirt? Or would that feel too weird?

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    1. Visualise me hitting my forehead with the palm of my hand! I actually have two 'half slips' as my mother calls them (I bought them after last year's MMM) and hadn't thought of putting one under this skirt! Doh! The only downside is they are synthetic - not much fun in warmer weather.

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  4. Oh I'm so sorry to hear that, how frustrating! I think the best thing would be to just by default always include a zip placket in behind all your zips. If the fabric, like the corduroy in this skirt, is too thick then you can substitute a thinner plain cotton, after all you're to supposed to see it from the outside anyway :)

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    1. ... you're "NOT" supposed to... etc. Sorry, autocorrect sabotaged my comment!

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    2. Yes that's what I'm thinking now - since I'm not keen to give up on invisible zips altogether. Sometimes I just want that very clean look you get with one.

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  5. Being extremely allergic to nickel myself, sweet Philippa, you have my complete and total sympathy and understanding there. Not being a sewer myself, I haven't run into this issue, but am certain I would be asking the same question if I was. You'd think with the relative prevalence of nickel allergies, in this day and age, more companies would smarten up (yes, I realize that nickel is a strong, durable metal and that it's easy to amalgamate with other metals, but in most applications there really is no true need for its presence) and ditch the nickel in their zippers and other basic fasteners (hooks and eyes, metal buttons, etc). You have my word that if I encounter (online or off) any zipper brands that say they're nickel-free, I will be sure to email you as fast as my fingers can type.

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Oh yes please do! I've had some great suggestions, but of course it would be so much easier if I could just use products that were nickel free in the first place. I agree that from what I have read the addition of nickel is often not really needed. It's really surprising that there are still so many everyday items around that include it. Take care!

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