How to Install Snap Fasteners

May 15 2021 0 Comments

Snap fasteners can add a fun element to your garments & are great for children's clothing or for anyone who is less dexterous, (they're also great for anyone who has a love/hate relationship with their buttonhole function on the sewing machine).

Here's our top tips for installing them without tears & to ensure that they stay put.

  1. Check that you have the correct die installed into your pliers for the size of snap that you're going to use & practice on scrap fabric first to ensure that you have an idea of what goes where to save you from having to remove a poorly installed snap. 
  2. Each side will use a cap, one side has a socket or female (left picture) & a stud or male on the other (right picture below).
    Cap & SocketCap & Stud
  3. Stabilise the area where you are going to add the snaps; an iron-on interfacing is ideal for this & will strengthen the area & prevent it from stretching out or tearing with use.
  4. Carefully mark where you want your snaps to be positioned & use an awl to pierce through the fabric first.
  5. Press the prong of one the caps through the hole that you've just made & place the socket over the prong.
  6. Make sure that your pliers are the correct way around. Insert your fabric into the pliers. For the Kam tool in the demonstration, the cap is placed at the bottom inside the die & the rubber head is pressed down onto the socket - the trick is to ensure that everything is perfectly aligned.
  7. With your hand gripping the back of the pliers firmly, squeeze - you will see the rubber head slightly bulging out & it will result in the sharp prong getting squashed down to secure the snap in place.
  8. Repeat these steps to install the stud on the other side, taking care to make sure that they are going to be perfectly aligned when fastened up.
Fabric choice is often overlooked when installing snaps, but it stands to reason that the thicker your fabric, the more difficult it is going to be to get the snap to pierce through your fabric. Here's a couple of things that may help; make sure that you use the right fastener for the job - you can see by the length of the shaft on the snap that there's a limitation to the thickness of fabric that can be used. The Prym plastic snaps are designed for lighter weight fabrics, such as on a cotton shirt or a child's bib or a shoulder placket. But you could use a metal snap instead on a heavier weight fabric. There are special snaps for use on jersey fabrics too. 

    If you're using a thick cord or denim, consider hammering the area to flatten it - (this technique be used for sewing through thick seams too).

    If the area that you're sewing has a sewn on placket, consider using a thinner fabric.

    In this demonstration in the photo below, I have used from top to bottom towelling, an 8oz denim (neither of these were interfaced), needlecord, single jersey & rayon. All were doubled over & the snaps went in just fine.


    So what do you do when you've either put the snap in the wrong place or if it keeps falling off - we've all been there!

    The snaps can be a little bit tricky to remove once installed, so the trick is to double check that they're in the right spot before installing them - in fact triple check! But fear not, you can buy a snap removal tool if you make a mistake.

    If they keep falling off, you've either not applied enough pressure on the handles when installing them so go back & squeeze a bit harder, or you may have possibly bent them, in which case you will need to discard them & try again.

    We stock the Prym Vario Pliers which are a great tool for not only installing snaps but jeans buttons, rivets & eyelets too. The pliers come with a fixing which will pierce through your fabric. Here is our current collection of Prym Snaps

    Here's some projects that you could try using with snaps...

    Closet Core Kalle Shirt

    Great British Sewing Bee Unisex Romper (a free pattern - why not try our printing service)



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