Sunday, November 29, 2015

Attaching Snaps to Fabric

Recently, I completed an olive green military inspired jacket by modifying Butterick 5616 which I will post about in the near future, once one of my photographers is available (my husband or daughter) and the lighting is good.

Until then, I decided to post how to attach metal snaps to fabric.  I used metal snaps on the jacket which gave it a more authentic look.  I had done this many years ago and had to refresh my memory by doing a little research and making a test sample.  I figured posting about it would provide me with a record of the process that I can refer to and maybe at the same time, hopefully provide useful information to anyone who would like to attach snaps.

In my quick research on the topic, I discovered there are 2 types of snaps:  compression and prong.  The compression snaps are ideal for leather while the prong snaps are ideal for fabric.  I found this YouTube Video by Tierra Cast about the compression type of snap which I thought was informative.

I used prong snaps.  Snaps consist of a total of 4 pieces:

Left to Right:
Capped prong, Socket, Open prong ring, Stud

For my jacket, I used the prong snap system by Snap Source (no affiliate relationship here...I just like the tool).  Snap Source sells snaps but I purchased my snaps at Pacific Trim in New York City.  The tool consists of 3 pieces:  the Main Base/Tool Adapter which has an indentation that must match the size of your snap (Sizes are 16, 18, 20 or 24).  On top of the Main Base you place the Middle Positioning Bar.  On top of the Middle Positioning Bar, you place the Top Layer which is the same for all sizes.

From bottom to top:  Main Base/Tool Adapter,
Middle Positioning Bar
Top Layer
Left to right:  Main Base/Tool Adapter
Middle Positioning Bar
Top Layer


Place the snap into the indentation of the Main Base/Tool Adapter.  See how nicely the snap fits into the indentation.  This indentation holds the snap in place and protects the dome shape from getting damaged:




Place the fabric right side of the garment on top of the snap.  Push the prongs through to the inside of the garment with the tip of a letter opener:



Place the middle positioning bar on top and drop in the socket:



Place the Top Layer of the tool, which has a protrusion underneath, over the socket and give it a few good whacks with a hammer:



Attaching the snap to the other side is a little tricker although if you are patient and careful, it will be a piece of cake.  The trick is that you must place the corresponding stud in exactly the right spot so that it will snap together perfectly.

The way I do it is by marking the corresponding side with chalk pencil.  Rub the pencil over the socket:



and then close the jacket exactly how it is going to be closed and press the snap down with your finger


so that it leaves a mark exactly where the stud needs to go:


Place the open ring prong underneath.  You will have to feel and position and reposition it until you feel that the prongs are surrounding the mark and the mark is in the center of the prongs.  Then push the prongs through with the tip of a letter opener:



Ideally, you should follow the same process as above where you place the open ring prong in the indentation of the Main Base layer, then the Positioning Bar, then the Top Layer and hammer away.  However, in my case, I had some bulk caused by the zipper which I thought would prevent me from applying the snaps securely.  I therefore decided to forgo the Base Layer and Middle Positioning Bar.  Since the open ring prong is flat, there is no danger of damaging it.

I placed the stud on top of the prongs and then placed the Top Layer tool over the stud by positioning the protrusion of the tool over the stud.  I then gave it a couple of whacks with the hammer:


 Voila!


Happy Sewing!