How to Sew With Fasteners

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How to Sew With Fasteners

Fasteners are used on a variety of everyday items, and are attached to clothes in order to make it easier to put them on and take them off. Fasteners are also used to keep things in pockets from falling out. Fasteners sometimes also have a decorative purpose and help to convey a certain style. Common fastener types include snap fasteners, Velcro, hook and loop fasteners, buttons, and zip fasteners. Although most people use them on a daily basis, because many clothes come with fastenings, they may at first seem a bit tricky to sew on.

Each type of fastener has its benefits and application method, so choosing the right one for the clothing item in question requires some background information if one is to make the best choice. A carefully chosen fastener not only fulfills its task of fastening, but also stays hidden, and thus contributes to the overall look of the clothes. The fastener should also be easy enough to apply. This can be done either manually or with a sewing machine. Fasteners can be bought from high street crafts shops, but it is also possible to find them on online auction sites, such as eBay,, where one can browse and take the time to make the best choice in the comfort of one's home.

Sewing With Snap Fasteners

The snap fastener,, also known as the press stud, is a small fastener that is closed by pressing its two halves together. The snaps are generally made of metal, although nylon and plastic snaps are also produced. People who have allergies to common metals should avoid metal snaps that are made of nickel. They can opt for gold snaps instead. Snaps are easy to fasten and open, so they are commonly used on children's or elderly people's clothing.

Sewing Tips for Snap Fasteners

Snap fasteners are sewn onto garments by hand, and double thread is used in order to secure them firmly. Several stitches should be made, so the halves of the snap do not move on the garment. The needle should go through each hole on the snap more than once. Before attaching the other half of the press stud, it is worth checking to make sure that the halves align properly. During the sewing process, the snaps should be held in place with fingers and thumb.

Sewing With Velcro Fasteners

Velcro fasteners are basically thin plastic sheets that come in pairs. One side has tiny flexible hoops, and the other side has tiny loops. These adhere when pressed together and separate when pulled apart. Because of their ease of use, they are often used on casual shoes, especially on children's shoes. Velcro tape can be easily cut to the desired size.

Sewing Tips for Velcro Fasteners

Once the Velcro fastener is lined up on the fabric, it is advisable to mark its position with chalk or a fabric marker to prevent it from slipping away. The thread should match the colour of the Velcro in order to hide any stitching imperfections. When sewing the side with the hoops, the rough side, the stitching should go between the rows of the hoops. Velcro can be very thick, so strong thread should be used, and the pressure foot on the sewing machine should be adjusted to a medium or heavy fabric setting.

Sewing With Hook and Eye Fasteners

A hook and eye fastener is made of metal. Hook and eye fasteners are commonly used on dresses and skirts at the point where the zip fasteners end, and they help to hold the zip together. This type of fastener is also commonly used on fur coats. Hook and eye fasteners are often made of nickel or other metals. People who have allergies to nickel or other common metals should avoid fasteners made of these materials.

Sewing Tips for Hook and Eye Fasteners

Hook and eye fasteners are attached to garments by hand. Several stitches should be made in order to secure the hook and eye into place. The fasteners can be sewn inside the fabric without stitching the other side of the fabric. Some stitches should be sewn over the centre part of the hook, so that it stays flat on the garment. Moreover, several stitches should also be sewn over each eye in order to keep it straight. A blanket stitch should be used when attaching hook and eye fasteners.

Sewing With Buttons

Buttons are shaped like small knobs or discs, and they are pushed through a slit when fastened. Buttons can be made of a variety of different materials, and this type of fastener probably has the most subtypes. The wide selection of buttons is largely due to the fact that they are usually visible on garments and are therefore used for decorative purposes. Wood, plastic,, and metal are common button materials. The colour and pattern variety for buttons is virtually endless. Buttons come with either two or four holes, although some have no visible holes at all and instead have a loop at the back.

Sewing Tips for Buttons

Buttons are applied to garments by hand. Two-hole buttons are attached to the garment by sewing through the holes repeatedly. Four-hole buttons are best attached with two loops rather than stitches that cross each other, because the crossed stitches form a pile on top of the button and this can wear out quickly. The button should not be sewn on too tightly. The shank under the button can be created by winding around the threads.

Sewing With Zip Fasteners

A zip fastener contains two flexible strips that are made of either plastic or metal. These interlock and can be opened and closed by pulling a slide along them. Zips vary in length, and as they have quite long versions, they can be used on coats and dresses for which long fastenings are required. When choosing which zip fastener to use, it is necessary to consider the available types of zip fasteners as well as the kind of garment on which the zip is to be attached.

Types of Zip Fasteners

Three main types of zip fasteners exist. Metal zip fasteners contain single metal members, commonly made of brass, that are pressed onto a textile tape. The metal is very visible, conveying a robust yet casual look, and therefore this type of fastener is mainly used on jeans. Polyester general-purpose zip fasteners,, also known as spiral zip fasteners, contain a polyester spiral that is woven into or sewn on a textile tape. This zip is monochrome and delicate, and is thus suitable for finer fabrics and clothes where the zip should remain hidden. Profile fasteners contain melted granules, commonly made of polyoxymethylen (POM), which are moulded into a textile tape. This kind of zip is used for outdoor and sports applications. Besides choosing the zip types, the slider type should also be considered. Sliders can be either locking or non-locking.

Sewing Tips for Zip Fasteners

Zip fasteners are generally sewn on with a sewing machine, unless they need to be hidden and require very delicate handling. Sometimes it is not possible to sew hidden zips with a machine, because the machine cannot reach between the pieces of fabric where the stitches need to be made. First of all, the zip should be the right length. If the zip is too long, the excess can be cut away. Before the cutting, the place where the zip is supposed to end should be strengthened with a few stitches. The excess should be cut off a few centimetres under the place where the zip ends. In order to sew the zip with a sewing machine, a zip foot should be used. This foot is pressed down very close to the zip and both sides of the zip are sewn to the fabric.

Comparison of Fasteners

The variety of fasteners is wide and each one of them has their benefits, being suitable for certain types of clothing or people. The following chart summarises the main characteristics of the fasteners.

Type of Fastener


Sewing Method

Snap Fastener

Children's clothes

By hand

Velcro Fastener

Children's clothes, jackets

Sewing machine with medium and heavy fabric setting

Hook and Eye Fastener

At the end of the zip on dress or skirt

By hand


Decorative as well as practical function; many clothes

By hand

Zip Fasteners

Dresses, skirts, coats, sports attire, fleeces

Sewing machine

The sewing method varies by the fastener type. The smaller the fastener, the more likely it is to be best applied by hand. Larger strips, such as zips and Velcros, are attached with a sewing machine.

Buying Fasteners on eBay

If you are looking for a fastener on eBay, first decide which type fits your garment best. Type the name of the fastener into the search box, which you can find at the top of any eBay page. This yields a list of results that you can then sort by price or auction time. If you are looking for buttons or zip fasteners that are very often available in many colours, you can also include the colour or desired pattern in the search terms for more specific results. Very often you can buy fasteners in sets, so you can easily create a store of various fasteners at your home.

Look at the photos in the item listing, and read the details in order to find out the exact measurements and to check the item's appearance. Should you have any questions about an item, feel free to contact the seller. For best service, look for top-rated sellers by reading their feedback and browsing their ratings that have been left by other buyers.


Fasteners are designed to make it easy to put on and take off clothes. Moreover, they can also have a decorative purpose. For instance, buttons are usually visible, and therefore are sometimes quite big and noticeable. Fasteners can be attached to garments either with a sewing machine or by hand. Some people may also choose their fasteners according to the method used for application.

Snap fasteners, or press studs, are small pieces of metal that are pressed together for fastening. They are attached to the garments by hand stitches. Velcro strips contain two sides as well: one with hoops and the other with loops. When these sides are pressed together, the hoops and loops adhere. Thick Velcro is handled with a sewing machine, and it should be kept firmly in place during the sewing process.

Hook and eye fasteners are tiny metal pieces commonly used on skirts and dresses. They are applied by hand stitching. Buttons come in many varieties and can have either two holes, four holes, or a loop at the back. They are applied by hand and should not be sewn too tightly. Zip fasteners are used for many types of clothes, and they can be either hidden or visible. It is easiest to apply a zip with a sewing machine. Choosing the right type of fastener largely depends on the type of garment it is to be used for, and the method of application depends on the fastener type. All the fasteners you may need can easily be found on eBay.

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