Sunday, January 27, 2013

Installing Magnetic Snaps.

Installing. It makes one sound like a plumber or an electrician.  And in theory, once you master installing a snap, you are a serious professional. Seriously.

On one of the groups I belong to on Facebook (Hi ladies!) someone asked about using magnetic snaps and if they were easy to install. Holy moly. Are they ever. IF you have had practice and IF you have someone to teach you. I did not have someone to teach me. I muddled through it and thought I was really hot stuff and then figured out that hey... I really wasn't. My snap stunk like a skunk. If you think skunks stink. If you don't then you and my three year old will be eternal BFFs. I know. I question her sanity daily. The two pieces didn't match up - AT ALL. AND when I had them match up - making my bag REALLY wonky - when I went to open the bag, one pulled through ruining the bag. Needless to say, I scrapped that bag (literally - it is now part of the make-up zippies that my sisters received for Christmas a couple years ago) and started reading blogs. Yeah. That didn't help.

What REALLY helped was the instructions in Bari J.'s Springtime in Paris Pocketbook pattern. She is brilliant! She has you fold the prongs IN instead of OUT. Genius, right?! AND she has you use plastic canvass. It really is worth the 25 cent investment for a sheet. You can do MANY snaps with it. It is way useful for other stuff too, but we will get to those things in another blog post.

Alright. Here we go. The How-To.

Gather all of your implements.

For this bag I was finishing up a project for my friend - finished product photo will be at the end. We were using this tutorial from the Riley Blake Designs - Cutting Corners feature. If you haven't visited, you should. There are tons of great tutorials. 

So, according to the pattern/tutorial, mark your snap location. They will most likely have you find the center - if they do - MARK IT! I use a straight pin to make it very clear where to put my ruler to measure down. 

After you have clearly marked where the rectangle portions of the washer go, take your embroidery scissors and CAREFULLY cut through the interfacing (this bag was made with Pellon Fusible Fleece) and the cotton (or whatever fabric your bag is made out of). Be VERY careful. I cannot stress this enough. It really is the pits when you make an oops while cutting the slits for the snap. 

After you have cut your slits, its time to make your plastic canvass backing. This gets sandwiched between the interfacing and the washer with the snap tabs coming through both pieces from the right side of the fabric. I have found that having one row all the way round that is undisturbed works best for me. I have seen many people make the plastic canvass piece huge. It just feels unnecessary to me. I use my embroidery scissors to cut the plastic because they can get into the little space and trim the flange away.

Make your sandwich with the snap coming through, then the plastic canvass, then the washer...

Here is where it gets sneaky! Fold the tabs IN on the washer. We have been conditioned to fold them out from using brads, but trust me. It is one less thing for the fabric to move against and snag on. Fold those suckers IN. Sometimes I need to use a hard surface and a butter knife to get them to fold in. 
Following all the steps again, install the snaps onto BOTH sides. A bag with a one sided magnetic snap is just asking for trouble. 

Here you can see the snaps completely installed, and by the looks of it, I had put the lining and outside together and top stitched. Which means I was almost finished with the bag when I took this photo! Yay!

And here it is. Literally finished MINUTES before Cristen & crew left to surprise her 5yo daughter with a trip to Disney. As in, I threw the kids in their carseats (yes, I buckled them in, what kinda parent do you think I am?!), put a hoodie and flip flops on, drove it down the street, and pulled up as she was packing the car. 

So. There ya have it. Magnetic snap instillation. If you have any questions, please ask. =) I don't mind answering! Really. 


  1. Wow, excellent tutorial! I'm saving this for reference. Thanks!!

    ~ Olgalyn


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