Tuesday, October 4, 2011

31 days of sewing: all about snaps

Snap tape or gripper snaps? Both can be testy and can cause a real issue for many seamstresses. I've had several requests to write a blog post addressing this and what my recommendations are. 
 I have to admit, I use everything pictured here along with a few others. There are several factors that come into play when I choose snap types. The appropriate snap fastener to use is really determined by the:
  • type of garment
  • garment design
  • position and type of opening
  • amount of stress the snap fastener will have
  • the effect you want to create
I tend to use snap tape on jon-jon's, as shown here:
Sometimes it's just quicker and easier to sew the snap tape into the crotch opening and not have to mess with all the tools and pieces for attaching gripper snaps.
Other times I like to use the decorative gripper snaps and attach them to the garment, like on the front of this bubble.
There are some standard guidelines to follow when deciding which type of snap fastener you are going to use. Well-selected fasteners will be:
  • appropriate to the specific garment and/or garment placket situation
  • in the color range of the fabric to which it is applied
Snaps are available in a wide variety of colors now, which makes it quite easy to match the snap to the fabric!
So the real issue for you might be how to attach the gripper snaps. For the snap tape, it's easy - just stitch it in place. The gripper snaps can sometimes be a problem. Most often the problem is with the prongs - either the prongs smash wrong or they don't hold once you snap and unsnap. My recommendation for that is to make sure you purchase size 16 long prong snaps.
There are several ways in which you can attach the snaps, you can use a gripper plier, as shown here:
or a Snap Setter
Once again, I have to admit that I use both of these products - it just all depends on what I am attaching the snap to - sometimes I even use both these tools for the same snap.
For the gripper plier tool, I chuck the rules and do my own thing with it! I push the prong portion thru the fabric, then place the snap on top and use the tool to press the snap portions together. I then take my little sewing room hammer and place a piece of fabric over the top of the ring portion of the snap and tap a few times to make sure that snap is secure and evenly seated. This is where I also sometimes bring out that SnapSetter tool and instead of placing a little piece of fabric over the snap, I just put it in the SnapSetter and use my hammer to set the snap.
I hope my info has helped you when deciding which type of snaps you decide to use for your project and how you will attach them. One rule of thumb that I use when choosing between snap tape or hand-applied gripper snaps is the thickness of the fabric. For the thicker fabrics, I will choose snap-tape - for cottons and other thin fabrics where popping the prongs thru the fabric isn't an issue, I will choose to use the gripper snaps. 
I used to really have battles with snaps and now I use them all the time. I won't even make pants for babies anymore without attaching snaps in the crotch - I know it's much more appreciated by the diaper-changers too!
I hope you enjoyed today's feature - be sure to check out all the other 31'ers HERE!
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Jan said...

Thanks for the info Laurie. I have the pliers. My mom just uses the hammer on the old tool, the flat setter. I always hit my fingers with the hammer, so I will stick to the pliers, since I such a chicken when it comes to using a hammer.

Ginny said...

Snap tape? Easy to sew on? Not for me! I've tried a number of different presser feet, but inevitably, it hits the snaps and I end up with a very crooked line of stitching. Help!

Vicki Freeman said...

Do you ever have problems with the snaps tearing out of the tape when you unsnap them? It happens to me a lot. Is there something I need to do to prep them before using?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the first beginner's snap setting article I've found... I was always a snap sewer, but now that we have a baby girl on the way I'm looking for shortcuts. We got one plier tool, but it only handles huge snaps with way more grip than I need. I wish the companies that sold the setters would do a better job of describing their products!
Thanks again!


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