I like the concept of bone buttons of the early humans but definitely, things have improved since they were used. The variety of fasteners now available to us when we sew is marvelous. The ease and efficiency of the fasteners are also greatly improved.
Choice is always a good thing, though it sometimes confuses us. I am always in a dilemma about choosing between buttons and hooks; though buttons are definitely my favourite, the buttonhole bit always makes me hesitate. (Checkout the 8 different types of buttonholes you could sew on your clothes and the tutorial to make a handsewn buttonhole or sew the buttonholes with a machine )
Fasteners have a very functional role in a garment. They help the opening of fabrics to close exactly and correctly.
They also serve as a decorative element. The Chinese frog fasteners are one such decorative fastener that is functional as well as decorative. An exposed zipper serves as a fashionable touch in many a garment. The lacing through eyelets that serve as fastenings for corsets adds to the beauty of the clothing. The decorative effect should be congruous with the style of the rest of the garment or it will look odd.
Related post: Different types of openings in clothes.
Somethings to keep in mind when sewing fasteners
The fasteners should match correctly on both sides of the garment for it to hang correctly.
Buttons are always placed on the left side for girls and on the right side for boys
Girls clothing have the right hand side opening over ( on top of) the left hand side.
Boys’ clothing has the left hand side opening over the right hand side.
Never forget to measure and mark the positions of the fasteners before sewing.
Buttonholes should be equally spaced, measured and marked with a gauge.
Different types of Fasteners you can sew on your clothes
This fastener is mostly seen in shoes, belts and bags. They are not so much used nowadays as a fastener in clothing.
2.Snaps /Press Studs
Snaps are the easiest of all fasteners and are hence seen frequently in baby clothes. I cannot imagine a baby onesie without a snap on button. They are basically interlocking discs, easy to take on and off.
There are different types of snaps. Some can be hand sewn on to clothes, while others need a snap plier to put on. They are also available as snap tape, with several snaps arranged in a row along the length of the tape.
These black or silver metal studs are made of two parts, a ball half and a socket half which snap together. They are useful as a close invisible finish to fairly fine materials, but will not stand a great deal of strain.
Magnetic snaps are usually used as fasteners in bags. Learn more about attaching snap fasteners here.
3.Velcro tapes ( Hook and loop)
Velcro has two parts – one side with harder hooks and one side with softer loops. They are pressed together overlapping to close the opening. Hook and loop tapes are available in different sizes and colours. Velcro was invented only after the world war 2 but now it is very much used in apparel/accessory designing. They are mostly seen on outerwear garments and active sportswear.
100% nylon, hook and loop is produced in several standard colors and the following sizes: 3/8″(10mm), 1/2 (12.5mm) “, 5/8 (16mm) “, 3/4″ (19mm), 1″ (25mm), 1-1/2″ (39mm) , 2″(50mm), 3″,(76mm) 4″ (100mm) and 6” (150mm).
Hook side of the tape is attached to the under lap and the loop part of the tape is attached to the overlap part.
You must have used safety pins as fasteners. Just remember the safety pin that held the cloth diaper of the baby with a duck head. I had a dozen of them when kids were young and lost them frequently. The safety pins come in many sizes but they are mostly silver or golden.
These are fasteners for the cuffs of shirts. The cuffs have buttonholes on both the sides. Cuff links have a flat squarish surface with a loop which fits in both the button holes and locks below.
The brooch is a decorative item with a catch and a pin, which is fastened to the cloth. Brooch serves as a functional as well as decorative fastener though the decorative element is more. They are usually embellished with gems, and decorated heavily with pictures and are made of metal. Check out the tutorial to make easy brooches with fabric.
Zipper I think is the most popular fastener, for kids and adults alike. I like the sound it makes (zip).
Checkout the post on 11 types of zippers and their different parts .
- How to sew a pant zipper on the fly
- How to sew an exposed zipper
- 3 ways to sew zipper on clothes
- How to sew Invisible zipper – with or without the special foot
- How to fix zippers when they need a repair.
8. Metal Hooks and eye
There are two types of closures for hooks – Eyes which are made with threads and those which are metallic. Thread eyes and small metal eyes are usually stitched on ladies’ garments and the metallic fasteners are seen on men’s trousers.
They are used on overlapping or edge to edge fastening where there is a lot of strain. These small closures are arranged in rows and they mostly help in distributing the stress on seams like in the back of bras.
On overlapping spaces, the hook is on the upper, overlapping edge. You should space and mark the position of the hooks and eyes with a gauge, for accuracy.
A frog fastener is an ornamental braided loop fastening usually seen in the front of garments. They are made by shaping fabric tubes into a special design. It is a highly decorative fastening which also serves the function of properly closing a garment. It is also called a Chinese frog loop and goes very well with mandarin collar seen in Chinese garments. You can make your own frog fasteners with fabric tubes. Follow this tutorial to make frog closure
Toggle is a button like fastener made of wood metal or plastic. Unlike the round shaped buttons, toggles are long and narrow, with big holes for cord to pass through. They are closed with loops of rope or cord, or even leather, to fasten.
These are D shaped rings and these fasteners are usually seen in belts. 2 D rings are used on a belt and one end of the belt is looped through the D rings to fasten it.
12. Snap hooks/Clasps
13.Grommets / eyelets
Grommets are metal or plastic rings that reinforce holes in fabrics. Laces or ribbons or cords are threaded through the grommets. The hole is called the eye. Most usually they are seen in shoes, corsets, belts.
Checkout this tutorial to make eyelets on clothes by hand sewing. You can also attach metal grommets using some tools. You need a grommet press which is a grommet setting tool to apply the grommets on fabric. Check out this post on the tools used to attach metal grommets here.
Learn different ways to do the lacing on these eyelets here.
14. Glass studs
These fasteners are mainly for decorative purposes. They are pierced with holes on the fabric. They have metallic base and the upper part is made of glass in different shapes and colours.
Buttons are inarguably the oldest and most used of all fasteners. They are mostly made of plastic but you also get buttons in metal, wood and seashell.
The two kinds of buttons classified as per how they are applied to the fabric are 1. Sew through buttons and 2. Shank buttons. The sew-through-buttons have two or more holes in it through which a thread is inserted to secure it to the fabric by hand sewing or machine sewing.
There are different types of buttons available – Wooden Buttons, Metallic Buttons, Leather buttons, Fancy buttons, Shirt Buttons, Cardigan Buttons, Coat Buttons, Press buttons, Cloth Buttons, Printed buttons, Lac Buttons, Pearl Buttons, Wax Buttons.
Learn more in detail on different types of buttons here.
Checkout the tutorial on how to sew the buttons on to fabrics with a machine as well as by hand. & the best way to sew an easy hand made buttonhole ; Also 8 types of buttonholes you can make. Checkout the post on sewing buttonholes with your sewing machine as well.
Shank buttons have a plastic or metal shank which raises the button slightly off the fabric and gives room for the button to get under without straining the fabric.
Checkout the 6 ways to make fabric covered / cloth buttons.
16.Cords and ropes
This is mostly used as tie openings. Usually used in drawstrings in waistbands of pants, skirts. You can learn more about the different types of cords you can use here.
You can DIY cords with fabric scraps – checkout the tutorial for making fabric tubes.
Checkout the post on waistbands to know how to add drawstring waistband to your clothes.
These fasteners join together with a twin or corresponding fastener on the other side of the material and serve as a closure.
19. Squeeze buckle
This fastener is used in bag straps and belts.
This is a hook usually used in lingerie as a strap hook or as a clasp for front open bras.