Sewing 101: Snaps

nosewsnaptutorial15titleRecently I have asked you what’s your sewing achilles heel. Interestingly a lot of you answered buttonholes. I shared a little trick for sewing buttonholes on delicate fabrics but a great alternative for closure is the use of snaps, like the ones I used on my burdastyle cardigan.


Snaps are a duo unit closure system consisting of: a stud or ball and a socket. You will find them in a varied of diameters, depths, materials and shapes. Once you understand how they work you realise how quick and easy to apply. It’s addictive. You can use either a ‘Snap Pliers’ or a hammer to attach ‘cap & socket’ or ‘post & stud’ components.


Snaps Anatomy

Capped or snap cap: This is generally the decorative piece that is visible on the right side of the fabric. This component is placed at the pliers base with the prongs (the little spikes) facing up.

Socket: This component attaches to the capped/ open prong with the raised side of the socket towards the fabric. Because this looks similar on both sides, be sure that the side with the 8 slits on the inner ring face up on the pliers. Often referred as the “female” side.

Studs: This component attaches to the silver open prong ring with the dimple protrusion facing up. The stud “snaps” into the socket when the application is complete. Often referred as the ‘male’ side.

Open prong ring. This part of the snap that is secured to the fabric closest to the body (backside of the fabric).

Post: This component, often referred to as a stud eyelet attaches through the garment fabric and is assembled with the stud.


Which way does sockets go? Place socket, with deep groove on the raised side over prongs points.


Snaps Sizing

The silly thing about snaps ‘sizes’ is that does not necessary represent the actual measurement. Super confusing. Specially when you find that the only difference between the size 14 socket/stud to size 16 is the size of the cap. Finding the right size for your project will depend of your fabric, number of layers and of course your personal aesthetics. It’s your project after all.


Rule of thumb: light (smaller diameter) for baby clothes. Medium for children, toddler, garments like blouses etc. Large (Mega/ Solid prongs) for jackets, coats, leather etc. For your reference I used jersey snaps size 20 on my project.

When applying snaps…


After marking the centre of where you want the snap to be; pretty much like a buttonhole, set the pliers with the appropriate holder.

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Make sure when you position your rings they are pushed all the way evenly.


The caps (and posts) have a long prong that stick out, while the sockets and studs each have a centre hole.  The prong is poked through the fabric and then comes up through the hole of a socket or stud.  The pliers work by flattening the prongs holding the socket or stud in place.


Mistakes are really hard to fix. They require power tools and you don’t want to go there. So before you go “snap snap snap” please check if your two parts are on the correct side and the prongs are facing the outside of your project.

Interface your fabric for more stability

Try to use all the snap components from the same manufacture as they aren’t standard.

Snaps are properly set when they grip tightly into fabric and do not pull apart and tweezers cannot be forced between the snap and fabric.

If the application fail you may need to change the prongs as if they got damaged they won’t secure it correctly.

Practice practice practice until you know how they go together for both sides of the garment.

nosewsnapsI started with a kit and now I only buy refills. If you are buying snaps for the first time make sure you get the ones with the pliers/tool included.

 I hope you find this helpful.


Video showing different vario pliers.

Kit that I have:Prym Vario Plus Press Fastener & Eyelet Assortment Kit

There are other brands available. Search for no sew snaps.

  • This is really helpful, thank you Rachel! I want to try snaps an an alternative to buttons but haven’t done yet. I think I have some pliers, and I do have some snaps, although they look to be different to the ones you have here – I shall have to have a play around!

    • That’s great. Don’t worry if they look a bit different because as I mention different brands have different shapes. You can tweet me a picture and if i can help I will xx

  • What a helpful post, thank you! Where did you get your snap kit from?

    • Hi Hannah, the brand is prym and you can get at Amazon, minerva craft , ebay etc

  • misscrayolacreepy

    Thanks for this post, Rachel. I was literally thinking about snaps the other day and thinking I should give them a shot 🙂

    • You are welcome darling. You totally should because its super addictive.

  • This tool looks much more efficient than my hammer!

  • I have used snaps like this many times over the years but I haven’t seen the pliers/tool for setting them before. Much better than using a hammer like mine do. I love the top you used them on too – very interesting fabric

    • Thank you Shelly. That fabric and pattern combination worked a treat.

  • Diane A

    Hi Rachel,
    Thanks for this great info. I kind of ruined a dress with bad snaps and now have this kit on my wish list.

  • t