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How to Sew on Snaps and Cover Snaps


Snaps are a type of closure used to secure garment openings. There are two parts to a snap: one with the ball and one with the socket. Snaps can be made of metal (coated or uncoated) or plastic, and they come in a variety of sizes from small to quite large. The larger the snap, the stronger the closure, but also the heavier it will be. Metal snaps are stronger than plastic ones.

Sew-on snaps are sewn to the garment by hand. Press-on or no-sew snaps have four parts; each side of the snap has a second piece with spikes that pierces through the fabric and clamps into the other half of the snap to permanently secure it.

If you don’t like the metal or coated metal color, cover snaps with fabric to blend in with your garment fabric. You can also buy snap tape by the yard; this tape has snaps pre-attached evenly down the length of the tape.

Assorted snaps

Assorted snaps

Covered snaps

Covered snaps


Use snaps when you want to secure an opening without buttons or zippers. Snaps are sewn on after the garment is complete, so you are able to decide last minute. Snaps work well for center front openings, pocket flaps, cuffs and self-fabric belts. You can also use snaps as part of a faux-button closure. Sew buttons to the top of the garment, but hide snaps underneath for faster opening and closing. Snaps can also be used in plackets in place of a zipper. This feature is often used in vintage dresses, but if you’re used to zippers, this may not seem very secure.

Snaps open and close quickly, making them ideal for sporty garments or children’s clothing. The only disadvantage is that they may pop open spontaneously. If you are busty, you may want to avoid snaps at the center front of blouses or dresses.


When sewing snaps to a garment, the ball side goes on the underside of the overlap and the socket side goes on the top side of the underlap.

How to Sew on Snaps (1)

Start with the ball side. Mark the placement of the snap close to the edge of the garment. Sew through each of the snap holes. When you move from hole to hole, do not cut the thread. Instead carry it underneath the snap and up through the new hole. After sewing through the first snap hole, move to the hole directly across from it, so the snap is held in position and won’t shift.

How to Sew on Snaps (2)

Use the ball of the snap to press into the other side and mark the placement. Try rubbing the tip of the ball with chalk and then pressing it to the other side to make a mark. Or, if your snap has a hole in the ball, insert a pin all the way through to mark the opposite snap placement.

How to Sew on Snaps (3)

Center the socket over the marking and sew through all of the holes, as you did for the ball side.

Tips + Notes

  • If you are sewing snaps through a waistband or facing, try not to catch the inner layer of the garment. It looks more professional if there are no stitches showing on the inside.
  • Press-on, or no-sew, snaps have sharp spikes that go through your fabric and clip into the ball or socket. Once these snaps are in, there’s no moving them, so mark the position carefully!
  • For the top of a zipper opening, a hanging snap helps to close the top edge. You can use a hanging snap anytime the edges meet but do not overlap. To sew a hanging snap, sew the socket to the inside of the top edge. Make a thread chain to attach the ball of the snap to the opposite side. Make the chain (page link) just long enough for the snap to reach the other side.


You can cover snaps with matching or coordinating fabric. If your fabric is thin, you can use self fabric to cover the snaps, but if not, choose a matching lining fabric instead. Cut two circles of fabric twice the diameter of the snaps plus a ¼” (6mm) seam allowance. If you are covering several snaps, make a circle template from cardboard for easier cutting.

How to Cover Snaps (1)

Start with the ball side of the snap. Pierce a tiny hole in the middle of the circle or a slightly bigger hole if you are covering large snaps. The hole should be slightly smaller than the ball of the snap, so it fits snugly around the base of the ball. With the ball side up, cover the snap with the fabric circle and poke the ball of the snap through the hole.

How to Cover Snaps (2)

Thread a handsewing needle with a single thread and gather (page link) the outer edge of the fabric ¼” (6mm) away from the raw edge. End your gathering stitches with your needle and thread on the right side of the fabric. Pull the thread tight to fit the fabric snugly around the snap.

How to Cover Snaps (3)

Wind the thread tightly around the gathered material a few times, then take a few stitches in the side of the bunched fabric and tie a knot. Trim the thread tails and extra fabric.

How to Cover Snaps (4)

Place the socket part of the snap with the socket facing up and cover it with the second circle of fabric. Gather the outer edge of the fabric as you did for the ball part, and pull the gathering tight to fit the fabric around the snap. Secure the thread in the same manner, snap the ball and socket together, and sew the covered snaps to the garment.

Source : The Sewtionary An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques + Definitions
About the Author : Tasia ST. Germaine