How To Add Magnetic Snaps To a Bag

Are you a hobby sewist and want to give your bags and purses a professional look? Adding a magnetic snaps closure is one of the easiest ways to do just that. Here's an easy, beginner-friendly tutorial that will show you how to make a bag closure with magnetic snaps. Ready to make your bag look all fancy and stylish - within minutes? Let's do it!


magnetic snaps


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Though it may not look like a beginner project, it is pretty easy to install a magnetic snap to a bag. Actually, I find it easier to install a magnetic snap than work with buttons (and buttonholes). I could go on and on about what can go {and has gone} wrong with a buttonhole, but have not yet once managed to mess up a magnetic snap. How's that? Because magnetic snaps are EASY. 

A beginner project, really! We'll go slowly, I've taken photos of each tiny step to make it super easy for you. Interested? Let's do it!

magnetic snaps

First things first: let's take a closer look at these 4 pieces. A magnetic snap closure set consists of two main parts: male (flat part with prongs and a nub in the middle), female (thicker part with prongs and a socket). Usually, they come with two flat washers.

The socket snap is usually applied to the body of the bag. 
The male snap is usually applied to the flap (closure tab).



You'll Need:


magnetic snaps



How-To

PART ONE: FLAP


1) Apply interfacing to each of the flap parts to give them some weight.

magnetic snaps



2) Add one or two scrap pieces of interfacing to the area where you intend to place the snap part, to provide stability. The scraps need to be just slightly larger than the snap part. This way, the snap will last longer and feel nicer.


magnetic snaps
I've learnt heavy-weight fusible felt works best on heavy fabric, and mid-weight poly is great for thinner fabric. Since my poly stabilizer is very soft, I needed to place two layers under the snap's prongs: first the stiff one and then the soft one for padding.


3) Center the male snap on the closure tab at the spot you'd like your magnet.

magnetic snaps


Firmly press the snap's prongs into the fabric and mark the tiny indentations using a pencil, sharpie, or proper professional disappearing ink fabric pen.


4) Cut along your marked lines, using your seam ripper (an exacto knife works great too, or tiny scissors). Avoid cutting too far, just make tiny slits. You can enlarge them later if they turn out to be too small.

magnetic snaps


5) Insert the snap through the right side of the fabric.
magnetic snaps


6) Here, the prongs are nicely visible on the back side.

magnetic snaps


7) Slide the washer over the prongs. 

magnetic snaps


8) Then open the prongs of the snap outwards. For best results, use pliers, and press them firmly against the surface. 

So far, I've used various 'tools' to press those prongs against the flat surface, and found out that 
a) I can do damage if I use a hammer (yep), so I stay away from it. (But maybe that's just me.)
b) a few times, I simply used my thumbs to press against the prongs (but couldn't get the prongs sit totally flat, so I don't recommend it)
c) I've used the flat side of household scissors (works great!)
d) Most reliable: pliers!

magnetic snaps


9) OPTIONAL, but highly recommended: I apply an additional, thin layer of interfacing over the snap once it has been installed. If the washers have a bit sharp edges, these could in time damage the fabric. Adding a thin layer over them will prevent any such damage.

magnetic snaps


10) Now with the magnetic snap installed, place one piece of the flap fabric onto another, right sides facing.

magnetic snaps


11) Stitch them together, I usually use a 3/8 inch seam allowance with pieces like this one. Leave the 'bottom' part open, for turning.

magnetic snaps



11) If your flap has curves, trim them for a nice finish - take care not to snip into any stitches. If it has edges, trim those too.

How to install magnetic snaps





12) Turn right side out. Topstitch around the closure tab, again leaving the bottom side open and unfinished.

How to install magnetic snaps

How to add magnetic snaps

Your flap may be a different form and size, but you get the picture.

PART TWO: BODY OF THE BAG


Now, we'll install the other half of the magnetic snap into the bag's body. Since you already know the procedure, this will go even faster:

How to add magnetic snaps


1) First, apply interfacing (stabilizer) to the wrong side of the bag body where the second part of the magnetic snap is to be installed. Add an additional layer of interfacing to strengthen the area. Usually, I use a larger scrap piece of interfacing, something like 5 inch x 4 inch, as shown in this photo:


How to add magnetic snaps

Then you'll sew the body of the bag as instructed. Usually, the right time to install the snap is just before you close the turning opening on the bag body. Here, for example, I needed to install the second magnet when the bag (a clutch actually) was nearly finished, so it was pretty easy to find the 'sweet spot':

How to add magnetic snaps


2) Mark the exact spot where you want the second part of the magnetic snap.

How to add magnetic snaps



3) Reach through the unfinished opening into the body of the bag/clutch, keeping the outer and inner (lining) layers apart.

Using a seam ripper, make 2 tiny slits into the outer shell at the marked spots – BUT DON'T CUT THROUGH THE INNER LINING of the bag.

How to add magnetic snaps

Insert the snap through the right side of the fabric. 

4) Then slide the washer over the prongs, open the prongs of the snap outwards, and - optional - apply an additional layer of thin interfacing over the prongs.  

How to add magnetic snaps

Here, you've just added magnetic snaps to your bag or purse. How cool is that! And now when you how to insert magnetic snaps, chances are that you'll never want your bags closures made in a different way.

How to add magnetic snaps


For those wondering where this tutorial came from, I made it when sewing one of my own designs, the Ultimate Diaper Clutch. I love it for its convenience and beginner-friendly sewing procedure.

Also, because I've just sewn two of them and made two moms really happy :) (My No 1 present for new moms from now on!)

You can get your own pattern here.


the ultimate diaper clutch pdf pattern. Get it on Craftsy.




 Pin For Later:

How to install magnetic snaps closure to any bag. A beginner sewing tutorial that will show you how give your DIY bags and purses a professional look.
Happy sewing!

Damjana


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16 comments:

  1. Ten out of ten for a well-instructed tutorial. Anyone can follow it and get a perfect job. I'll be using these fixings on the next bag I make!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have put in magnetic snaps and even though I was scared to try to use them at first, when I did, I was surprised at how easy it was. Now my confession. When I saw you use the seam ripper I thought "DUH, why didn't I think of that". I used scissors and that was the only part I had trouble with was that little cut. Thanks for the tip. That just goes to show that yes, even old dogs (me) can learn new tricks. Haha

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  3. As always, a comprehensive tutorial, Damjana. Featured today...

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  4. This is so useful! I've never used magnetic snaps before, partially because I had no idea how to! This is getting pinned right away! :) Lisa

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  5. Oh how awesome! I've never used magnetic snaps before as I thought they would be hard to work with! I think I need to get some! Thanks for linking up over at the Sew-spiration Link Party this week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Domenica,

      agree, snaps are really nothing to shy away from. In fact, way easier to make it look perfect than those semi-auto buttonholes :D

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  6. Thank you so much for the great tutorial!

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  7. Excellent tutorial, with clear pictures and instructions. I love that fabric. Is it available?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Emmy,

      I purchased the fabric in my local fabric shop and sadly, I have no idea who's the designer or where to buy it globally. Maybe some other reader will be able to help? (I might need that info too, as I'm holding onto the last few tiny scraps of this fabric and unable to think of a project small enough to use it for :)

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  8. I understood your instructions ... and will now dare to take a magnetic closure.
    Thanks for that. :)

    Have a nice day...the Nähbegeisterte

    ReplyDelete
  9. Very nice tutorial! I've put in dozens of mag snaps, so I already knew how, but a couple of times when I've bought snaps by mail order in past years I've been shorted a metal washer. I had to improvise by cutting a circle from a plastic milk or juice bottle. It works so well that I use those instead of the metal ones on things I want to wash, because the metal ones will rust! That isn't so much of a problem on a purse, but I like fastening my totes, too, which need regular washing. I use them for groceries and to carry things to the beach frequently. The Florida humidity doesn't help metal, but the beach sure helps me! Just cut them out with scissors (I trace around a circle, or a rectangular one first with a Sharpie) and use a sharp pointed knife to make slits for the prongs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barbara,

      thank you for your tip, it's so clever! I need to try it out, seriously - especially with things I make for kids. Those bags get dirty and I need to wash them too. Love hacks like this one, thank you!

      Delete
  10. Your tutorial was excellent and easy to understand. I've installed a number of magnetic snaps and my best suggestion is to install them at least an inch from the edge of your closure, otherwise it is very difficult to topstitch around them. Thanks for the great tutorial.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barbara,

      totally agree. Thanks for the comment, it will be very useful for everyone else reading this tutorial.

      Delete