Many different buttons and closures are available to match any fabric and any garment style. Buttons and other closures can also be used for decorating purposes. It is important to choose the right buttons and closures for the garments as the wrong closure can take away from the beauty of your hard work. Thinner fabrics generally require smaller closures, while thicker and tougher fabrics require bigger and stronger closures.
Some buttons and closures can be attached using your sewing machine, which makes it really easy to attach them. However, other buttons, such as shank buttons will have to be sewn on by hand.
Once you decide on which type of button you want to use, you will need to know how to measure your buttonholes, and then to sew your buttonholes. If you’re a sewing newbie, you might also benefit from this list of measuring tools that you can use in sewing.
Below is a brief description of some of the available buttons and their uses.
All-purpose buttons have 2 or 4 holes, which makes them easy to attach by machine. If your machine didn’t come with one, you can get a special presser foot specifically designed to make sewing buttons as easy as pie. All-purpose buttons come in various different sizes and can be used in almost any sewing project.
Shank buttons have a hole in a shank (knob) underneath the button, which is used to attach the button. They come in different sizes and can be used in any sewing project as long as the size of the shank is matched to the thickness of the fabric. A high shank button is great for jackets and coats where the fabrics are thick; while a low shank button is suitable for lighter fabrics including shirts and other tops.
Self-covered buttons are covered with small pieces of the same fabric as the garment. These are perfect for dresses and dressy shirts as they make for a perfect match. To cover the button, simply cover the front of the button with fabric and then snap the back on to hold the fabric in place.
Toggle buttons are elongated buttons that have either one or two holes in the center. A string is then passed through those holes and attached to one side of the garment opening. Another string is attached to the opposite side in order to create a loop. The great thing with these buttons is that you don’t need to sew a buttonhole.
Toggle buttons add a great touch to jackets, coats, vests and purses.
Loop Frog Buttons
Loop frog buttons are one of the fanciest buttons of all. They are great for special outfits such as for prom dresses, wedding and bridesmaid dresses or garments for any other special occasion. They have a ball on one end which passes through a loop on the opposite side to close. Although they come in a variety of designs, they generally have three or more open loops on each side.
Velcro consists of two sides: one side with tiny loops, and the other with tiny hooks. When the two sides are pressed together, the tiny hooks interlock with with loops for a firm closure. To open, the two sides are simply pulled apart. It is the quickest way to open and close any garment. The simplicity of this closure makes it ideal for doll and children’s clothing as it allows them to be more independent.
Although it may seem like a tough material, velcro can easily be stitched to the garment using the sewing machine.
Velcro can be purchased in small circular, rectangular and square shapes, as well as in long strips known as velcro tapes. The tapes are great for lapped areas, curtains and other sewing projects.
The downfall of velcro is that it is not suitable for crocheted projects. I’ve tried this and it can ruin the finished project in no time if you’re not careful.
Hooks and Eyes
Hooks and eyes are attached on the inside of the garment, and are not seen when the garment is worn. They come in different sizes and are perfect for blouses and skirts. They are great for hiding zippers in dressy skirts and dresses.
Heavy-duty hooks and eyes are suitable for waistbands, on pants and skirts.
Hooks and eyes can be purchased individually and attached by hand. They can also be purchased in convenient strips where the hooks are attached on one strip and the eyes on the other. The two strips are then sewn in with a machine, thus saving time by not having to align and hand-sew each closure individually.
Snaps are also attached on the inside of the garment and are not seen on the outside when the garment is worn. These are not suitable for stressed areas, such as waistbands or shirt closures as they come apart easily. They are more suitable for cuffs, or lapped areas where they can help to keep the edges flat.
Jumbo snaps are available for decorating purposes only. The are applied to garments such as jeans, overalls, and jackets, using a special tool or a hammer to tack them in place.