Bag Making Tutorial: How to Install Press Snaps

Riveted press snaps are so quick and easy to attach and they give a handmade bag or accessory a nice professional finish. The packs of fasteners come with a disposable fixing tool, however, it’s so much easier to use a pair of Prym Vario Pliers which are easy to use and combine two jobs in one – they pierce holes in the fabric (with the attachments included) and rivet the fasteners into place (attachments included in the packs of fasteners). They're attached when you’ve finished a project, as they have finished backs. I use them at the top of bags for a main closure and also on pocket flaps and tab closures.

prym vario pliers and press fasteners

To install: refer to your sewing pattern for placement or measure and mark how far up/down you want the fastener to go and then find the widthways centre point. Take your time to ensure you get the position correct, so the fastener isn't off-centre when attached. Mark a dot, using a fabric marker.

mark position for attaching press snap 

Insert the hole piercing attachments into the placement holes of the pliers. The hollow attachment has different size holes, at either end. Ensure you have it the right way round for the desired hole size; I use the smaller size.

fabric hole punch

Place the project between the plier ends, with the pointed attachment uppermost at the marked position of your project. It will easily cut through all the project layers – main fabric, interfacing, fleece, lining. Ensure the fabrics are sitting smoothly and then firmly squeeze the pliers handles to pierce the hole.

Note: if you need to bunch the fabric up to reach the marked position, firstly pin through all the layers of your project around the marked position. This way, when the fabric is bunched up, the hole will go through the layers evenly.

piercing hole in fabric

hole cut in fabric

Remove the hole punch attachments and insert the correct press snap holders. The 15mm snaps that I use most often have separate holders for each part. The holder attachments and press snap parts look like this:

press fastener parts

Attach the holders for the female press snap parts.

riveted press snaps - how to attach (a)

Press the back female part of snap onto the holder, upside down.

riveted press snaps - how to attach (b)

Position the back part of snap on the lining side of the pierced fabric hole. Line up the front part of the snap at the hole on outer side of project. Squeeze the pliers firmly to rivet the parts together.

riveted press snaps - how to attach (c)

Remove the female part holders and insert the male part holders. Push the back male part of snap into holder.

riveted press snaps - how to attach (d)

With the back male part on the underside, fit the shaft up through the fabric hole. Place the front male part of snap over the shaft. Press the pliers together firmly (ensuring holder goes over the front snap part) to rivet the parts.

riveted press snaps - how to attach (e)

The press snaps should now be securely attached to the bag!

 press snaps attached

If you'd like to have a go at using riveted press snaps and Prym Vario pliers, they're available to buy in the shop.