KAM Snap Tutorial
KAM snaps or plastic fasteners are this great invention that make the perfect alternative to buttons. Not only are they bright, colourful and fun. They are quick and easy to install once you have the technique down pat. They require no sewing, no complicated buttonholes and can be installed in less than 1 minute for a simple and sturdy closure.
I first started using KAM snaps a few years ago when I started sewing baby bibs. The best part is that the baby can’t pull the bib off when they are used, something I hate about Velcro closure bibs. Since then, I’ve grown to love them even more and use them on everything from purses and bags to pillow covers and where I can put them really. You are only limited by your imagination, and if it’s something where you’d normally use a traditional button and buttonhole or velcro, you can easily replace it with a snap.
The snaps themselves come in several different sizes, the most common size is size 20 (T5), which is the size I use on everything. It will also be the size you will easily find when you go to purchase your snaps, but you may need to check first just to be sure.
You can find KAM snaps in many places. From amazon to eBay and other smaller fabric and patchwork shops. If you’re just starting out using them, you will need to purchase KAM snap pliers first which is a very small initial investment. Sometimes they come in a kit with a few snaps, otherwise you can purchase your plastic snaps separately anytime. If you’re in Australia you can get them here or here (that’s where I get mine), along with pliers and a colour card! because who doesn’t love a snap colour card?!
If this is your first-time installing snaps, I do recommend practising on a scrap bit of fabric first, so you get a feel of how the process works and how the plier’s work. You don’t want to stuff up the installation, they can be difficult to remove, and you risk damaging your sewing project. However if your installation doesn’t exactly go well they can be removed. you simply squeeze the snap sideways in your pliers to break the seal between the cap and the stud/socket. The fabric will still be marked by the hole you poked in it first with the awl.
you might also want to test the thickness of the layers your inserting your snaps into. I find they are totally fine with two layers of fabric and some cotton batting in between plus some thin interfacing like SF101. If your using thicker materials or different interfacings that are quiet thick you may want to do a test first on some scrap to make sure that the post on the cap can be squashed sufficiently enough to secure your snap in place without it falling apart.
Let’s get started!
- KAM Snap Pliers
- An awl to push holes through the fabric/ fabric layers
- Plastic snaps
- Your sewing project
- Marking pen (I use Frixion)
Select a set of snaps by choosing 2 caps, a stud and a socket in the colour you choose to use.
Mark on your fabric where you will insert your snap with a removable fabric marker. In my patchwork snap pouch pattern, I tell you exactly where to insert the snaps for each sized pouch.
Take your awl and push it through the fabric/fabric layers right where you put your mark. In this case we are putting a snap in the pouch flap so we push the awl all the way through the layers on the flap only.
Take one of the caps and push the prong through the hole you just made. The caps generally go on the outside of the project, but it depends on what you are sewing. Caps are on the outside; the stud and socket are on the inside of the snap pair. The stud and the socket are the bit that connect together to form the closure. The cap goes on the outside of the flap.
This is what it looks like on the inside of the flap. See that little post sticking through.
Place a STUD over the post of the cap on the other side of the fabric/other side of the flap.
NOTE: Whenever I am using a press stud I place the stud on top of the corresponding socket, not the other way around. When you are closing something, you want to push the stud into the socket, and when you are opening it you want to pull it out/off the socket. You might choose to do this differently and that’s fine. The best part about KAM snaps is they look exactly the same on the outside (due to that shiny, smooth cap), regardless of whether the stud or the socket is on top.
Now use the KAM snap pliers to secure the Snap in place. To do this you nest your snap into the pliers by making sure the cap at the bottom is sitting snug in the black disk at the bottom on the pliers.
Your stud should then align with the pushing disk at the top of the pliers.
Once you’re happy with how everything is aligned, you then squeeze the handles of the pliers hard until the post in the cap is squashed down.
The post from your cap should now look like this. All squashed down and holding the stud in place.
Repeat the same process to attach the socket part of the snap pair to the other cap. In this case it goes in the front part of the pouch, or directly across from where you want it to snap to the corresponding stud. In my pattern, I tell you how to find where to put the corresponding socket.
This is what your successfully inserted snaps should look like.
Now you can go grab some snaps and pliers and get snapping. Remember if this is new to you, to practise on some scrap fabric first before you go to your finished make. It is really easy and you will soon be obsessed with KAM snaps just like me!
Happy Snapping! Kellie. X.
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