Learn how to attach magnetic fasteners to your bags. You might think of it as tricky but it’s a snap!
As a pattern designer I like to use all kinds of fasteners for my bags. In this tutorial I’ll be showing you how to apply magnetic snap fasteners to handbags like my Girlfriends Bag.
The Girlfriends Bag utilizes three sets of snap magnets. A set is found on each side of the bag so that it can expand, as in the photos above.
A set may also be used as a snap closure at the top of the bag on the flap.
If you’re making the Girlfriends Bag, you’ll need three 3/4 inch magnetic snaps. They are for sale at our online store as part of a hardware kit that’s specifically made for the Girlfriends Bag. This bag also requires foam stabilizer. Our store carries Bosal In-R-Form Sew-in Foam Stabilizer, but you could use Annie’s Soft and Stable or Inn Control when making the bag.
Other bag patterns that use snap closures are the Urban Computer Satchel, The Around the Block Bag, and the Essentials Tote. Hardware kits are also available at our online store for those bags.
Here’s how to apply the magnetic fastener
To practice, you’ll need a couple of 3/4 inch magnetic snaps, some scrap fabric, and a bit of clear vinyl. To get the feel for how this works when making a bag, I also suggest you use foam stabilizer.
Magnetic snaps have two halves and two washers per set. Note that there is a male half and a female half. If you are prudish call them insies and outsies!
Prepare the area where the snap will go
Cut two 4 1/2 inch squares of fabric and baste sew-in foam stabilizer to each piece, just like you’d do to make the Girlfriends Bag.
Mark the Fabric
Use a removable marker, and make a mark indicating the placement point on both squares.
Center one of the washers over the mark on the fabric. Use a removable marker mark in the long slots to either side of the center hole.
Repeat for the other fabric piece.
You’ll have a dot with two lines marked on each piece.
Puncture the Fabric
There are two ways to puncture the fabric. Using an awl does not cut the thread of the fabric. Snipping along the two lines with sharp scissors is easier, but it does cut the fabric. Myself, I usually cut the fabric.
Use Vinyl to Reinforce and Protect the Fabric
To save wear and tear on the fabric from the edges of the magnet I like to cut small 1 inch squares of clear vinyl (like the stuff used to cover tablecloths).
Center them over the marked lines on the fabric and trace those lines on the vinyl using a fine-point Sharpie marker.
Next I fold the vinyl in half and snip along the lines using my sharp scissors.
The vinyl gets placed over the marked area…
Attach the Magnetic Snap
Push the snap through the holes to the opposite side. In this case we are using an outsie.
Place the washer over the arms of the magnet back.
Then, bend back the arms using the ends of large scissors or a pair of pliers.
Trim the vinyl away from the edges of the magnet so just a little bit remains around it to protect the fabric from future wear and tear.
Apply the Other Half
Repeat this procedure for the other fabric piece using an insie – that’s logical though because that’s your remaining half of the snap magnet set!
And presto – you have completed a successful application!
Did you find this tutorial useful? Take a video class with Brenda.