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Bag Closures

Choice of bag closures

This guide to bag closures is written by Christine Down. Christine sells instantly downloadable bag making patterns at https://www.sewlush.org/

If you missed the previous parts of this series find them here:

Tools and equipment used for bag making

Fabric, interfacing and patterns

Handles, frames and closures

Bag making techniques and tutorials

Magnetic snaps – Velcro – Twist Locks

Magnetic Snaps

 Magnetic snaps come in a number of colours and sizes and nearly all are attached the same way. 

Magnetic bag closures
The parts with holes in are called the tops. The piece with the indentation is called the female part, and the piece with the bit that sticks out is called the male part. The two "legs" on the back are called the prongs.

Work out where you want your magnetic snap to be. Take the top of the magnetic snap, the bit with the oblong holes in it, and use this as a template to mark where the holes need to be cut. Carefully cut the holes in one piece with a seam ripper tool and push the front of the snap through from the right side of the fabric. Put the back over the prongs and push the prongs apart to keep the back on.

Cut a small piece of Thermolam sew-in interfacing and place over the snap back. Glue into place using fabric glue.  Use the front of the snap to mark where the back needs to go. Attach the back of the snap in the same way.   If you are closing the top of the bag by attaching the front to the back the snaps will be inside the bag attached to the lining.

Where to attach snaps on a bag
Snaps in top of bag attached to lining

In this case, cut out two ovals of firm iron on interfacing (or you can use other interfacing depending on what you have to hand).  Attach the ovals to the wrong side of the lining where the snaps are going to go.  Make the cuts through the interfacing and the lining.  Without the interfacing the snaps will tear a hole in the lining in a short time. 

Use top to mark, seam ripper to cut, place top on prongs and bend.
Adding a bag snap
In this picture you can see I've used both medium iron-on interfacing and Thermolam.

You do exactly the same on bags that have a flap that attaches to the back and folds over the top of the bag.  Attach the female part to the flap and then use the flap folded over the top of the bag to mark where the male part should go.  As the snaps will be on the outside of the bag front and on the flap you may not need extra interfacing but still cover the back of the snap with Thermolam using glue.

Using bag snaps
Attaching snap to flap pattern bags.

An alternative to a flap is to add two tabs to the top of the bag that meet with a magnetic snap just inside the top.

Placement of a bag snap
Snaps on tabs just inside the top of the bag

Hook and Loop Tape (Velcro) 

This is the tape that you touch together and it sticks to itself with textured surfaces.  I tend to use this on money purses and wallets rather than handbags.  It comes in a variety of colours.  I buy the iron-on sort and iron it into place, but then I stitch it into place as well.  Having it anchored into place by ironing is a big help by keeping it exactly in place while you sew.


hook and loop tape
Velcro (hoop and loop tape) is best on purses, wallets and pouches. Here it's on a kindle (ereader) case

Twist Lock Closure

 You will need a face plate for the front, a back plate for the back, a twist part and a ladder back to attach the twist part to.

Put the face plate upside down where you want the lock and trace around the inside of it.  (Reinforce the back with extra heavy Vilene – you can see I’ve forgotten do to this in the photos.)   

Bagmaking techniques

Very carefully cut out the hole.

Making your own bags

Do it a bit at a time and keep checking by putting the face plate against the hole.  It’s easy to make the hole too big and impossible to make it smaller again!  You can use some seam sealer (like Fraycheck) to seal the edges of the hole. 

Place the face plate in the hole and the back plate on the back and push the prongs over the back plate.   It’s a good idea to use some glue on the backs of the lock pieces for security.  Use some pliers or a flat end screwdriver to push the prongs right down.  


How to use a twist lock

Check where you want the twist part to be.  Reinforce the back of the area with extra heavy Vilene. (Remembered this time!)   

Reinforce a metal twist lock on a bag

Mark the very centre of where the twist part is going to go.  Place the twist part on its side above the mark and draw two marks where the prongs are. 

Cut the holes with a seam ripper. 

Apply seam sealer to the cuts.  Again, only make the holes big enough for the prongs.  Put the twist part in the hole and place the ladder back on the back of the fabric. 

How to make a bag closure

Push the prongs flat as before.

Bag Making Supplies

The following online shops have a good selection of bagmaking tools and hardware:

Emi B Designs

Me Made Makes

Rebecca Woollard Sewing School

Pelenna Patchworks

Your Perfect Bag

Lovely Jubbly Fabrics