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This is part of a bag making series written by Christine Down. Christine sells instantly downloadable bag making patterns at 

Bag Closures

What closures to use on your bag

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. 

 Using magnetic snaps as a bag fastening

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 ofThermolam 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.


How to sew magnetic snap fasteners into 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. 


Using magnetic fasntenings in bag making

 Use top to mark, seam ripper to cut, place top on prongs and bend.

Bag fastenings - bag closures

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.


Sewing bags with magnetic 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.


Bag fastening techniques

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.


Making a velcro closure on a gadget case

 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.


How to use a twist lock

 Parts for twist lock

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.)   


How to add a twist lock to a bag

 Draw inside plate face

Very carefully cut out the hole.


How to sew a twist lock

Cut hole

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. 


Bag making tutorials from Sew Christine

 Face plate over 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 add a twist lock to a bag

 Put back plate over back of hole, push prongs with screwdriver

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


Twist lock bag making advice

Reinforce the back

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. 

How to use a twist lock in bag making

Mark prongs 

Cut the holes with a seam ripper. 

How to make your own bag

Cut holes for prongs

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. 


Twist lock instuctions

 Twist lock and ladder back

Push the prongs flat as before.


Finished twist lock in a bag

 Finished twist lock