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Why Snaps are your Friend

Setting Snaps vs. Sewing Buttonholes

set in snaps on jumper

I mentioned in at least one place on this site that I'm not too fond of making buttonholes and sewing on buttons. My sewing machine (a Singer 3343c ) has automatic buttonhole stitches, and I have a button sewing presser foot. Between the two, it's made buttonholes and buttons a bit more doable. But when a cousin sent me a bunch of set in snaps and a Dritz snap tool, I was hooked on snaps!

When I was first checking out the patterns at BirchStreet Clothing, I was happy to see that they generally design for snaps, not buttons. They also sell some nice looking decorative snaps on their site. It's been great having patterns built for snaps, like the spiral jumper. If you're buttonhole challenged like I am (though I'll do 'em if I have to, like the front button jumper), read on.

How to use Dritz Snap Tool

The tool I have is this one that sells:

Dritz® Mighty Snap-A-Plier For Heavy Duty Snaps

If you go to their page, you'll see a lot of reviews panning the tool. If you're like me, you may only have a Dritz snap tool, or that may be the only one you can find. I actually used to do much better with the tool, but recently seem to mess up a lot of snaps. This gets to be a price problem, as decorative snaps are not cheap. Add to that many rural areas don't carry any set in snaps, and I really don't want to lose snaps to mistakes! So let's go over the instructions that are sent with the Dritz snap tool, and try to get it right.

The instructions -- not intuitive, but they work

There are definitely times when my snaps don't work. So I reviewed the instructions and set two snaps for this review. One was a ring snap, the other a flat decorative snap. I used a plain scrap of fabric for this demo. Remember, if you are going to practice, you should do so on a sample that includes the layers you will actually be setting a snap in. That is, including interfacing and/or facing. Here's a scanned image of the instructions on the back of the package. Mind you, I've had my Dritz for over 10 years now, so forgive the wear.

Click on the image for a really too large file of the instructions in English. I didn't keep the French part, though the package includes them.

Okay, here we go.

setting with decorative snap in place
This is what the Dritz tool looks like if you've got a decorative snap top set for application. If you are using only rings, the ring prong would be where the pronged snap fixture is on the bottom in the "plastic holder".

This is the "outside" where the ring or decorative snap is set.

This is the underside where the socket is attached to the ring or decorative snap.

An example of the topside of the snaps

snapped together
The snap sides snap together firmly, and don't rip out of the fabric when done properly. If you find that you have prongs sticking out of either side, the snap won't hold.

I find the most confusing part is setting the prong. Often I end up having to orient the Dritz snap tool a couple of times before squeezing. Take your time, make sure the prong will be on the correct side of the fabric (the outside). When I blow it, I use my seam ripper to get under the prong and wiggle an edge out. Then I try again!

You can purchase the Dritz snap tool online in a couple of places, including They also carry a wide array of decorative snaps.

Another online source for snap tools is at They carry the Dritz Snap Heavy Duty Attacher, Easy Attacher Kit, Plier Kit Snap and Eyelet Fastener, the Dritz Plier Kit, The Jumbo Fastener Tool Kit, the Dritz Color Snap tool, and the Dritz Anorak Snap tool. Their prices seem to be a bit cheaper than I've never used any of the other tools, and there seem to be some complaints on about tools breaking after a few uses. That certainly doesn't happen with the plier tool, just follow directions and work slowly with the Dritz snap tool.

Another great place to find a bargain on snap setters is Bid only as much as you're willing to pay. If you win the auction, the snap setter is yours at your price:

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