Snap to It!

Darling fabric-covered snaps!

I'm almost done with the second sleeve of a cardigan, and I have snaps in mind for the closure. Wouldn't you know it, the Spring 2012 issue of knit.wear magazine featured an inspiring article about covering snaps with fabric before sewing them on. It's such a neat idea, and I love the little pop of color that will greet me when I'm taking off or putting on the sweater. And when I wear the cardigan open, those fabric colors will be so much cuter than an ugly metal snap.

Covering Snaps with Fabric

Fabric-covered metal snaps can refine the look of any piece that would normally use buttons and buttonholes. To use snaps instead of buttons, work any bands or other edge treatments as directed, omitting buttonholes. Covered snap closures will be hidden when a garment is closed and provide a flash of subtle interest when a garment hangs open.

Step 1
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STEP 1 Choose a snap color and weight appropriate for your knitted fabric. Large snaps will work better with bulky knits, while a finer-gauge, delicate knit fabric may only be able to support a smaller and lighter snap. Metal snaps come in a variety of sizes and colors and are available at any fabric store that sells sewing notions. You will also need lightweight fusible interfacing and appropriate fabric scraps for covering the snaps. (Interfacing is a specialty fabric intended to provide stability and support to fashion fabrics. Here, it is used to add strength to the fabric and prevent fraying at the cut edges. Use a lightweight nonwoven or knit fusible interfacing to add strength without bulk.)

STEP 2 Make your patterns. Trace around the edge of the snap on a piece of paper and then add 1⁄8" all around to make the interfacing pattern. Draw a separate second circle, about twice the diameter of the snap, to make the fabric pattern. Creating patterns isn't strictly necessary but will make the process smoother when making several covered snaps at the same time.

STEP 3 Cut and prepare fabric and interfacing. Trace around your paper patterns onto your fabric and interfacing and cut out with sharp fabric shears. For one snap pair, you will need two circles each of fabric and interfacing. Following the manufacturer's directions, fuse the interfacing to the center of the wrong side of each fabric circle.

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STEP 4 Using small, sharp scissors, cut a very small hole in the center of each interfaced fabric circle. The resulting opening should be slightly smaller than the snap peg to ensure a snug fit.

STEP 5 Cover the snap. Using thread that matches the fabric, sew a running stitch around the edge of the fabric circle. Place the snap halves on the wrong side of the fabric, aligning the holes in the fabric with the hole in the female side of the snap and with the peg on the male side. Pull the thread to gather the fabric, securing the snap within, and secure with several small backstitches.

STEP 6 Finish your garment. Sew the snap halves to your garment with neat, even overcast stitches that pass through the holes in the snap and do not show on the right side of the knitting. Snaps can match the knitted garment, adding an elegant and minimal closure, or they can contrast, making a quirky style statement. Try a bold solid to highlight the occasional colored fleck in a tweed. Or try small plaids or tiny prints for a surprise element that cheers up an otherwise simple design.

—Kathy Augustine, from knit.wear, Spring 2012

I can't wait to add fabric-covered snaps to my sweater! I'll post a photo on our Facebook page when I'm done. This is such a fun idea. Even if you're a beginning knitter, you can add these snaps and pump up the volume on the simplest cardigan sweater!

Knit.wear magazine is full of these types of interesting ideas for making your knits shine, as well as fabulous patterns from amazing designers. We've put all of the digital issues together for you in a knit.wear kit. Get yours today!


P.S. Have you used snaps on your knitwear? Share your tips in the comments!


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Knitting Daily Blog
Kathleen Cubley

About Kathleen Cubley

Hello daily knitters! I'm the editor of Knitting Daily. I've been obsessed with knitting for about ten years now and my favorite projects are sweaters. I like the occasional smaller project, but there's nothing like yards of stockinette with a well-placed cable or a subtle stitch pattern here and there. I crochet a bit now and then—especially when I need to produce a baby blanket in time for the baby shower. I've been in publishing for 20 years and I'm finally exactly where I want to be: at the crossroads of knitting and communication. I live in Spokane, Washington and when I'm not knitting I enjoy gardening, snuggling with my dogs, swimming, reading, and playing in the snow in the winter. But, really, I'm pretty much always knitting!

8 thoughts on “Snap to It!

  1. It is a pleasure to see this old tailoring method come back into fashion again. I can remember covered snaps back in the dark ages when I was young.
    That, covered buttons, french seams, wrapping the thread under the button to
    add a finished look plus strengthening the join between the button and the
    garment, so many old tailoring methods that can be applied to finishing a knit
    garment….and of course some can’t.
    Does anyone else remember tailoring “secrets” that they would like to share?

  2. Kathleen; Thank you so much for the article on covered snaps. I have been using them on my knit garments since the 1940’s when you could get them in any sewing/knitting store.. they were even available in the 5 & Dime stores ;-)….
    I am down to my last card of covered snaps, only 4 left and have been searching the internet for where to get more….. now, thanks to your article, I can have as many as I need in any color I want …… many many thanks for your easy explanation and specific directions. Anne S.

  3. I have sewn snaps without lining them and it is very difficult, this is brilliant! Next time I will take the time to do this, then it will be much easier to sew and add that tailored look. Thanks!

  4. Yes, I remember additional tailoring tips:
    Add a clear button on the backside of a sewn on button (when attaching to a knit garment) as not to pull on the thread, which in turn, pulls the yarn when wearing the garment buttoned up. Same principle used on snaps–use a small clear button as a backer reinforcement so not to pull on the yarn when unsnapping.

  5. I made a double breasted hoodie for my granddaughter for Christmas and forgot to make the buttonholes. I sewed on the buttons on the front and on the back underneath side I attached snaps. When she wears it it appears to be buttoned!

  6. When I cannot find the buttons I would like to have I use odd buttons the same size and crochet a cover over them to match the garment. Works very well.
    Sometimes if a heavy yarn is used for the garment , I split the yarn to crochet with.

  7. Just wish I had had this article about two months ago when I finished a knit pattern that was put together with snaps! They show now, and it is not a pretty sight… Next time I will know how to cover them so my garment will have a more “finished” look. Thanks for the directions, which I plan to SAVE!