Magnetic snaps are the bread and butter of the bag hardware world. They’re super easy to install and add a certain level of professionalism, not to mention practicality, to your bag. If you’re a beginner to bag hardware, magnetic snaps are a great starting point.
While there are a zillion different varieties of magnetic snaps, we will be looking at the two most common: Prong Back and Sew In.
Installing a prong back magnetic snap
These are the most common type of magnetic snap. They usually come in four parts: male side, female side, and two washers.
1) Fuse a piece of stabiliser (e.g. Pellon Peltex #71F) to the wrong side of the fabric. The stabiliser should be larger than the magnetic snap and centred around the point where snap will be installed.
2) On the right side of the fabric make a small mark in the centre of where the magnetic snap will be installed.
3) Place the centre circle of a washer over the mark you made. Draw lines in the two outer slots of the washer.
4) Using a seam ripper or craft knife, cut through the two slits. Take care not to cut the slits too big – the prongs of the magnetic snap should fit snugly through the slits.
5) Push the magnetic snap prongs though the slits from the right side to the wrong side of the fabric.
6) Place the washer over the prongs and press them outwards, ensuring the magnetic snap remains flush against the fabric.
7) Repeat for the other side of the magnetic snap pair.
Installing a sew in magnetic snap
Sew in magnetic snaps aren’t as common as the prong back variety, but are definitely worth knowing about. They can either be sewn to the fabric, so that the stitching is visible, or they can be installed inside the bag, thus making them invisible (and how seriously cool is that!!!).
Before we start, think back to high school science. Not the part with the cool experiments or exercise book graffiti of “I luv <insert band name> 4 eva”, but the bit where you were told how magnets both attract and repel.
Place the magnets together and mark the backs with a pen. This will ensure your magnets still attract once sewn in place…because nobody wants unattractive magnets.
Note: You may find you need to change your installation method depending on the strength of the magnet and it’s purpose. I highly recommend doing some experimenting to find a technique that suits you best.
1) Cut a piece of single-sided fusible stabiliser (e.g. Pellon Peltex #71F) larger than the magnetic snap.
2) On the fusible side of the stabiliser, sew the magnetic snap in place with the marked side down.
3) Fuse the stabiliser in place, magnet side down, onto the wrong side of your fabric. If the fabric isn’t interfaced, fuse a scrap piece of interfacing prior to adding the stabiliser.
4) For extra stability, add another scrap piece of interfacing over the top of the stabiliser.
Note: I have trimmed my stabiliser to suit the shape of the flap to which I am fusing. You may find yourself needing to do the same.
5) Repeat for the remaining side of the magnet pair. Remember to sew the snap to the stabiliser marked side down.
Where to buy
You will probably find magnetic snaps are some of the easiest bag hardware to find. Many local quilting, sewing and craft stores will stock these, particularly the prong back variety. Some fabulous online suppliers include:
Betty Box Pleat – Queensland, Australia.
Sew Creative Supplies – Western Australia, Australia.
Voodoo Rabbit Fabric – Queensland, Australia.
Emmaline Bags – Canada.
Bobbin Girl – United Kingdom.
Who’s keen to try a magnetic snap on their next bag???