Applying snaps to baby clothes is a simple enough procedure, but the method can vary depending on the type of snap. If you make a lot of baby clothes, it’s a good idea to invest in a few specialized pieces of equipment – a snap fastener pliers being the handiest. If you don’t have one to hand, a hammer can be used as a useful alternative.
How to put snaps on baby clothes: For a foolproof way of applying metal snaps to a baby garment, follow these five easy steps (just make sure to grab a spool of thread, some pins, and a pencil with an eraser before you do):
Step 1. Using pins, mark the fabric where the snaps need to be.
Step 2. Place the fabric on top of the prong part of the snap.
Step 3. With the eraser head of the pencil, push through the fabric onto the prong until the sharp edges of the prong penetrate the fabric.
Step 4. Place the socket or stud part of the snap on top of the prong (which should now be visible) and align the prongs with the groves.
Step 5. Cover the top of the socket/ stud with the spool of thread, and hammer into place.
If you happen to have a set of snap fastener pliers to hand, the process is even easier. Simply place both snap parts into each side of the pliers, position the fabric into the correct place between the pliers, and squeeze.
Back in days gone by, babies and toddlers tended to wear gowns that closed with a drawstring. While practical to some extent, the trend didn’t exactly allow for much choice in the style department. Then, as if by magic, baby shops started popping up with aisle upon aisle of everything from coats and dungarees to jeans and bodysuits. The reason for the change? Snaps.
While buttons had always been off the table when it came to baby attire (for reasons we’ll look into shortly) snaps provided a safe, convenient, and practical way of fastening and unfastening baby clothes. These days, snaps are pretty much ubiquitous: if you see an item of child’s clothing with an opening, it’s likely to have at least a few snaps attached.
If you’ve ever wondered why snaps are so common on baby clothes and buttons are so rare, it all comes down to one word: safety. Snaps have the distinct advantage of being integrated so tightly into clothing, they’re nigh on impossible to loosen or dislodge without some serious commitment (not to say a good few tools). No matter how determined your baby is to find something to stick in their mouth, there’s almost zero chance they’ll manage to remove a snap and make it into their new chew toy.
Buttons, unlike snaps, are always slightly in danger of being pulled off, inhaled, popped in an ear, or sucked like candy. Babies and toddlers will pull and chew buttons with ease – even if you think you’ve sewed them on securely, they could still pose a choking hazard if a thread becomes loose enough to pull.
Although toddlers develop at different stages, it’s generally advisable to avoid using buttons on clothing until a child reaches the ages of three.
Before we leave the topic of buttons entirely, there’s one last world about their use on baby clothes that has nothing to do with safety, but a lot to do with practicality. As anyone who’s ever raised (or simply seen) a baby will know, kids move. A lot. Trying to button up a romper suit on a wriggling baby can be almost as much hard work as pushing them out in the first place. In comparison, fastening a snap shut is a piece of cake.
Although snaps are measured by different standards according to country and brand, it’s usually the case that the smaller the physical size, the smaller the named sized. A size 14 is generally considered to be one of the smallest snaps in production – if you see a size 10, you can be assured of a very small snap indeed (although the exact measurement will depend on where (and who) it’s coming from).
Depending on where in the world you are, snap fasteners can be sized according to one of several standards. In most countries, snap fasteners are sized by their diameter in millimeters. In the US, they’ll sometimes be sized by the diameter in fractions of an inch, sometimes by the diameter in lignes (which is the same method used for sizing buttons), and other times by using particular size numbers. While sizes do vary according to manufacturer, the below should give you a good indication of what’s what.
|Size||Diameter in inches||Diameter in millimeters|
|Size in lignes||Diameter in inches||Diameter in millimeters|
Although a lot depends on the individual garment, baby and toddler clothes typically use size 16 snaps. As well as having shorter prongs to a size 20 (which makes them more appropriate for the thinner material you’ll find on baby clothes), they also have smaller studs and sockets: as this results in a less firm grip than you’ll find on larger sizes, it makes them better suited to delicate fabrics that are liable to tear with repeated snapping and unsnapping.
No matter how securely a snap is fastened, removing them is a relatively simple task. Although you don’t need to worry about purchasing any specialized equipment, you will need either a flat-head screwdriver or a drill, depending on the type of snap you’re removing.
Step 1. Lay the snap you want to remove over a flat surface.
Step 2. To loosen the snap, insert the edge of a flat-head screwdriver between the snap and the fabric, and wiggle it gently around the underside of the socket.
Step 3. Once done, turn the fabric over and repeat the process between the stud or prong ring and the fabric.
Step 4. Continue to wiggle the tip of the screwdriver around the underside of the stud until it separates from the socket.
Step 5. Repeat the above process to remove the snap post and cap.
The number of vendors supplying snaps is huge- whether you prefer doing your shopping online or at a bricks and mortar store, you’ll have no trouble snapping up some snaps.
Unfortunately, not all are snaps are created equal.
To avoid any risk, you may want to hedge your bets and stick to the quality assured offerings available from big-name brands such as KAM or Snap Source. If you’d rather try a smaller supplier, it’s best to source from ones that offer a nickel-free, CPSIA and REACH complaint guarantee. Otherwise, you may end up with something that’s not only useless, but potentially dangerous.
Even though snaps are generally far easier to manage than buttons, a baby with more wiggle than Marilyn Monroe can still make the task of snapping those snaps a painful one. Parent’s who’ve been longing for the day someone invents something to take the hassle out of dressing their kids can relax- that day may finally have come.
Magnets are set to be the next big thing in babyland, providing an unquestionably quick and easy way to fasten clothes. Magnetic snaps work exactly how you think they do- align two sides of fabric set with magnets, and the pulling power of the magnets will fasten the fabric together with no fuss whatsoever.
Before you start rejoicing too heartily, it’s worth considering some of the potential pitfalls of the new product. As we know, magnets can be dangerous for kids to play with (if two are swallowed, they can stick together in the intestinal tract, resulting in perforations, infections, blockages, poisoning, or, in the worst-case scenario, even death).
If we don’t allow our kids to play with magnets, should we really be fixing them to their clothes?
Most manufactures of magnet snaps have downplayed the concern, assuring parents their closure systems are too big to be swallowed and that their seams have passed all the strength tests required to guarantee safety. Nice though that is to know, it may still be a little early in the game to say whether these assurances play out in reality, or whether we should continue with our tried and tested plastic or metal snaps for now.
It’s easy to think metal snaps will automatically be stronger than plastic snaps, but in terms of durability, metal and plastic are pretty evenly matched.
Available in a vast array of colors and styles, plastic snaps have a fun, cute quality that makes them ideal for baby garments.
Metal snaps for baby clothes are the traditional (although not necessarily superior) choice, as their classic aesthetic pairs well with most outfits.
Although very strong and durable, metal can rust with repetitive washing. To avoid any issues with corrosion, you may find it better to use metal snaps on the kind of outwear that doesn’t require the same constant cleaning as undergarments.
Bear in mind that metal tends to heat up faster (and retain heat for longer) than plastic: after removing garments from the tumble drier, wait a few minutes for them to cool before using.
Both metal and plastic snaps are equally strong and durable, functioning and lasting to an equal degree. While deciding between metal or plastic snaps is primarily a personal preference, there are a few things to consider when making your choice.
Metal snaps tend to have a more classic aesthetic, and will suit almost any style, color and type of garment they’re partnered with. They also have an unsurpassable hold: even on areas that see constant use, they hold steadfast.
Plastic snaps may not be as sophisticated as metal snaps, but what they lack in elegance they more than makeup for in their huge array of fun colors and cute shapes.
Plastic snaps also have the distinct advantage of being lightweight, allergen-free, and rust-resistant… not to mention slightly more affordable when compared with their metal equivalents.
For closures at the crotch of Babygro’s/onesies and on pajamas, snap tape makes a great choice. Areas that are opened and closed a lot can sometimes put too much strain on individual snaps, causing them to occasionally rip through fabric. Snap tape avoids the problem completely.
Essentially, snap tape is a type of fabric tape that comes affixed with snaps. A strip of the tape with the socket side is affixed to one side of a fabric’s under layer, while the strip containing the ball sides is affixed to the outer layer.
Quick and easy to use, snap tape is a great option to use on any area of clothing that sees repetitive use.
Snaps are widely available, but as with all things, it pays to look around before committing to a purchase.
Major manufacturers such as KAM sell directly from their website, which at least gives you assurance of quality standards (even if the price is higher as a result).
Another great source to try is Etsy, which has dozens of vendors selling incredibly cute (and often one of a kind) snaps for very competitive prices.
Hopefully, you now know a whole lot more about snaps, their functions, advantages, and types than you did before you started reading. If you feel the information could be useful to others, please feel free to share the post.