What to Use Instead of a Zipper? 20 Fabric Fastening Options

In sewing, you always have lots of options to choose from. If you do not want to use a zipper then you can pick from one of many alternatives and still have the dress look ideal. You are not stuck using a plain old zipper.

What to use instead of a zipper? There are probably hundreds of alternatives you can use. One is Velcro but that closure is limited in application and it does not always look very good and it may not be the most secure closure to use.

To find out about what options you have instead of a zipper just continue to read our article. It is filled with those alternatives that are secure, attractive and easy to use instead of a zipper.

What Can You Use Instead of a Zipper?


A little brainstorming session can help you come up with lots of options. For example, the Amish use hooks and snaps as that religious group feel that another alternative, buttons, are too gaudy and too decorative to be used.

There are different types of snaps you can use as well as a myriad of buttons. Both come in different sizes, shapes, and colors. Eyelets, rivets and similar items also work if they fit the overall pattern and look of the clothing item you are making.

Other options include cuff links, safety pins, brooches, hook and eye, grommets, cords, string, brooches and a lot more. Use a little creativity and some innovation as even Velcro has its uses when you want to keep certain clothing items fastened.

Buckles come in handy as well and can be adjusted for comfort. It will depend on how innovative you get but you do not want to go too far in case your child gets teased at school for being unique and having different fasteners on his or her clothes. (related: how to get fabric out of zipper)

What is a Fastener in Clothing?


To give you the basic straight forward definition, a fastener in clothing is an item that hooks two different sides of a clothing item together and holds it securely in place.

These fasteners come in all shapes and sizes and can also have different applications they are used for. For example, ribbons are a decorative way to seal a gift or make a happy event look a lot better. They also make for attractive fasteners when attached to the right piece of clothing.

Another example would be the magnet. This version seems to be becoming popular as not only are they secure, they do not hinder access when you are in a hurry. Magnets can be hidden by facing and keep the dress, etc., looking nice and clean.

Frogging is an interesting term as one would not normally associate frogs with fasteners. But that is the term used to describe a braided loop that goes over a button. You may see them on mandarin collars the most.

Types of Clothing Closures


A few of these have already been mention but like other aspects in sewing, there are always more that can be listed and used to fasten your clothes. For example, buckles are very good fasteners and they are not always made of metal anymore.

That means you can get a buckle that looks good, blends into the fabric while still being strong and secure. Poppers is another fashion fastener that started in Germany in the middle of the 19th century.

They did not become fashionable in North America till about the 1950s but they have since lost favor in the eyes of many people working in designing fashions for the public.

Stud buttons are just another take on the button fastener. These are usually found in heavier fabrics like denim used for jeans. Then some toggles replaced buttons and zippers for awhile. These use a loop to help them fasten up your fabrics.

Finally, fabric ties and laces are always a good alternative to use when you want to look your best without being afraid of snagging your skin. Zippers can do that when you are not paying attention.

How to Add Buttons to a Dress Instead of a Zipper?


It doesn’t take much work to add buttons to a dress. One of the keys is to make sure the bodice is the right size. Having a dress that is too long at the bodice or too wide will change the dress’s look and make it seem like your child is wearing an old fashioned overcoat.

First, you need to find the center front on the bodice. Next, you have to determine how wide you want the placket that holds the buttons. Once you figure that out, you need to decide how big the buttons are going to be.

One tip small buttons and wide placket do not look good or mix well. Once that is done you need to put half the placket measurement on one side and the other half on the other side of the dress.

You should have a front, back and seam allowance all measured out at this time. Don’t forget to make some allowance for your raw edge. This is done for the skirt part of the dress so the buttons and the placket go all the way down.

This should give you your pattern to follow when you make the dress with buttons. An automatic buttonhole feature on your sewing machine will make the process much easier to do.

Using Velcro Instead of a Zipper


Velcro is a very good substitute for zippers initially. They have great holding power and they are very easy to sew on to your clothing item. They are also washable and easy to keep clean making them very handy to have around.

Also, Velcro is easy to access when you are in a hurry making them very convenient. Even if bits of cloth get stuck in between the Velcro the fastener should open up with ease. Unlike zippers which can get stuck on threads or loose clothing ends and so on.

There is a drawback to using Velcro though. It loses its strength over time and becomes very weak. This drawback makes it hard to close the Velcro strips and there may even be some gaps that you wish were not there.

One thing about zippers is that they do not usually lose their strength and only have a few fixable issues. Whereas when Velcro starts to lose its power, it can’t be regained.

Adaptive Clothing Closures


This style of clothing is designed to help those with injuries, loss of mobility and other health issues to dress easier. They are commonly made with anti-bacterial and anti-stain materials keeping them easy to clean.

There are a variety of closures that work well on this new design of clothing. The fasteners go on the back or the side helping caregivers dress their patients with less hassle.

The types of closures used on these garments are easy to open and close fasteners. They could be magnets, snaps, and even Velcro and easy-touch closures. Some times zippers are used as well.

All the closures and the adaptive clothing do for people is make it a lot easier to get dressed in the morning. When it comes to adaptive footwear easy touch and Velcro are the main fasteners used to keep the shoes on your feet.

Magnetic Clothing Closures


One of the best aspects of magnetic clothing closures is that they blend in quite well and look like a normal dress or casual shirts. No one should know what kind of closure you are using unless you tell them.

If your fingers do not work as well as they once did that is not going to be a problem. Magnets slip into place quickly without placing your fingers in hurtful positions. The dress or shirt should go on fast and you should be ready for the day in no time at all.

Plus, magnets are not that hard to place in the fabric. You can add decorative buttons on the front of the shirt to hide the magnets then cover the other magnets with fabric so that no one will know the difference.

The presence of magnets helps [preserve the dignity of the user.

Metal Clothing Closures


These items come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. You can use a hook and loop system which also has a variety of looks and designs. Or you can go with metal buttons to make sure they last you a long time.

Metal stud buttons and snaps also are durable and are not that hard to attach to your clothing item. Buckles are good as well. They are adjustable and tough making them hard to undo at times. But they are great for certain clothing items like shoes, coats and so on.

You have an endless supply of metal clothing closures as just about any closure can be made in any construction material. Even loops and toggles can be made of metal adding an extra dimension to your fashion style.

Hook And Eye Fasteners for Clothing


This style of closure is used by the Amish and similar religious groups who do not accept the design and colors that come with many buttons. While very plain looking in some cases, they are a very good way to fasten your clothes as it takes a little extra effort to unhook the closures.

You will also find a hook and eye fasteners on women’s underclothes like bras, etc. They are a very secure way to fasten these items and help give a little peace of mind to the user when they go out in public. This closure does not unhook by itself or by accident.

They have to be purposefully unhooked making it a very secure closure to use on a variety of different garments. The nice thing about this clothing closure options is that you can get them in a variety of designs that have an exquisite look.

That makes them perfect for outerwear.

Decorative Fasteners for Clothes


Keeping the sewing style, there are a lot of decorative fasteners you can use for different clothing items. One that works well for upper-class clothing styles is the buttons with little gold chains attached to them.

Buckles are another decorative alternative that helps highlight your fashion outfit and your fashion sense. These buckles come in all shapes and sizes and add a nice decorative touch to plain clothing.

If you want to stand out, you can use a very nice brooch to close a blouse or dress. Brooches are usually designed with a sophisticated look and upgrade any clothing item you use them on.

Of course, the purpose of the shirt, blouse or dress, and so on will dictate what is decorative and what closure is not even though the latter is maybe decorative on a different style of clothing. Country & Western shirts have a different style that changes the application of decorative.

That definition is different from what would be considered decorative on a tuxedo or evening gown.

Temporary Clothing Fasteners


There are such options available. One would be basting as that will hold clothes in place until you get around deciding on which type of closure would look best on the garment.

Velcro would be a good candidate for a temporary closure as it sews on quickly and without much trouble. It can always be replaced when you find just the right closure that fits with the style of the clothing item you want to wear.

What kind of temporary closure you use is going to be up to you. This section takes on many forms so you have a lot to choose from. Part of the decision will be how the temporary option looks and how easy it is to attach and take off when you go to make a change.

A safety pin would be considered a temporary closure and it works well. It may not look that great but it is a very secure alternative when you do not have a permanent one handy.

Final options to be mentioned here are ribbons, lace, string, and similar items. They can look good but do not always fill a permanent role.

How to Use Clothing Fasteners


One way to determine which fastener you will use is thinking about the purpose of the clothing item you are attaching it to. You would not want to put a zipper on an evening gown or a stud button that looks better on jeans.

You also have to consider the type of fabric you are using as some fasteners will not hold that well when applied or sheer or weaker fabrics. For those, you may want to go with a frogger model or a simple snap option.

Finally, your use of closure will depend if it is going to be seen or not. Zippers and buttons on pants are usually hidden whereas a nice evening gown would show off that beautiful brooch your husband gave you.

Unless you want to be Avante guard or something else, you wouldn’t put a zipper on an elegant formal dress where everyone in attendance could see it. A final consideration would be what kind of treatment would the fastener has to endure.

Not all closures are made for all of life’s activities.

Best Closures for Baby Clothes


One of the first types of closures that come to mind when you hear the word baby clothes are snaps. Most clothing items for small children use snaps because they are easy, provide quick access to baby issues, and are very safe to have next to your child’s skin.

Another top candidate for this task would be magnets. They too are easy to use, easy to open and provide quick access. They also fasten up nice and quickly which is a good trait when you are in a hurry.

If secured correctly, they are in no danger of being pulled and swallowed by your child. The magnet also does not pinch or catch your child’s skin as zippers would. Buttons are okay but they tend to be vulnerable to pulling off or losing their thread.

Some Final Words

The flexibility and options that come with sewing make making your clothes a treat. Even with closures, you have a lot of room for security as well as security. Plus, you have different construction materials to match up with your garments.

This many options just for closures makes sewing a lot of fun to do. You are not stuck with plain old zippers. There is a wealth of choices waiting for your creative juices to kick in and match them up with your next sewing project.

That makes those projects a lot easier to do and complete.

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