Here is another post in my fastenings and loop closures marathon! Did you read my other posts on how to make frogs, how to make rouleau ties and how to make bias tape? In this post I will be teaching you how to use store-bought toggles in your own projects.
Toggles are used on drawstring and for sports clothing to stop cords going back into their casing and to keep drawstring gathered at the desired adjustment for the wearer. Toggles are usually made from horn, wood or plastic.
Paddington Bear used to have a duffel coat. After reading his story, I always wanted a coat just like his, with a set of lovely horn toggles down the front. I nagged my poor mother for ages and ages. By the time I managed to persuade her I really did need a lovely wool coat (and probably by that time I wouldn’t grow 3 inches all of a sudden) duffel coats had become untrendy. Being a teen, you can never wear something so NOT cool. So I never ended up with my Paddington Bear Duffels Coat. Anyhow, I now know that Paddington is a bear that defies trends and Duffels are totally cool.
I find toggles so much easier to make than frogs. And I love the look on jackets and coats. Toggles make great loop closures. This tutorial will show you how to easily make a toggle closure.
You will need toggle buttons. They are usually wooden or plastic “rods” with two holes in.
You also need some cord, any material or leather as long as it’s thick and sturdy.
Additionally, a bit of leather or material to cover the ends of the cords such as vinyl, faux leather or felt. Just be sure the material is thick/strong enough to do the job ) to cover the ends of the cords. You can leave the ends of the cords bare but I prefer to have them covered. In fact, some designers prefer to simply tie a knot in the cord and let the ends fray. It’s also common to see cords with plastic and metal covers, though this is harder to do at home.
If you are using leather, practice first. Leather doesn’t heal after you puncture it like fabric does; any hole is permanent. Leather also feels different running through your machine than regular fabric. Get a feel for how the leather moves under your machine. Test out how far in from the edge you like the stitching.
Step One: Make the cord end covers.
Cut your leather or material (I’m using a square felt shape so I cut an oblong) into your desired shape. You will need two pieces per cord. The job is to cover the ends of your cording, so you can be creative with this.
I did a little research I found most people use squares, triangles, rounded triangles, and half ovals, but don’t let that hold back your creativity. As long as the shape covers the ends of the cords.
If you are using material you will need to press the seam allowance to the wrong side of the fabric (I didn’t need to do this with the felt).
Step Two: Determine the length of cord.
Cut two pieces of cording about 4 1/2 inch long (one for each side of the closure). You may want to get your finished garment and decide how long you want your cord to be. Remember that the cord will be doubled and each must overlap in the centre of the closure to allow the toggle to be looped through the non-toggled cord.
Mark on your project where the toggle will attach.
Step Three: Thread the toggle.
Loop one end of cording through one hole of the toggle, and back through the other hole.
Step Four: Attach the cords to the cord end covers.
Now you are ready to attach the cording to one of the cover pieces. As this piece will be sewn against the garment, you don’t have to worry too much about the prettiness how you attach the cord ends to it. You can sew the cord on or even use a glue gun – just make sure that the glue doesn’t go to near the edges. The glue gun can be easier than sewing if your cover pieces are leather. If you are using leather covers you will want to switch your needle to a leather needle.
Place the front cover piece over the top of the cord and back cover piece. You now have a few choices on how to attach the front cover piece to the back cover piece. (I just folded over my felt to make a square)
- You can use a small clasp;
- Double sided tape inside the “cover sandwich”;
- A dab of fabric glue inside the cover sandwich; or
- Carefully top stitch the covers together. This is my preferred choice.
Step Five: Non-Toggle side.
Repeat Step Four with the other cord, this time without threading the toggle button.
Step Six: Attach to your garment.
Your toggle is now ready to be sewn to your project!
First place your clasped toggles across the front of your garment to double-check the toggle strap lengths. You want the cords to be fairly tight, especially if they are made from leather or anything that will stretch with wear. This is the time to make any final adjustments.
If your covers are leather, you can use sticky tape or fabric glue stick to stick the cord covers to your garment.
Simply sew around the edges of the cord cover. I generally start at the side of the closure closest to where the loop emerges from. Don’t back tack to secure your stitching, instead leave a long thread tail. Sew straight stitch/top stitch around your cord cover. If you stitched your covers together, sew exactly over your first row of stitches so they are not noticeable. When you get back to where you started sewing, again don’t back-stitch. Cut the threads, leaving a long thread tail again.
Pull the long thread tails to the back/inside of the garment and tie them off to secure the stitching. Then cut the tails off.