You may want to avoid buttons and button holes for a variety of reasons:
- the person you are making the garment for is disabled, young or old
- the person may not be able to handle doing up a small button
- the buttons maybe in a hard to reach place,
- the thought of making buttonholes is terrifying
- you want to make a feature or different look for your project.
If you are designing a project for someone who has difficulty with buttons, you can often adapt the pattern so that you can use other (easier ) methods of fasteners.
You need to think about the project and whether a different fastening is appropriate for the style and whether it will be strong enough for the strain that could be exerted on it. There are a number of alternatives, that can offer struggle free clothing as well as stylish and fashionable.
This post will just go through some ideas to get you thinking about what you could do to adjust your pattern. I’ll go through the detailed methods of making and applying the different fastenings in other posts.
Press studs, snap fasteners or poppers are a pair of interlocking discs (they do come in a variety of shapes). They are attached to the opposite parts of a garment to be closed and “snapped” together to fasten. They can be sewn on or punched into the fabric.
These are good for casual clothes and I used them a lot on children’s clothing. (Use the heavier duty ones on the kids clothes as they are less like to be pulled off). You can always make an overlap on top of the press stud and sew a button on the right side of the overlap – this gives the decorative effect of buttons. You can also get self covered press studs. You cover the button exterior press stud in you choice of fabric (why not coordinate or contrast your garment fabric) before the stud is applied to the garment.
Hooks and Eyes (or Bars)
A hook and eye fastener consists of a blunt hook that passes through an eyelet hole, loop or bar. Each is sewn on the opposite part of the garment pieces to be joined. They are used to close a garment and provide strength. A hook and bar will withstand more strain than a press stud. You could use them in groups. They also come in a variety of different sizes.
Heavy duty hooks and bars are often used for a waistband fastening on skirts and trousers.
On delicate garments you could use a small hook and a thread loop.
This can be used instead of buttons down the front of a garment, on cuffs or waistbands.
For children’s clothing, its great to use for jackets and on fly fronts.
Similar to press studs. Magnets are great for jackets or in places that don’t have a lot of force to resist
These are a practical and attractive alternate to buttons on casual coats and jackets. They are usually fastened with loops of rouleau or cord and can be used singly or in pairs.
An elegant alternative to buttons on a suit jacket or coat, or on a dress. If you are substituting a frog fastening you will definitely have to alter the pattern.
button loops are often used at the neckline and cuffs of a blouse or dress. The loops could be thread loops for small buttons or fabric rouleau loops for larger buttons. I’ve also used elastic cord as loop on kids clothing.
Eyelets and decorative cord/ Lacing
Lacing is a fastening method for garments that use a lace or cord pulled through either eyelets or hooks to pull the edges of the garment together. Usually used on slit necklines or corsets. Again the opening would probably have to be altered and a facing applied to the area that the eyelets would be inserted.
O or D Rings
D rings are usually made from metal and shaped like a capital D with a straight side and a curved side. O rings are shaped in a circle. D-rings can be used as a non-functional accessory on clothing pr belt or as a functional piece on something that needs to be tied, tensioned or secured in place. Functional D rings need to be sewn in a particular way to maintain their holding power.
A fish buckle is very similar to a D ring but the shape of the ring is shaped a bit lie the outline of a fish. They are sold in pairs, forming a buckle when they interloop each other.
A drawstring is a cord, ribbon or tie that is drawn through a channel on a garment , pulled and then tied to close the garment, to secure loose fabric or to hold the garment in place. Drawstrings can be used around the bound edges of necklines, wrists or waists. You could also use them for decorative effect to around the bottom of skirts on on the sides on skirts, trousers, or tops.
In 1851 Elias Howe patented the “automatic continuous clothing closure”, a forerunner of the modern zipper. It wasn’t until 1931 Gideon Sundback at the Universal Fastener Company developed the modern zipper and patented it in 1917. At first they were made out of brass and used on boots for the US Army. It was because of the buzzing noise and their speed of closure that they were called zippers.
Ties and Rouleau
A rouleau is a strip of bias fabric stitched to form a narrow tube. Rouleau can be used for straps, ties and button loops. A cord can be used within the fabric tube to make the rouleau stiffer. Ties are similar to rouleau except they are pressed flat. Ties can be made form matching or contrasting fabrics, ribbon, braid or tape.