How To Install Snaps, Part 1: KAM Snaps

Hey y’all it’s Lakeisha from [Sincerely, Shantelle] and today I’m here with Part 1 of installing snaps. For the first part, I will be discussing probably the most common type of snap installation. That is the KAM snap, which is a plastic cap set that is installed with a handheld press, though some do use a table mounted version, particularly those who make lots of cloth diapers.


I will be using the new Baby Gown pattern to demonstrate how to install snaps, but the steps would be the same, regardless of surface application. MAKE SURE TO USE INTERFACING WHERE SNAPS WILL BE PLACED! The fabric gets put under a lot of stress where you pull apart the snaps, which are very secure. The last thing you want to do is rip the snap right out of the garment because it doesn’t have enough reinforcement. It’s the worst. Trust me. After you have your garment prepared, you want to transfer the snap placement from the pattern piece. I typically use chalk on dark fabric or marker on light fabric. In addition, I add pins or clips just in case my chalk gets faded or brushed off while handling.


For each functional snap, you will need 4 pieces: 2 caps, 1 stud, and 1 socket.


Here are the parts of the press that you’ll need to be familiar with.

What I like to do is line up my fabric exactly how I want it to lie when it’s finished, so making sure placket layers are even. I then use the awl to poke a hole through both layers at once. I find that by doing it this way, my snaps end up even on both sides, as I haven’t had luck marking the stud and socket individually in the past. I make sure to wiggle the awl around a bit to create a clear hole. 

From the outside of your top layer of fabric, you will insert the first cap. The prong of it will be visible on the inside.  


You will then place either a stud or socket onto this cap. *I’ll be honest and say I don’t know if there is a proper way to do this, but I have always placed the stud to where it would be the top snap. Whichever one you choose to set, just make sure you’re consistent through your garment.* In this instance, I placed the stud on the top snap. Press it down firmly with your fingers to make sure it’s sitting well on the cap. 


Next, slide the press onto the cap and stud, with the cap resting in the bottom black piece of the snap (cap die). That squishy piece on top (rubber head shank) flattens the prong that’s inside of the cap, which secures the first half of the snap together. Squeeze firmly to install snap. 

Repeat this same process from the underside of your bottom fabric. Your hole should be visible from where you poked the awl through both layers. Insert the second cap from underneath the inner fabric, so the prong will be inside the garment. 


Place the socket onto the other side of the fabric where the prong is poking through. Press firmly with your fingers to ensure the snap is seated properly.


Using the press the same exact way, place the cap inside the bottom black piece (cap die) of the press and the squishy part (rubber head shank) should be on the top where the prong pokes through. Squeeze firmly to install snap.


That’s pretty much it! I like to snap each one as I go along to be certain that my snaps are aligned and to double-check that they work as expected and aren’t defective. Tune in next month for my Part 2 on installing metal ring snaps! Thanks for reading and see y’all soon!

2 comments

I just used some of these for a romper. They look great but they are soooo hard to open I afraid I’m going to tear the fabric. Did I do something wrong?

Cathleen Zaugg September 06, 2019

Many many thanks for doing this!!! 9/10 I break the snaps so I just gave up!! Seeing thisill try again!! Fingers crossed!!

Julie September 06, 2019

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