If you love to sew and make your own clothing, chances are good that you appreciate unique tips that can make your job a lot easier. If you’re curious about alternatives to the usual zipper enclosures for dresses or even other articles of clothing, you’re in luck because thanks to today’s modern sewing machines and techniques, you have a lot of alternatives to choose from.
- Hooks and eyes
- Snap fasteners
Why Not a Zipper?
There is certainly nothing wrong with choosing zippers or buttons for dresses, but if you’re tired of using the same closures for your dresses year after year, the good news is you have a lot more choices than you think. In fact, a good zipper alternative is easy to find and even easier to install. If you think buttons and zippers are the only way to close your garments, think again because this is far from the truth.
First of all, if you’re curious about what to use when you’ve decided not to use zippers for your dress, here is a basic list of options for you:
- Hooks and eyes
- Snap fasteners
Of course, there are other types of fasteners and closures besides these, but these are some of the most common ones that seamstresses use. For instance, if you choose to use toggles, you’ll get a long, skinny button-like item that has a hole to put the thread through, and whether the edges are rounded or not, they are sewn on through a loop instead of an actual button hole. Some seamstresses even cover their toggles with fabric before sewing them onto the garment, which lends a little extra ambiance to the finished product.
Other Available Closures
Stud buttons, also called denim buttons, can be attached without a needle and thread, so if you’re interested in a no-sew method to close your dress, this is definitely a product to consider. Similar to these buttons, snap buttons are pushed through the fabric and attached on the opposite side by a closing piece. Snap buttons are often used for jeans and other heavy fabrics, and never thin or lightweight fabric because the fabric might become misshapen.
Snap fasteners and poppers are another zipper alternative to consider for your dresses, and they started out as a special design for fringed shirts and other clothing used on the stage. The snaps have rivets and when you close them together, they make a popping sound, which is how they got their name. Originally, you had to sew these items on but, nowadays, there are even special tools that allow you to secure them together perfectly.
Hooks and eyes have been used on other articles of clothing for decades, but some people use them on dresses as well. First appearing on the scene in the 14th century, hooks and eyes are usually used above an invisible zipper and not as the only way to close the dress. Because they do not close the dress fully, they are usually only used as an extra security measure along with another type of closure, but they work very well in this capacity.
Buckles can also sometimes be used as a zipper alternative, but usually as part of a belt that closes the dress in the front. These are usually made out of plastic or metal, and they can be used in bags, coats, and numerous other fashion items as well. In fact, today’s buckles can be made out of almost anything, including pearl, wood, and even glass, and they are both functional and attractive. They are often used in addition to other types of fasteners that may do a better job of closing the item, but which look great with the buckle you’ve chosen.
Velcro Strips and More
Velcro has been around since 1951, and you simply stitch two strips of them together and attach them to one another. Considering there are no buckles or hardware, Velcro strips stay together extremely well, creating a near-permanent closure for dresses, blouses, and many other items. Indeed, Velcro is nothing short of amazing and can be found on kids’ shoes and even in wetsuits and clothing for the theater to make costume changes a lot quicker.
Video: How to Sew on a Frog Closure
Frog fasteners are made out of braided loops and are often used as decoration only. They look like fabric tubes and have a “frog” part that is considered the button and which goes through a loop to close. They are often paired with mandarin collars.
Grommets can also be used to close different articles of clothing. Often called eyes, grommets are metal or plastic rings that you use to reinforce holes in the fabric, then ribbon or lace is usually placed through the two holes to tie the item together. You do need a specialized tool to install the grommets, but these are easily found online at stores such as eBay or Amazon.
Brooches are usually decorative items, but like hooks and eyes, they can be used as an extra way to secure an article of clothing. The best part about brooches is that they can be quite decorative and fancy, so in addition to fastening a dress or purse, they can also be placed on the clothing simply because they look good.
Clothing magnets are also gaining in popularity, and they are both simple to attach and very effective. The magnets come in small fabric pouches that are sewn onto the garment, and best of all, you never see the actual magnet because it is hidden by the fabric. In fact, it doesn’t even look like a closing device but instead, all you see is an attractive addition to your dress or other clothing item. Clothing magnets work great and look great, especially since you can decorate them in hundreds of ways.
Finally, if you want something truly different for your article of clothing, you can try another zipper alternative, such as laces and fabric ties of different colors and sizes. More often than not, these items are used to lace something together with grommets or even sewn into the edge of an opening then tied together. If zippers, buttons, and hardware aren’t your thing, these laces and ties could be all you need to make sure your dress or coat stays together the way it should.
Not all of these ideas are good to use alone on your dresses, but many of them can be used in addition to other closing devices. Some of these are more for decoration than anything else, but all of them help your dress or purse stay closed while you’re wearing it or carrying it around. Best of all, you can get very creative when choosing the fabric or any other device that you’ve chosen as a closing item, thanks to the fabric designs available today.
As you can see, you no longer have to use zippers or even buttons for your dresses, skirts, and jackets to stay closed, and any sewing store can provide you with additional ideas to make your clothing unique and useful. You can also browse online for additional ideas, because websites such as Pinterest and others have amazing suggestions and full-color photographs that can help you come up with some new ideas of your own.