Continuing with the series on bag making hardware (part 1 on straps and handles is available here), this week we’re looking at the range of items available which can hold your bag closed.

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In the photo above we have the following:

A. Pronged Magnetic Snaps – these are fairly strong magnets which are used on both pockets and at the tops of bags. As can be seen in the photo they come in quite a variety of shapes, sizes and thicknesses. In all cases a hole is cut into the bag piece to insert the snap and the prongs folded to hold the snap in place, usually with an extra layer or two of interfacing to prevent the snap from being pulled through the fabric when attempting to open it.
B. Button Pronged Magnetic Snaps – these flower snaps work in a similar way to the other pronged magnetic snaps, with the exception that the flower outer actually involves cutting a hole through the bag piece for the flower part to crew into while the button centre fastens into it magnetically.
C. Visible Sew In Magnetic Snaps – for those with a fear of cutting into their bags to insert a pronged snap, there are sew in snaps. These have to be sewn very firmly in place so that the magnet doesn’t pull it away from the bag.
D. Invisible Sew In Magnetic Snaps – these snaps are used when you don’t actually want there to be a visible closure on your bag. The magnetic goes underneath the fabric at the point that you would like to attach, and then the plastic surround is stitched into place. If you are using thick interlinings you will need to trim that away from the area where the magnet will be to ensure that it can still attract the other side of the magnet.
E. Half Moon Magnetic Snap – this is a combination of a decorative and functional closure where the half moon shape is held in place along the edge of a flap to join to a magnetic snap half on the bag.

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In the photo above we have the following:

F. Twist Locks – these come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but work in the same way with a hole being cut into the bag, which is surrounded by a frame into which the lock part is inserted and twisted to hold it in place. The locks can be attached with prongs or screws depending on manufacturer.

G. Thumb Catches – again there is a good variety of shapes and sizes, but the premise is that the thumb-released locking part of the catch is attached to the edge of a bag piece. Some are shaped in such a way as to suggest how the bag piece they are attached to are shaped, such as the triangular one which would work well on a pointed flap. The locks can be attached with prongs or screws depending on manufacturer.

H. Tongue Locks – these are similar to twist locks in that the tongue part is inserted through a framed hole in the bag, however it is then folded down to hold it in place. The locks can be attached with prongs or screws depending on manufacturer.

I. Box Locks – although, as the name suggests, these are based on closures for boxes, they can also be used in bags and tend to feature on leather bags. The locks often come with screws to attach them, as you would to a wooden box, but these can be replaces by rivets.

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In the photo above we have the following:

J. Centre Bar & Side Bar Buckles – these come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials, but their function is the same, with the buckles being attached to a strap (long or short) on one side of the bag, while another strap with holes punched (sometimes reinforced with eyelets) is attached to the other side and then threaded through to fasten.
K. Slide & Snap Buckles – these chunky plastic buckles are not the prettiest options out there, even if they do come in a variety of colours these days, but they are useful in that they can be added to nylon/polyester straps that can be adjusted on either side of the buckle. This feature makes them particularly useful for rucksacks and places that you might want to expand or contract the space being used.
L. Leather Backed Buckles – these are premade leather shapes with a buckle on one side and a strap on the other. They are attached in the same way as premade leather handles and are usually sewn in using prepunched holes at the ends of the handle and heavy duty thread. The best thread for this, to ensure the leather doesn’t adversely react, is polyester, waxed linen or waxed nylon thread (cotton will rot over time).
M. Leather Backed Buckles With Magnetic Snaps – these are an interesting meeting of two closures, the look of a buckle with the actual closure of a magnetic snap. They are usually attached in the same way as a leather backed buckle.

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In the photo above we have the following:

N. Close Ended Zips – these zips have a stopper at one end, either in metal or plastic, which stops the zip opening completely. The other end is completely open, but that can be tacked closed prior to sewing, or you can add a zip end stopper of your own. They are useful in pouches and inset zipped pockets where you don’t need the zip to open fully. They come with both metal and nylon teeth depending on the look you want.
O. Open Ended Zips – these zips operate in the same way as a zip on a jacket would, and can open completely. These can be useful in the tops of bags to allow for a wider opening. They come with both metal and nylon teeth depending on the look you want.
P. Close Ended Double Zips – these zips are closed at both ends, and 2 zip pulls run along the length of the zipper. They are useful if you want to get into a particular part of a bag, such as for a rucksack or large holdall. They come with both metal and nylon teeth depending on the look you want, however for longer zips you also find moulded plastic teeth as an option.
Q. Lacy Edged Zips – these zips are good for decorative purposes, and are usually close ended. As they are generally applied on top of the opening rather than sewing the tape into the seam allowance, you need to think about how you will finish off the ends so that they look neat.
R. Continuous Zips – these are actually made up of a length of zipper tape plus zip pulls and zip ends. You cut the tape to the length that you require for your project, then add the zip pulls and zip ends as necessary.
S. Zip Pulls – these work with continuous zips, but you could also use them to add to a premade zip to create a double zip.
T. Zip Ends – these work with continuous zips, but you could also use them to add to a premade zip to make both end closed.
U. Covered Zip Ends – these are used to tidy the ends of zipper tape away when the end will not be sewn into a seam allowance, such as on a zip bridge at the top of a handbag.

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In the photo above we have the following:

V. Buttons – these can be used either as a closure themselves, or as a decorative feature
W. Cover Buttons – these can be covered with fabric to make them co-ordinate exactly with your project.

X. Anorak Snaps – these snaps are used in a similar way to magnetic snaps, although usually in smaller closures, such as pocket flaps.
Y. Camping Snaps – these are similar to the anorak nap, except that the pieces that lock together are larger.  Because of this they are quite strong, so as well as being used for flap closures, they can also be used to hold something in place out of the way, for example on a boxed bottomed pouch where you can fold the top corners down to create a smaller, more rectangular pouch.
Z. Kam Snaps – these plastic snaps are used for small closures such as pocket flaps. They are not particularly strong with heavy duty materials, and work best with lighter weight fabrics.

AA. Elastic – this is mostly used in elasticated pockets, and when empty should hold the pocket close against the side of the bag. It can also be used around the edge of rain covers to hold them snugly to the bag.
AB. Velcro/Hook & Loop Fastening – this can be used to hold flaps closed, and also to hold dividers in place in things like camera bags or handbag inserts.