Are you looking for alternatives to buttons and buttonholes? Even after many, many years of sewing, I still hate sewing buttons. Well, actually, it is not the buttons but the dreaded buttonholes. How many times have I made a beautiful dress or top only to ruin it at the last minute with a messy buttonhole? Too many!
Alternatives to Buttons & Buttonholes
Here are a few easy alternatives to buttons and buttonholes great for beginners and experienced sewers alike.
Sewing Velcro is often my first preference when I am looking for alternatives to buttons. The term Velcro is a brand name and the generic name you will usually come across is hook and eye tape.
If you are adding velcro to clothing, it is best to use ¼ inch (6mm) to ½ inch (12mm) widths. If you can't find the width you would like, cut down the sides to make your desired sizes. I like to cut down the middle of ½” (12mm) Velcro to make it thinner. This makes it look a little prettier.
Here are some pros and cons to using velcro as alternatives to buttons.
- Pros – Easy for younger children to do up themselves and it is fairly cheap
- Cons – Sometimes you get skipped or messy stitches when sewing it on. Use a strong polyester thread in a matching color to your Velcro. Smaller stitch lengths are also recommended.
- Further Reading: How to Sew Velcro
2. Kam Snaps
I only started using these recently but I LOVE them! Kam Snaps is a brand of plastic snaps designed for home use. They can be purchased in a kit of assorted colors and come with a simple hand-setting tool. I found my set on eBay but also check Amazon or your local Haberdashery store.
The snaps come with different length posts so make sure you get the correct size for the thickness of the fabric you are using.
Here are some pros and cons to using Kam Snaps as alternatives to buttons.
- Pros – Kam snaps are cheap, easy to install and come in lots of beautiful and fun colors.
- Cons – I can't think of any! Just take your time setting them correctly so the pins don't bend.
- Further Reading: KAM Snaps Tutorial
Read More about Fasteners
3. Sew on Press Studs (Snaps)
These have been around forever! Sew on snaps are traditionally metal round disks with holes around the outside for sewing. Depending on where you live they might be called press studs or snaps.
Make sure you are using a matching thread to your fabric and try to sew them through the lining layer only so there are no stitches visible on the outside.
Here are some pros and cons to using sew-on press studs as alternatives to buttons.
- Pros – really cheap, easy to attach
- Cons – harder for younger children to do up themselves.
- Further Reading: How to Sew Press Studs (includes a video)
4. Snap tape
This is a tape made from twill with the snaps already attached.
Pull your tape apart and sew one piece on each side of the opening. It is important to make sure your bobbin thread matches the color of the dress.
Here are some pros and cons to using snap tape as alternatives to buttons.
- Pros – Super easy to sew on and there is no extra work in attaching the snaps
- Cons – Snap tape can be expensive and you will see the stitching on the outside.
5. Hook and Eyes
Hook and eye sewing is often found on vintage clothing at the top of zippers. However larger sized hooks can be used as alternatives to buttons.
Here are some pros and cons to using hook and eyes as alternatives to buttons.
- Pros – Really cheap and easy to attach
- Cons – Bit more fiddly to sew than other methods and not good for children's clothing and little fingers.
- Further Reading: How to sew hook and eye fasteners (includes a video)
Do you have anything else that you use as alternatives to buttons or buttonholes? Please share in the comments below.
- 4 Alternatives to Buttons
- How to Sew a Button
- How to Sew Velcro
- Kam Snaps Tutorial
- How to Sew a Zipper
- Hook and Eye
- Setting Snaps
- Setting Eyelets
There are directions on YouTube for making "frog closures" (you see them on Asian jackets) in various sizes. Some knots look complicated, but some are easier. You can even make your own cord for a perfect color match.
You can also buy them ready-made in stores or on Amazon.