Tutorial: How to Use a Snap Press & an Aida Blouse

Katie from Sew Altered Style shows how she installed pearl snaps on her Sew Liberated Aida Blouse in this tutorial on how to use a snap press.

If you’re anything like me, sometimes you just don’t feel like sewing a whole bunch of buttonholes on a new project.  Maybe you’re a new sewist intimidated by buttonholes.  Or maybe (like me), you just can’t be bothered.  Snap press to the rescue!

    Top: Sew Liberated Aida Top in Dusty Pink Tencel from D&H Fabrics Shorts: True Bias Lander Shorts in brown chambray from Cali Fabrics (also here and here)

    When I sat down to make this Aida Top by Sew Liberated, I just wasn’t in the mood to sew the buttonholes.  Luckily, I acquired a snap press last year, which happens to be one of my best sewing acquisitions EVER.  It makes setting in snaps, jeans buttons, rivets, etc, an absolute breeze.

    For a long time, I didn’t see the attraction of a snap press.  After all, I had other methods to attach all of these things.  I had a set of pliers for setting snaps, and a hammer works just fine to put on a jeans button.  And rivets…well, I don’t really use those anyway.

      Top: Sew Liberated Aida Top in Dusty Pink Tencel from D&H Fabrics Shorts: True Bias Lander Shorts in brown chambray from Cali Fabrics (also here and here)

      But eventually, after I cracked enough pearl snaps and bent enough metal pieces out of shape with my pliers, and destroyed enough jeans zippers with my hammer (let’s not even talk about rivets) I decided to see what all the hype was about.  I shopped around and decided to go with the press from Gold Star Tools.  In addition to the 11mm pearl snap die set, I also bought the jeans button and jeans rivet die sets.  With all of that, the investment was not insignificant — it had better be worth it!

        Top: Sew Liberated Aida Top in Dusty Pink Tencel from D&H Fabrics

        And now that I have a snap press, I will never go back!

        I also want to take a moment to chat about the fabric I used for this blouse.  This is the Dusty Pink tencel twill from the new fabric shop, D&H Fabrics.  D&H stocks a curated selection of ethical sustainable fabrics, and let me tell you — this tencel is to die for!

          Top: Sew Liberated Aida Top in Dusty Pink Tencel from D&H Fabrics Shorts: True Bias Lander Shorts in brown chambray from Cali Fabrics (also here and here)

          It is lusciously soft and drapes beautifully.  But it’s also nice and thick — there will be no seeing through this fabric!  Tencel can wrinkle something fierce, but this one really isn’t too bad.  Admittedly, I do have some wrinkles showing in my photos, but here’s the bit you didn’t know — I took these photos at 1pm after I’d been wearing the top at work all morning.  Not too shabby, huh?

          But let’s talk snaps, shall we?

          Top 3 Reasons to Buy a Snap Press

          I know you didn’t ask, but I’ll tell you anyway 🙂  If you’ve been on the fence about a snap press, here are my top 3 reasons to buy one:

          Reason 1: They’re fast & easy

          You’ll see in my video below that my snap press sets snaps in nothing flat.  That thing is fast.  The die sets grip on to the pieces, so getting the pieces where you need them and getting the project lined up with the snap is so much faster and than doing it with pliers or a hammer

          Reason 2: They’re secure

          I installed a lot of snaps with pliers and hammered on a lot of jeans buttons in my day, and every time I did, I felt like it was a crap shoot as to whether those snaps or buttons were going to pop off.  That’s not a worry when I set them with a snap press.  I was sold on my snap press the instant I installed my first jeans button, and saw how secure that thing was.

          Reason 3: They won’t destroy your hardware

          Have you ever set pearl snaps with pliers just to have the force of the pliers crack your snap or warp the metal pieces?  Have you ever destroyed a jeans button by hammering too hard?  No? Trust me, just give it time 🙂  Pliers and hammers destroyed a lot of my hardware, but my snap press is designed to preserve my hardware while making sure it’s securely attached.

          How to Set Pearl Snaps with a Snap Press


            Now that I’ve convinced you, I’m going to show you how easy it is to set snaps with a snap press.

            First, obviously there are a few things you’ll need for this:


            Heavy Duty Snap Press (I got mine from Gold Star Tool, but Amazon carries a similar one here)

            The appropriate die set — I used the die set for 11mm pearl snaps.  I also have die sets for jeans buttons and jeans rivets.

            The appropriate size snaps.  Remember that snaps have 4 pieces.

            The Process:

            Step 1: Set your press.  Make sure you have the right die set on the press, and put your snap pieces in the press.

            Step 2: Mark the snap placement on your garment.  Snaps are a pain to take off, so take some time to mark your garment appropriately.

            Step 3: Line up the press with your marking.  Pay attention to which side is the front!!  Ask me how I know this is important…

            Step 4: Push hard on your press handle to secure the snap.  It’s amazing how secure you will get it!

            And if you are a visual learner, I did a little video of the process, just for you!

            Do you love snaps? What’s your favorite installation method?


            ** In case anyone wondered, this post is not sponsored or compensated in any way.  I just really like my snap press!

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