Bag & Wallet Closures - Tips, Tricks and Options

8/01/2017 02:52:00 PM

Are you entered in the "On the Road" 2018 Road to California Bag Challenge? If you are, and you want a few tips on some bag and wallet closures, I've got a little roundup post here for you so you can see a few of the many options available to close up and finish off your amazing bag or wallet entry to this contest. If you haven't heard of this challenge, there are more details about how you can enter at the bottom of this post. Also at the bottom of this post, a chance to win 1 of 2 $40.00 Gift Cards to our shop at Updated: Winners drawn Aug 17, 2017: Christie Decker & Patty Brown

Whether you are making a bag for yourself or a smashing entry to the challenge, you will need to decide what kind of closure to have on your finished project. The options to you are many, and you might be deciding to have your project closed with a zipper, or closed with bag hardware. I'm going to give you a few choices to consider.

Zipper Opening:

Although I think bag hardware is "the cat's pyjamas", sometimes a zipper is all you really need to close up your favourite bag. But what if the pattern you are using doesn't come with zipper closure instructions? No problem, I give you a couple of tips.

You can add a zipper to the top edge of the bag in the seam that connects the lining to the exterior, or you can have it recessed down inside the bag. I like the recessed version because it's more of a professional finish. I've got a tutorial for you that will help you add a zipper inside your bag. It will help you make new lining pieces and insert the zipper gusset into them. So my tip here is to plan this BEFORE you start so you don't have to recut your lining pieces. Go here for the tutorial. 

One thing to keep in mind is the size of bag zipper you are using, and whether it's got nylon teeth or metal teeth. The size is actually the width of the coil or teeth. #4.5 or #5 coil zippers are great for bag making because they are a bit larger and more durable that a small dress zipper, which is a #3. Metal teeth are gorgeous, but you can sew over nylon teeth, so that is something to consider as well.

Magnetic Snap Closures:

Whether you are new to bag making or using bag hardware, or whether you are a seasoned pro, sometimes a simple magnetic snap is exactly what you want to close up your bag. They are quick and easy to install, they are affordable, and they really make your fabric the star of the bag. I've got an easy tutorial to share with you and it will get straight to the point and tell you exactly how to install one. But first a few tips:

  • Don't get your iron on your magnet or you will demagnetize it. 
  • Bigger isn't always better, the thicker magnetic snaps are actually not as strong as the slim versions as there is a larger void inside. The slim style has the magnet closer to the surface. 
  • Always cover the back side of your magnetic snap with interfacing or fabric so that the prongs don't wear through your lining. 
  • Hidden or "Sew In" magnetic snaps are also available if you want them hidden.
  • Most importantly, the magnetic snap is attached BEFORE your lining and exterior are assembled. 

You can look at our selection of magnetic snaps HERE, and get the INSTALLATION TUTORIAL HERE. 

Bag Locks:

The term "Bag Lock" really covers a lot of different hardware closure solutions. You can use "Turn Locks" which close by twisting the locking mechanism, or "Flip Locks" that flip down to close. "Bar Locks" are shaped like a bar and click together or sometimes have a flip lock action. Then there is the section that are referred to as "Press Locks, Thumb Catch, or Tongue Lock", and these are all the same kind of lock where the tongue part slides into the catch.

Assorted purse locks from Emmaline Bags

Why do we want any of these? Simply put, they are just gorgeous and add a professional look to your bag. We just need them in our lives. If you would like to add a bag lock, you can peruse my collection HERE, and see the many styles that are available.

More bag clasp tutorials CLICK HERE! 

If you see one you like, you can hop to our Hardware Installation page and find the tutorial needed to install the lock of your choosing. If you click on the listing for each lock, you will get some installation links there too. Whether you are shopping at our website, or at another, here are some helpful tips for hardware installation:

  • Always use glue to attach your bag lock pieces to your fabric. Use a clear drying fast tack glue that works with metal and fabric like E6000 or Beacon 3-in-1. 
  • Always test for fit before glueing! 
  • Try your screws and if they seem a bit loose, use a small smear of glue on the screw or a smudge of "Loctite" or another thread locking liquid. This will ensure your screws don't fall out! Never drop the Loctite in the hole, it will spill onto your fabric, instead smear it on the screw with a toothpick. 
  • Cover the back side of any prongs or washers with interfacing or fabric so that the prongs don't wear through your lining. 
  • Always cut your holes small to start and increase in size as needed. 
  • There should be no thread or fabric over or in the screw holes when attaching. 

The Press Lock Family!
I hope this helps you choose the right bag closure for your entry in the challenge. Remember, you aren't limited to the one option that comes in a pattern that you purchase, or if you are designing your own, there are a large array of possibilities.

Just for reading my post, and learning more about the "On the Road" challenge, I am offering TWO prizes of a $40.00 Gift Card to be used on anything you would like at Comment below telling me what your favourite bag clasp is, or what you would like to try next and I'll draw randomly from the comments on August 15, 2017 to pick 2 winners. Please don't be anonymous or I won't know who you are. Please leave your name on your comment! Updated: Winners drawn Aug 17, 2017: Christie Decker & Patty Brown

Thanks for reading!

Now a few details about the challenge that is sponsored by my friend Annie:

The On the Road Challenge is sponsored by Road to California and Soft and Stable®. The challenge opened June 15, 2017. You can get official rules, regulations, and conditions along with the entry form wonline at Road to California and’s websites or GO HERE.

This blog is part of the "On the Road" Bag Challenge blog hop. To see previous and upcoming posts, we suggest visiting the starting blog to find links. Click here to see the full list.

While there is no limit to the number of entries a person may submit, there is a fee per entry: $10 for an online entry and $15 if the entry is mailed in. All entry packets must be received by October 1, 2017. Winning entries and additional entries selected for display will be notified by December 1, 2017.

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A Note

The contents of this blog, including text, original photos and ideas are the sole property of the author. If you intend to use my text or images, please link back to this blog and give credit to Emmaline Bags & Patterns. A notification email would be greatly appreciated too! Please do not ever republish an entire post, any tutorials, or post photos of my family. Thank you, Janelle

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