Kinds of Fasteners

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Zippers were not used in clothing until the 1930s.

Some fasteners hold two pieces of fabric together; they are used in garment sewing to help the wearer put on and take off the clothing. While certain types of fasteners are often used for specific items of clothing, as the fastener used in jeans is typically a zipper, you can choose different types of fasteners for more creative sewing possibilities.



Zippers, also known as slide fasteners, are made of two strips of fabric, each joined by a row of metal or plastic teeth and connected by a slider. Zippers are often used as fasteners for pants, jackets, dresses and skirts. Strong, heavy zippers are used for jeans while light zippers are used in summer dresses. Zippers' teeth are typically plainly visible unless hidden, as in the case of zipper flaps for jeans or invisible zippers. Invisible zippers hide the teeth behind the fabric strips and are usually used in skirts and dresses; however, the slider is often still visible.


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Buttons are fasteners that typically consist of a small, round object sewn to one piece of fabric while the second piece of fabric has a small hole to allow the first object to be inserted into it and temporarily secured in place. Buttons are often made of plastic but can also be of materials like wood and metal. They typically have two or four small holes in the middle to help permanently secure the button to one of the pieces of the fabric. Buttons are usually used in shirts, coats and pants.


Hooks and Eyes

Hooks and eyes are metal fasteners that consist of two parts, that are sewn to two pieces of fabric and can be temporarily locked together to fasten the garment. The first part is the "hook," which has a protruding loop shape, the ends of which are connected to two tiny circles. These circles are sewn onto the garment's first piece of fabric. The second part is the "eye," which has a flat protruding hook and two circles, the latter of which are sewn onto the garment's second piece of fabric. To fasten the garment, the hook is inserted into the loop.



Lacing is a fastener option that consists of a long, thin cord or ribbon that is crisscrossed into the holes lining the edges of two pieces of fabric and then cinched and tied closed. Lacing was once extensively used as a fastener in Western ladies' clothing, such as corsets and long dresses, from the 17th century to the beginning of the 20th century. Since then, lacing has almost exclusively been used as a fastener for shoes; however, some people do use lacing in historical reproduction or retro-style corsets and dresses. When corsets were in use, the edges of the holes used to be sewn so that the fabric would not unravel, but for 21st century reproductions, people often use grommets, which are small metal rings that are pressed flat and serve to reinforce the fabric holes for lacing.



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