Dear Daisy,

I am relatively new to costuming and am wondering if you can give me any advice regarding fasteners.  What kinds work best and what to avoid, that sort of thing.

–          Sewing for self

Dear Sewing for self,

In dance costuming there are several kinds of fasteners available.  Let’s look at some of your options.

1. Hook and Eyes:

Arguably one of the most useful fasteners in the dance costume world they come in all shapes and sizes from teeny tiny to the large skirt hook and corset hook varieties.   I use these for closures on anything that is not stretchy and even some things that are stretchy.  I personally like the really large flat skirt hooks for fastening skirts, bra’s and belts and use the large open corset hooks for anything where there are too many beads and embellishments to make a flat hook practical.

2. Snaps:

I have to say that snaps are not that useful on their own.  They do not guarantee a secure hold and although they offer quick release I feel that is a dangerous trade-off for security.  The main reason I use snaps is as a secondary fastener.  I like to use them behind my hook and eyes to keep garments from shifting.  In this position they do not take load so they are safe to use and they make sure that the fabric can’t move thereby preventing the hook and eyes from coming open.  My other favourite place to use snaps is to fasten the layers of a costume together so everything stays in place.  Snaps are available in a large number of sizes, but for costuming purposes I prefer to use the 13mm, and 15mm sizes as they are large enough to offer a good solid hold.

3. Buttons:

I do not use buttons often however they can come in handy for converting bra’s to ex-backs or for bustling up skirts that you want to be able to wear both up and down.  I also use them as embellishments on fusion and tribal costuming as they come in some super funky designs.

4. Zippers:

These are great on costumes that are not stretchy or do not have enough stretch to make sliding in and out of them practical.  This often happens on costumes where the beadwork is heavy enough to interfere with the stretch or on fitted skirts made of satin or silk

5. Velcro:

Please don’t use Velcro on your costumes.  Anything made of chiffon, spandex, lycra or silk will catch and shred itself on the hook side of the Velcro.  Even if the costume you use it on doesn’t have any of these fabrics one day you will pack the costume in with your veil and get to a show with a major mess.

6. Laces:

Lace up costumes can be very pretty and effective.  Grommets and the smaller one sided version Eyelets make nice solid holes for lace up costumes.  Just remember to factor in change time as it is often a lengthy process to get in and out of a lace up costume.

I hope this helps answer some of your questions on what options are available.  So, happy sewing and I can’t wait to see lots of new costumes on stage soon.

– Daisy

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