What Actually is A Clothing Fastener?

Clothing Fastener

What actually is a “clothing fastener”?

Simply put, it’s a device used to hold two pieces of fabric together. In practice, we use a clothing fastener like a button or zipper so we can easily take off and put on the garment.

Besides its functional purpose, however, the fastener can play a significant part in dictating the garment’s style or aesthetics. For example, a leather jacket featuring a zipper will be significantly different—style-wise—when compared to a similarly designed leather jacket utilizing buttons.

Below are several common types of clothing fasteners and how you can be creative with them.

Zippers

Often called zip fastener or slide fastener, a zipper involves two flexible strips of fabric that are glued to a row plastic or metal “teeth” (also called elements) and joined together with a slider. Zippers are the usual fastener choice for jackets, dresses, skirts, and pants. Zippers can come in various different materials offering different levels of strength and flexibility. “Stronger” zippers, for example, are commonly used for denim, while thinner, zippers might be used for dresses. There are also various sub-types like the invisible zipper—where the elements are hidden behind the fabric or nylon strips—, commonly used for skirts.

Lacing

A fastener system that involves a long ribbon or cord. Quite similar to a zipper, the system utilizes two pieces of fabrics with many holes lining the edges, and the long ribbon is intertwined in a zig-zag pattern into these holes to cinch the two fabrics together. Back in the Victorian Era (17th century) until the early 20th century, this fastening system is very common in female clothing, especially in Western societies. Nowadays, lacing is mostly used in shoes and boots. Modern corsets, for example, no longer utilized lacing as the fastening system but replaced with hooks and eyes system or grommets—metal rings that are pressed flat— to create an easier to use lacing system.

Buttons

Arguably the most common clothing fastener today, and commonly used in coats, shirts, and pants. A button is a small, round thing made of mainly plastic (but also metal and other materials) that is sewn to a piece of fabric. The other side of the fabric has small holes to allow the button to be inserted into it, fastening the two fabrics in place. A button typically has two to four small holes to allow us to sew them, permanently securing the button on one piece of the fabric.

Hooks and Eyes

Involving two different parts: the “hook” and the “eyes” that are interlocked together. The hook part involves a curved shape, in which the ends are connected to two small circles. The eyes part involves a flat, U-shaped metal loop at each end. Each of these parts is sewn onto the different pieces of the fabric, and to fasten the garment, we can simply insert the hook into the loop.

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