Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Finished! (Finally!)

My “quick” jumper has taken me 5 days to complete and to be quite honest, it could use a final pressing that it's not going to get in this heat!

The last bits—it seems the last bits are always the hardest— are done.   Now, mind you, the jumper is a pull over dress—sleeveless with a scoop neck. It doesn't need an additional opening to be put on or taken off. The idea for a front opening with snaps was a purely decorative detail.

OK, I had some white enemaled snaps--(found at a clearance sale sometime in the past)--and I thought they would be great—Problem was—they were way to heavy—they need several more layers of fabric to fill in the space between the front cover and working end of the snap. These heavy duty snaps went together like a 2 part rivet.

I had some nice bronze colored metal snaps—not my first choice of color, but... not a bad choice. Trouble was, I only had 5 (of a 6 pack). So it was off to the store to see what we could find--(and failing to find anything, to check out the buttons)

I found some white plastic snaps.. about the right size—and though these too were labeled “heavy weight” they were clearly lighter. In fact almost every snap I found, (7/16th, ½ inch and ¾ inch) were labeled heavy weight—but really they were “OK for twill or duck cloth, OK for denim and OK for heavy outwear”---The smallest sized one (3/8th ) were a bit too small,(and the only ones not labeled heavy duty)-- the biggest, too big.

Eventually I found the perfect snap—the 7/16th size—with mother of pearl heads. Too bad there wasn't a setting tool. I bought them—sans tool.

At home—setting the snaps was a bit of detail work.
First step was lining up the snaps---Unlike buttons that are easy to reposition, snaps need to be done right the first time.

I went with “french tacks” (Long pieces of thread sewn through both layers at once, then you gently pull the layers apart and cut the thread—leaving half of the threads in layer 1, and the other half in layer 2.

The french tacks were then replaced with a dot from a Sharpie—2 steps to get the positions of the snap pieces lined up perfectly.

Then it was time to hammer home the hardware. First a padded surface—I didn't want to crack or break the mother of pearl. The mother of pearl head had 5 sharp prongs—these got pushed through the fabric (I used the recommended trick of a pencil with an eraser—but I still ended up piercing my thumb (once, but once is one time too many!))

Then the second half of the snap (the working half) is balanced on the prongs, and topped with a spool—I have several old wooden spools—and the 2 pieces were hammered together (with out me smashing my thumb!) The prongs are pushed (and bent) into a groove on the working half--locking the 2 parts together.

The spool is handy for one half of the snap (the female half) but vital for the male half—the center “stud” of the snap can sit in the hole of the spool. The hammer blows apply pressure on the outer edges of the snap to secure, with out mashing the center stud—and making it useless. Each snap took a half dozen blows from my 7 oz hammer before I felt they were secure.

Repeat 5 more times for the front half of the dress, and 6 more times for the second half of the snap set.
The second half of the snaps just have a pronged ring—not the fancy mother of pearl heads.

In the end, the snaps are perfectly lined up—and the pearly snaps are just the right finish for this dress. They are classic for denim and country wear—and just the right detail. They are a PITA to do—but done, and done right they really make for a professional finish!  My quick little jumper took more time than I planned, but I am very happy with the results.  

(It's time to return to knitting!)

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