KAM Snaps: A Fat Quarter Episode

Thank you to our friends at KAMsnaps for donating a KAM snap starter set (hand pliers and snaps) and a 10% discount code (stitchplease10). Thank you also to our friends at I Like Big Buttons for a 10% off discount code good until September 15, 2021.  (stitchplease)  And a special thanks to GG’s Designs in Wood for donating a KAM 1  Plier Base! 

The Stitch Please podcast will celebrate its 100th episode on  9/15/2021. As part of that effort, we are looking to add 100 additional  Black Women Stitch Patreon supporters by the 100th Stitch Please podcast episode publication date. These funds will be used to build financial stability for the podcast while alleviating the pressure of a solo operation.  Will you join us? For as little as $2 a month, you can help Lisa hire consistent editorial and production support.Thank you new Patreon Supporters! Ann, Carol, Kimberly, Ali, Whitney, Sonja, Eric, Courtney, Olivia, Carole, Laquana, Beth, Ianthia, Renee, Laurel, Sarah, Claire, Nina



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Lisa Woolfork  0:12  

Hello stitchers. Welcome to Stitch Please. The official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. I'm your host, Lisa Woolfork. I'm a fourth generation sewing enthusiast with more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax and get ready to get your stitch together.

Hey, friends, hey, welcome to this Fat Quarter Episode.  A fat quarter, if you don't know already, is a quarter yard of fabric that has a little bit of junk in the trunk if you know what I mean. A little body-ody-ody.  It's designed to be more useful for quilt projects such as applique, or craft projects that require a more robust piece of fabric. A fat quarter is a more consolidated version of a traditional quarter yard of fabric. A quarter yard of fabric measures nine inches by 44 inches wide, typically for quilting cottons, and that is not particularly useful if you are using paper piecing, for example, as a way to assemble your quilt. So instead of using that long, skinny rectangle, they use a fat quarter. And so this episode is our fat quarter episode. A fat quarter in the context of Stitch Please means that we are going to help you get your stitch together 18 and 22 minutes or less. That's right. Each fat quarter episode will be 18 to 22 minutes or less. So here we go. Today's fat quarter topic is KAM snaps. That's K-A-M snaps. KAM snaps are a surprisingly useful tool. They are excellent substitutes for buttons and metal snaps. And I really like KAM snaps because they are strong. They are flexible. And they work in a variety of applications, some of which you might not even imagine. Let's get started talking about what exactly a KAM snap is.

KAM snaps are a reliable substitute for buttons. The buttons do indeed have to be small. The KAM snaps you'll find are less than the size of a U.S. dime. So they are small. However, they are small and mighty. I like to say that KAM snaps are a perfect combination of form and function. The form of the KAM snap allows it to do its function very well. And by form I mean the chemical composition. KAM snaps are made of a special, and I'm sure, trademarked polyoxymethylene or PLM (polyoxymethylene), a high density plastic that is stronger and more durable than other kinds of plastic. Also significant for folks in California or everywhere that's interested in questions of health and children's safety. They are BPA free. They have been tested for lead and phthalate content. So they comply with CPSIA regulations for children's products. Also, because they are X-ray safe. You can find them used in hospitals as well like on hospital gowns. So you know that if you're choosing a KAM snap K-A-M snap that it's going to be safe and strong. A KAM snap is made up of four parts. There will be two caps, one socket and one stud. A cap looks like a thumbtack. It is shiny on the top, and it has a protrusion like a thumbtack that is used to penetrate the socket or stud to affix them to your garment. The socket is a larger raised circle that the stud, which is a smaller raised circle, fits inside. So both of these things are round. Both of them are smooth. One is raised in the center and the other is flat, but one thing fits inside the other.  Some describe the socket and the stud using gendered language. They will say that the socket is female and the stud is male. I find that problematic and unnecessary. There's no need to reinforce hetero sexist gender norms about what people can do with their bodies in order to install snaps in a baby's onesie. It doesn't make any sense. So I use the terms bowl for the socket, and cup for the stud. Because when you're stacking dishes, it's really easy to put a cup inside a bowl. And we don't have to reinforce gender norms and gender language in something that doesn't need to be gendered in order to be understood. Instead of saying socket and stud, if that works for you, you're welcome to think that. I'm going to say, cup and bowl because that's what I do when I'm trying to lay out my snaps. The thing to remember is you will need twice as many caps as closures. So for example, if you have a garment that has eight buttons and you want to instead use eight snaps, you will use eight cups. You will use eight bowls. And how many caps will you use? 16! Because you will need a cap to hold your bowls and a cap to hold your cups onto your garment. Do you know how sometimes a quilt is referred to as a quilt sandwich, you have your quilt design on the top, you have your batting in the middle and you have your backing on the back. Those three things together are a quilt sandwich. KAM snaps are similar. It's a sandwich except that it's really small. So maybe imagine like a bunch of very tiny hamburgers. If you're looking at the right side of your fabric, you poke a hole through your fabric with an awl, an A-W-L, often comes with any KAM set that you buy. You are looking down at the right side of your fabric. You poke a hole in your fabric. You then take a cap and put it pointy side down through that hole. You flip it over and what do you see? You see the wrong side of your fabric and you see a little tiny sharp point from the snap cap pointing right at you. You then take either your bowl or your cup and nestle it right on top, and then you have a little tiny sandwich. You take that sandwich and you transfer it to the base of your pliers. Squeeze the pliers applying firm pressure.  The protrusion of the cap will be flattened, effectively securing either the cap or the bowl in place. The pliers can either be used manually, just a loose tool in your hand. This is called the K-1 or the K-2 snap pliers set. Those are hand tools. You could also use a professional snap press like the DK-98 which is a really cute little machine. It kind of looks like the mom alien on Aliens. Remember the mom alien on Aliens? That's what the head looks like to me. But it is a press tool that's designed to be used on a desktop. You bolt it to your desktop. You can sit and use it and press it instead of having to squeeze your hand. Also, I was able to find a third option between the squeezing hand tool or the professional snap press. There are people who make wooden bases for your K-1 or K-2 hand tool to go into. That way you can insert your hand press into the wooden base that's been specifically created for it and get a similar effect as a professional snap press for a fraction of the price. This is not a complete and total replacement. If you're doing a lot of snaps, you will want a professional snap press. But if you enjoy snaps, and you enjoy using them, and you want to do more of it, but you're not sure you're ready to invest in a big snap press, I totally recommend the smaller ones that I found on Etsy with individual woodworkers who are making them to fit those hand presses. You're listening to the Stitch Please podcast and we're talking today about KAM snaps. For our fat quarter episode. I am going to do a little Patreon video so that if you are a Patreon supporter, you can see a video of me installing these snaps including the special stand that I got from Etsy that helps make this process much easier.

When we come back we'll talk more about projects. Stay tuned. Hey, friends, hey, the Stitch Please podcast is about to publish its 100th episode. That's right, 100 episodes. As part of the celebration, we are launching 100 by 100 to help us get 100 More patreon supporters by the 100th episode publication date on September 15, 2021. One hundred additional Patreon supporters will give us the financial stability we need to hire editorial and production help. You can find the links to our Patreon in the show notes. Thank you so much for considering this. And thank you current and future Patreon supporters

Hey friends, welcome back to the Stitch Please podcast. You're listening to a fat quarter episode about KAM snaps.  KAM snaps are very popular for children's clothing. Some folks prefer snaps to buttons, especially for infants and toddlers, because buttons can come off. And so you might imagine a little teddy bear and instead of having button eyes stitched on to it, someone might put two snaps instead because the baby is going to put that bear into their mouth and the snaps are far less likely to come out. And they are lead tested and safe for babies to gnaw on. They're also strong, durable, and wash up very well. They don't loosen out over time. I've not had that experience. And so that's one of the reasons people like it for children's and baby clothes. It makes it very easy to get out of the bottom of a onesie. If you need to change the baby, if the baby has on pants or shorts, you can unsnap them at the inseam and change the diaper and snap it back together. So that's really fast and efficient. Also for baby bibs.  It's a really easy way to avoid buttonholes which I have no fear of button holes. I am happy to do 100 buttonholes. It doesn't bother me at all. My machine is great with buttonholes. How and ever, I do sometimes switch to snaps because it's just easier- as well as they're really very nice looking snaps- and so you can use KAM snaps on children's garments as well as on adult garments. I have used them for shirts for my spouse and shirts for my sons. I have used them also, which is something I find really exciting and I wanted to close this episode with, I used it on a really fantastic Vogue pattern Ralph Rucci coat. And I think I'm going to try to put this coat somewhere- either I'll post it on Patreon, or I'll use it for the episode cover- but this code was intense. It was a coat that I made, and I'm sure I had a matching hat because, obviously why wouldn't you have a matching hat?... But the coat was bell sleeved, bell bodied, slim fit through the waist, and quilted. I saw this fabric at like a local, if you could imagine a shop like Big Lots that also had a fabric department, that's what this store was like.  It was mostly fabric, but it had a bunch of other stuff too. And one of the fabrics they had was this quilted nylon stuff. I thought it was gorgeous. And I thought it was meant to be for car upholstery or something. It was a very unusual fabric. And so I said this'll make a really great coat. It's quilted. It's very stiff. And I think it would look really nice. And so it was a bit of a challenge even though it was double faced quilted, it was white quilting batting on the inside that showed whenever you cut it. And so I did bias binding on the seams on the inside of the jacket, which worked great. But it was also very thick, and it was so thick it was difficult to sew. And so instead of using fabric bias binding, I used leather and I use leather to bind the cuffs. I use leather to bind the hem. Now I got the jacket all made up. But it is very thick in the front. And I might have made some kind of mistake because it didn't close in the way that I wanted. And I realized that either there was some kind of miscalculation, or maybe it was to some of the fabric I was working with, but it was a struggle. So I said I am not going to install button holes on this fabric because I don't trust it not to fray. So what can I do instead? So I thought, since I'm using all this leather for binding, let me see if I can use leather to reinforce the buttonholes. And it worked great except I was not able to stitch buttonholes in the leather. And I was like, shucks, I've put all this work into this coat and it's not gonna work. It's really disappointing. And then KAM snaps came to the rescue.

I was able to put down these really delicate, very small pieces of sueded leather all along the front of the coat in a row that was parallel to the center front closure. I then installed a snap through the leather pieces so that the cap of the KAM snap was showing through the leather. It looked great. It is still a great coat, and I feel really happy that it was able to be salvaged through the use of a KAM snap. That was probably the reason that I started to fall in love with KAM snaps because it saved my bacon when I was struggling with this coat, and the coat turned out really nicely. Before we leave I just wanted to say you are listening to the 96th episode of the Stitch Please podcast.  We are four episodes away from our 100th episode. If you are able to join in the 100 by 100 campaign to help us get 100 additional Patreon supporters by September 15, 2021. We would really appreciate you joining us for as little as $2 a month, you can help the podcast become self-sufficient, self-sustaining, and a lot less draining for yours truly. Thank you so much for considering this, and no matter what, come back next week and we'll help you get your stitch together.

Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

Lisa is a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast who learned to sew while earning a PhD in African American literature and culture. She has been sewing for more than twenty years while also teaching, researching, and publishing in Black American literature and culture.

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