Tutorial : Using Prym Vario Pliers to Insert ‘Love’ Snaps, Jean Rivets and Denim Hardware

Hello sewing friends!

I recently made my young daughter a shirtdress using New Look 6884 in a ‘Cherry Crimson’ Art Gallery Fabrics chambray (see that post HERE). Whilst I’m not averse to sewing sewing buttonholes, I decided instead to use the Prym range of plastic ‘Love’ snaps, which I thought would add a fun and practical touch. I though I’d share a step-by-step tutorial on how I used them : a Snap-Chat, if you will!

Whilst in the demonstration I’m using snaps, the principle is the same for inserting rivets, jean rivets / hardware and eyelets etc., (to see kit examples, I have them in my Amazon Shop ;-)).

How to Use Prym Vario Pliers

Like most things, the Prym Vario Pliers are incredibly simply to use once you know how! This little tutorial is a collaborative effort – I’ll supply the ‘how’ – you get to insert the jokes and euphemisms! Ok?!

You can now get just a set of the pliers with the right heads in a special ‘Love’ kit :

The snaps themselves come in a range of colours and a variety of shapes; I used the red assortment ‘circle’ pack.

I definitely recommend practicing on a scrap piece of fabric first! Preferably the same thickness of fabric you’ll be using in your project.

plastic snaps how to insert

There’s a ‘female’ and ‘male’ under segment to each snap, which the fabric gets sandwiched between. They look like the pic below when they’re paired with the top shape (the bit with the long prong):

plastic snaps

So, firstly, put your attachments into your plier; the top is a clear silicone piece with a small hole running through its centre. The bottom is a white plate that holds the snap head.

prym plastic snaps how

Next put one of the top snaps (the one with the prong) onto the white plate…

prym vario love snaps

…and put it through your marked hole (I describe how I lined up and marked the snap holes on the dress itself on the dress blog post HERE).

prym love snaps tutorial

Then place the ‘female’ part of the snap over the protruding prong (insert your own smutty joke here ;-))

how to use varop pliers

Then the fun bit … SQUEEZE!!! What the plier effectively does is squeeze the two components parts of the snap together, securely sandwiching the fabric between. What it also does, essentially, is squish down and flatten that now defunct extra prong length. The snaps won’t, err, snap closed together without this.

pliers pkastic snaps

Repeat the whole process for the corresponding underside snap. Remember, if you’ve used the ‘female’ snaps on top, you’ll need the ‘male’ ones underneath. Use your own euphemism here to help you remember!

Really simple huh?! I hope I’ve explained it clearly enough; let me know! (If you’re tempted to have a go, as I say, links for everything can be found here). I now want to add snaps to all the things! If you see me with a pair of pliers in my hand, unless you want to be snapped, probably better to keep your distance for a while!

Until next time, happy sewing – and snapping!

For more regular sewing chat, you can find me on Instagram at @sewsarahsmith

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Disclaimer : This tutorial is not a sponsored post. Some of the links given are Affiliate links – if you choose to purchase via an Affiliate link, you will not be charged any extra however I may receive a small commission x).


What’s in my Sewing Kit? My Favourite Sewing Tools & Gadgets

Sewing tools

Sewing tools

I’ve been thinking of doing a little ‘What’s in my Sewing Kit’ series for a while. Given that I’ve got something of a reputation over on Instagram as ‘Inspector Gadget Smith’ (because I regularly post whatever the latest thing to make me go “Squeeee!” is), I thought I’d kick off with my favourite sewing gadgets. Some may be obvious, others perhaps less so but, happily, most are fairly inexpensive (I’m not covering sewing machine feet here as my favourite feet deserve a post all of their own!)

Now, don’t get me wrong, these gadgets are not necessarily the essential basic ‘must haves’ in your kit or mine; I’m not talking seam rippers here! They are however my absolute favourite tools that I routinely reach for and thank my lucky stars I possess; I would shed real tears if you were to wrestle them out of my hands and run off with them! (So, y’know, don’t) haha!

In no particular order:-

Clover Hot Hemmer

Favourite sewing tools

I owe Clueless Leigh major thanks for this one, as she mentioned it in one of her Vlogs; a basic concept, simply fold your fabric to your desired marking and press for perfectly even hems/seam allowances. I use it constantly. I think I got mine from Amazon and probably paid over the odds for it. I don’t care, it’s worth every penny.

Clover Fork Pins


For matching seams these little fork Pins can’t be beat! I leave them in place as I sew, slowly, by turning the hand wheel. They come in a little plastic treasure chest type box, which I mention because these little fork pins are my kind of treasure! Again, I think these were an Amazon purchase.

Hemline Bobbin Match Mates


These things are genius! Genius I tell you!! Keep your bobbin threads together with your main spool (they hold up to two bobbins). Your spool and bobbin thread ends wrap neatly together to stop them becoming a jumbled mess. I got mine from Minerva here.

A Bit of Folded Card

Favourite sewing tools

Yeah don’t adjust your glasses; I’m serious. I use this all the time! In case you’re wondering, I slide it under the back of my sewing machine foot to level the foot out when negotiating thick seams etc. I’ve had this particular bit of folded cardboard for over a year!

Hemline Sewing / Quilting Measuring Gauge

What's in my sewing kit

A nifty double-sided little tool which has 14 different measurements on front and back (from 1/8″ to 1 3/4″). I think it’s fair to say mine has seen better days, having nearly come to a sticky end under the iron! This is just brilliant for marking out your stitching lines prior to sewing something where accuracy is key, like the shirt collar here. I really ought to order another but I’m curiously attached to its wonkiness!

Masking Tape

Beginners sewing kit

Oh slightly sticky paper how I love thee. Great for marking the right side / wrong side as well as numbering your pieces; marking stitching lines and as a guideline on your sewing machine. It peels off easily leaving little to no residue. I loves it!

Wrist Pincushion

What's in my sewing kit

Oh there are flashier sexier wrist pincushions out there but this little sunflower is priceless. It was bought for me by my then 5 yr old daughter out of her own piggy bank pocket money. It makes me smile every time I use it. Using it has also meant the percentage rate at which I hold pins in between my teeth and, therefore, the rate at which I routinely stab myself in the mouth, has dropped significantly!

Clover Wonder Clips

What's in my sewing kit tools gadgetssewing tools gadgets kit

I say Clover, but I’m sure there are loads of generic brands out there. These little clamps are so quick and easy to use; they don’t leave pin holes and are supposedly designed so you can sew past them…although I haven’t tried that last bit so don’t take my word for it!

Simflex ‘Buttonhole’ Gauge

What's in my sewing kit

Not an accurate depiction of how you’d use this thing admittedly but y’know artistic license an’ all that! I haven’t used this a great deal to be fair but I can see it’s going to be seriously priceless when I come to sewing up some summer shirtdresses* soon. Great for evenly marking out pleats or anything else for that matter too. I got mine from Jaycotts; they have a tendency to get them in and then they sell out for a while before restocking.

Makeup Brush

What's in my sewing kit

No, not for re-powdering my nose when things go wrong and I get all hot and bothered; if you’re anything like me a brush barely meets my hair on sewing days never mind putting makeup on haha! But repurposing a brush from from your makeup kit is a good idea if you haven’t already. Thorough yet gentle when used for cleaning out the fabric dust from your overlocker or sewing machine and so much better than the itty bitty thing your machine probably came with. It tells you something about my priorities when I can say my overlocker is kept cleaner than my oven haha *feelsguiltyandrunstocleanoven*

Bias Binder Makers

Sewing gadgets

I love my little rainbow of binders and they work brilliantly; the set came in sizes 6, 12, 18 and 25 mm. I love making my own bias strips from left over fabric pieces. I tend to buy block colour bias but if I want something a bit more individual or particular, I make my own. I can’t remember where I got my little bias making kit from but a quick Google search reveals you can get them practically anywhere!


What's in my sewing kit

Great for when threading your overlocker or for pulling your threads out from under your sewing machine foot as well as a multitude of other little fiddly jobs. Especially good for pulling out nests of thread that have got tangled up in the feed dogs. Ask me how I know.

Chaco Chalk Liner

What's in my sewing kit

Does ‘exactly what it says on the tin’. The chalk is dispersed over the super fine drawing wheel so you can achieve sharp lines; great for marking darts etc. Comes in lots of colours and is refillable.

Any here you have or want? What’s your favourite tool(s),  I’d love to know…

Until next time,

Sew Sarah smith


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