Look closely and you'll notice turn lock closures on bags and other accessories everywhere you go. Designers and manufacturers love them because they provide an inexpensive, easy way to instantly transform the look and functionality of any basic bag design; which is exactly why you should consider utilizing this versatile little closure on your next sewing project. Installing turn locks can seem formidable if you don't have a lot of experience installing hardware, but there's absolutely nothing to be afraid of!
The Valencia bag uses a turn lock closure to elevate a simple style
While there are many different styles and sizes of closures, the basic installation process is universal. A turn lock usually consists of 3 or 4 pieces; a male locking mechanism which attaches to the body of the bag with prongs and a backing washer, and a female eyelet which is attached to the flap of the bag using a backing plate, or another washer. Occasionally, you will encounter turn locks which requres rivets or other additional hardware. In this step by step guide, you will learn how to install a turn lock with a female backing plate which will leave you feeling prepared to tackle anything available at your local fabric store.
Before you begin, take a moment to make sure your project is at the right juncture to install a closure. The flap of your bag should be completely assembled, but not yet attached to the body of the bag. The body of the bag does not need to be stitched together yet. If you have sewn the body of the bag you can still attach the closure as long as the lining hasn't been installed yet.
Step | 01
Locate the closure installation placement markings on your pattern.
Step | 02
Unscrew the backing plate from the female section of the turn lock.
Step | 03
Center the right side of the female turnlock directly over the placement marking on the flap of the bag.
Step | 04
Using a marking pen, pencil, or chalk, reach under the outer lip of the turn lock and trace around the inner edge of the eyelet. Do not trace around the outer edge of the hardware or the installation point will be too large.
Step | 05
Use a sharp pair of scissors to cut out the small oval you just traced. This step has been known to induce anxiety the first time you do it because it seems like you are cutting such a large hole, but the turn lock will cover everything!
Step | 06
Place the right side of the female section of the turn lock into the hole.
Step | 07
Turn the flap over and place the backing plate over the wrong side of the closure.
Step | 08
Screw the backing plate on. You have successfully installed the female section of the turn lock!
Step | 09
Locate the body of the bag and the male section of the turn lock.
Step | 10
Center the washer over the closure installation placement marking.
Step | 11
Straighten the prongs of the male section of the turn lock and match them to the slits in the washer.
Step | 12
Mark these points with a marking pen, pencil, or chalk.
Step | 13
Use a sharp pair of scissors to cut small slits where you just marked.
Step | 14
Insert the male section of the turn lock into the slits.
Step | 15
Turn the body piece over and place the washer over the prongs.
Step | 16
Bend the prongs inward, around the washer.
Step | 17
You have now successfully installed a turn lock and can finish sewing the rest of your bag!
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Where to buy turn locks
Turn locks are available at many shops that specialize in bag hardware. A few to try:
Hardware Elf carries several varieties, including an unusual clover-shaped version.
Pacific Trimming sells turn locks and other hardware in many sizes, finishes, and shapes.
Tandy Leather has one of the widest selections, including heart shapes and more.
Buckle Guy has several basic options at a good price, and even sells extra spare parts on their own.