Add Buckles to a Quilted Jacket

I must have spent three weeks deliberating over how to fasten up my patchwork Grainline Tamarack jacket before I came up with this Gambeson-esque design.

I didn’t think I wanted a zip, I was thinking of just putting bronze snaps on it, but then I got into conversation on Instagram with @rocketgirl50 and @beezersnana who told me I needed more of a statement fastener, BIG snaps or buttons.

Initially I was going to put invisible mag snaps on the inside and big buttons on the top because I still wanted the snap action but it was really hard to find anything large enough as a snap. Then I remembered bag fastenings and those particular mag snaps.

I cancelled my button order and over the weekend I developed a shape for faux buckle fastenings. And then promptly left it for another week.

I put together a tutorial for you but it is particularly long and I apologize for that. I wanted to give you all the details of what I used and tips about how I stitched it by hand and that does take time to demonstrate. Here is the video, scroll down for the templates and then I’ll give you a quick summary photo guide in case you just want the basics of what I did.


You will need: Vinyl or thin leather, Strong glue such as Beacon Fabri-tac, template plastic (optional), general purpose scissors, permanent marker in the same colour as your vinyl, buttonhole set (with round rivet punch tool), ruler, awl, slim mag snap for each buckle (mine are 9/16″), 3/4″ buckle for each buckle, needle and upholstery thread, thimble (optional).

  1. You will need to cut out one bow tie shaped piece and two longer strap pieces for each buckle you need, plus draw around a quarter (or a UK 10p) for a circle shape twice for each. Cut out. I like to trace onto template plastic and use that to mark and cut my shapes.
  2. Glue the two strap pieces wrong sides together. They will be a bit irregular but that’s OK.
  3. Take the bowtie shaped piece and punch a hole right in the centre of the thinnest part. Thread through the buckle so that the prong of the buckle goes through the hole and the two ends hang either side, wrong sides together. Make sure you have the top of the buckle facing up.
  4. Use your mag snap backing plate to mark holes for the legs of the mag snap to go through. Measure 7/8″ from the bottom edge of the BACK side of the flap (you can do this on the inside still, but we don’t want to be going through both layers of vinyl). Position plate and mark. cut holes on the marks and push the male part of the snap through from the right side. Fold and secure.
  5. Add glue to stick the wrong sides of this piece together and leave to dry.
  6. While this one is drying, go back to the original pieces you glue together. Trim away small pieces of excess until it is the same on both sizes (don’t go too wild) and then use the permanent marker to colour the edges.

  7. Make small dots to mark where to punch (you can use a regular pen). Mark a dot 3/4 from the point, then do another 3 but 1/2′ apart. Use the round hole punch to make holes over these markings.

  8. Go back to your buckle and tidy up the edges as before. Use the awl to punch holes to help guide your stitching on this piece. You will want them about 1/8″ or less from the edge and about the same distance apart. Thread your punched piece through the buckle and repeat for the widest end.
  9. Mark evenly spaced points where you want your buckles to go on the right hand side of the jacket (left when worn). I used safety pins for this.
  10. Stitch a running stitch around the punched holes on the male mag snap end of the buckle (this is purely decorative). Go round twice to fill in between the stitches and give an illusion of backstitch, but with a tidier underneath.
  11. Take one of your circles and use the awl to punch around the outside. Use the other mag snap backing disk to mark where the snaps legs will go through on the front. Position on a fastener marking you made and poke the prongs all the way through the vinyl and thickness of the jacket to the lining, fold back to hold in place.
  12. Attach the two halves of the mag snap together and mark the edges of where the other side of the buckle falls on the other side of the opening. Sew this in place through the awl holes with a running stitch and then fill in between. Do this as neat as possible as it will be visible on the inside.
  13. Lastly, you need to stitch around the circles on the right side of the jacket. Use the same stitch as before but when you push the needle to the inside, position your remaining vinyl circle to catch the stitches and work through the vinyl at both sides. Make sure the front in near as you work.

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