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Before getting into the best way to attach velcro to your garment without sewing, we thought it to be worthwhile to share with you the incredible story of the invention of velcro.
Today, Velcro® is one of the most common elements that have become an integral part of our daily lives. From classic jackets and bags to equipment for medical applications and for astronauts on space missions, Velcro® has expanded into many different areas and, most importantly, Velcro® does it in style!
However, as far as you know the usage of Velcro, do you actually know how Velcro® really came into being?
So what is velcro?
Velcro, as we usually call it, is a closure technique commonly found on a wide range of products. For example, velcro is widely used in shoes, jackets, leashes, bags, key chains, and many other offices, kitchen, and garage equipment.
But Velcro® is actually the name of the company that originally created the “thing” we commonly call velcro today. Therefore, anything that ties and unties with this phenomenal ease does not actually mean that it is Velcro®. In fact, if a company markets its product as velcro, it can be sued by the original company for a pretty nice fee! This is the reason that most manufacturers, besides Velcro®, call their product with a more generic name: a Hook and Loop attachment.
The Rise of Velcro
George de Mestral, a Swiss electrical engineer, is credited with the invention of Velcro®. The way he came up with the idea of making this thing we call velcro today is truly an incredible story.
The story of the discovery of Velcro® brand products begins with a walk by Georges de Mestral. In 1941, this Swiss engineer, returning from the countryside with his dog, noticed how difficult it was to pull alpine thistle flowers, burdock, out of his pants and his dog’s hair. Surprised by the clinging power of these flowers, the young engineer observed them under the microscope and noticed that the hooks of the flower could cling firmly to anything that offered a loop shape.
This was the “eureka” moment for him; the first idea of what would be possible with this technique hit him like thunder.
If only he could artificially recreate the same thing by creating pairs of hooks and loops that tied firmly together, then his product could revolutionize the industry by offering much more possibilities than conventional attachment techniques gave at that time.
He, therefore, studied the possibility of reproducing this principle artificially.
It finally took him 10 years to develop a fixation system consisting of two elements, namely a linear tissue strip with tiny hooks that can temporarily adhere to another tissue strip with smaller loops, until they are separated from each other again. These two elements gave the possibility to temporarily attach two pieces of material to each other until they are separated from each other again. But even more importantly it was to be able to reproduce this effect time after time.
Originally made out of cotton, a material that proved impractical and too fragile, the closure system was eventually made of nylon and polyester.
Born from the combination of the initial syllables of the French words Velours and Crochet, velour and hook, the Velcro® brand has since 1955 brought together under its name a complete range of products that have simplified closing and fastening operations.
The first spectacular use of the fastener was by NASA in the 1960s for its flight suits and support of safety elements in weightless conditions. Then came the ski suits and scuba diving suits. Later, it was put at the forefront of the textile industry, whether for clothing or shoes, a whole generation of children still say thank you! Today, Velcro, a registered trademark but generic term, is used in a wide range of industries, from healthcare to IT, automotive to medical. While each Velcro® brand product is designed for a specific task, the main mechanism remains the same.
Do It Yourself
So if you are someone that loves crafting all kinds of fabrics and garments by yourself, you might have considered the use of velcro. The usage of velcro to attach different parts together is a great choice in the right setting since it’s often easier than other more conventional attachment methods like buttons or zippers. Also for the final user, the velcro has proven to be a reliable and comfortable alternative to attach, close, and re-open items at will. Velcro is composed of two different parts, there is the hook part and then there is the loop part. Therefore they are often called hook and loop attachments.
The most secure option to attach velcro to a piece of fabric is of course going to be through sewing it on. Some tasks are easier said than done, and sewing velcro is one of them.
The basic stitch is simple enough for beginners, but velcro is a sturdy, thick material that can make sewing considerably more challenging.
Especially when needing to attach larger pieces of velcro, the sewing gets too labor-intensive and difficult. Therefore many look for alternatives. One of the most popular and easy ways to attach velcro to fabric is with the usage of adhesives.
Instead of sewing, you apply these adhesives as you would simply apply a sticker.
Velcro strips are available with integrated adhesive backing or without.
Adhesive backings are available in high-quality variants that offer a permanent attachment. But since of its inherent nature of using adhesive instead of sewing, it is advisable to solely use it on light-weight applications.
Before applying an adhesive velcro to a delicate fabric, it would be wise to first check how the adhesive reacts to the chosen fabric.
To run this check, take an inside corner (that won’t be visible when worn) of your garment and attach some of the adhesives to it. You are going to want to give attention to any potential discoloration, puckering, fading, or even dissolving of the material. If none of these symptoms appear, you have got the green light to apply your chosen adhesive!
For best results always make sure to wash and dry the garment beforehand properly. Since during daily wear, all garments pick up lots of dirt from the environment like for example, air pollution. But fabrics also pick up dirt from the natural oils emitted by your own body. All these particles might compromise the end result of the patch-job and its longevity.
Also make sure to adhere to the included instructions that were included with your adhesive or all-in-one velcro solution, and let it settle for at least a night before wearing. Inside the included instructions of the adhesive will be laundering instructions too, that vary from brand to brand.
Checking the laundry instructions might therefore be a good thing to research before buying. So that you know to what point you are going to be limited when it comes to the inevitable laundry.
Velcro adhesives can close anything from a jacket to a handbag. It is also an ideal solution for costumes when a show requires a quick change. A small square of tape can replace a module or a button, and a wide strip can be used instead of a zipper. Velcro can also be used to replace a seam. Velcro is also useful for upholstery and for making clothing to fit a person with reduced mobility.
See Related Article: How to Make Velcro Stick to the Fabric – A Guide
Step-By-Step Instructions In Applying Self-Adhering Velcro
We will now show you a step by step guide on how to attach velcro with the integrated adhesive:
- Choosing the right materials
Discover the type of velcro that your project needs. If you’re following a pattern, read the list of specifications to find out what color and width of velcro you need to buy. If this is not the case, you will have more liberty in choosing the size and color that you think is going to be the most suitable.
As a general rule, the smaller the clothes, the thinner the velcro surface should be. A doll’s dress may need 0.5 cm wide velcro, but a backpack may need a velcro strip that is 2.5 cm in width.
When possible, try to match the color of the velcro to the color of the fabric. If you do not find the same color, use white for light fabrics and black for dark fabrics.
For best results, choose a velcro with a soft, flexible strip. It will be easier to stick on than a stiff and thick one.
- Cutting and positioning the velcro strap
Get some sharp scissors and cut the velcro at the right length. First, cut the part of the hooks and use this as a guide to cut the matching piece with the loops.
Separate the pairing pieces if they are hooked in together. Do not cut them at the same time, otherwise, you might cut some of the hooks and rings unnecessarily, and often it would come out crooked too.
To get the most precise results, some use a jig. If you don’t have a jig, you could use a ruler and some markers. Depending on the final product, you will have to imagine what shape will look the best. A square of 2.5 cm looks good for a bag, but a longer strip works generally better for a jacket.
Cut the seam angles off each velcro. If you take a good look at a piece, you will see that the hooks and rings do not extend to the side edges, the manufacturer left a small space on each side. Cut the corners of these spaces so that they are not straight but angular. This gives your velcro a better finish and prevents it from scratching against your skin.
If your velcro has no space on the sides, use small, pointed scissors to cut off the hooks and rings on each side to create the same effect.
Always place the velcro with the hooks side facing away from your skin. Since the velcro is between two overlapping pieces of fabric, place the soft strip at the bottom of the top fabric and place the rough piece on top of the bottom fabric. In this way, the strip with hooks is in the opposite direction to your skin.
Do not place the velcro strip directly on the edge of the fabric, so the velcro strip will not scratch your skin.
Before taking off the adhesive backing, you should attach the pre-cut velcro to the fabric with pins. This will make it much easier to check the right position. One pin in the middle of the strip should be enough for most types of velcro. If you are working with a long strip though, such as a jacket, it is best to place a pin every few inches.
If you can’t get the pins through the velcro without bending them, you could also use strips of masking tape.
If desired, cover the needle with wax or a needle lubricant. It’s not necessary, but this will facilitate the process of getting the needle through the velcro, just stick the needle through a block of wax or needle lubricant, even a candle will do!
- Attaching the Velcro
After you have followed the above steps, we are now going to guide you with the actual attachment.
Just to rephrase, you first want to remove the loop side from the hook side, so you have two aligning pieces. Once separated you are going to want to place the hook side along one side of the opening in the garment with the hooks facing up. Now take off the adhesive backing and press it firmly into place after you have checked and double-checked the correct placement.
If you used needles to keep them in place, as mentioned previously, then it is advisable to leave the needles in place. Simply take off the adhesive backing until it reaches the needle.
Once arrived at the spot of the needle you have to firmly press down the side of the velcro you are working at. Now that this part of the velcro is firmly attached, you can remove the needle and continue with the rest of the remaining strip.
Now we are going to take care of the other side. Place the loop sided strip on the other side of the opening, the loops down so that the two fields are aligned when the sides overlap and the garment is closed. Now take off the adhesive backing and press it firmly into place after you have checked and double-checked the correct placement.
Once again, if you used needles to keep them in place, as mentioned previously, then it is advisable to leave the needles in place. Simply take off the adhesive backing until it reaches the needle. Once arrived at the spot of the needle you have to firmly press down the side of the velcro you are working at. Now that this part of the velcro is firmly attached, you can remove the needle and continue with the rest of the remaining strip.
Now enjoy your final product!
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Since that by its inherent nature adhesive isn’t as strong as sewing, we advise you to have it firmly pressed for as long as possible before wearing the item.
Some even advise putting it in a press for the best results. But even if you do not have a press in your possession, do not despair! With a little bit of creativity, you can easily reproduce the same effects by for example using heavy books and let them sit for a night or so.