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When I was in college I lived with my aging grandmother and I remember her buying her clothing based on how easy it was for her to use. She would not buy coats that had zippers. She preferred her jackets to have snaps instead and would purchase elastic waist bands over anything with buttons. In her eighties it was just too hard for her to make her hands do what she wanted them to do, but she wanted to still be able to dress herself.
Now my son has the same problem. He struggles with the dexterity in his fingers, but wants to be able to be independent. Most of the clothes they sell in his size at stores have button flies and he can’t just wear sweat pants every day. Sometimes he has activities or commitments that require him to dress up. As his mom, I worry about things like complicated belts or clothing causing embarrassing problems for him at school. So it has become my job to try to eliminate as many of those issues as possible. He can practice buttons in other places, but they should not stand between him and the bathroom.
I was talking to a friend who is a seamstress and I asked her if she would replace the buttons on my son’s pants with snaps. She said “Of course! But that is so easy, you could totally do it yourself.” And she referred me to a special tool.
It took some getting used to, but it worked!
I was able to start replacing the buttons on Nick’s pants with snaps by myself. Then I thought how helpful this would be for people who have aging parents or children with special needs and are in the same situation.
I started with a pair of khaki pants from the store that had a button on them.
I removed the button. Then I sewed the button hole shut with a heavy duty needle and some thread that matched the pants. (I doubled the thread for added strength.)
After that, I just followed the directions that came with the plier kit.
I loaded the tool like the directions told me to. (I have to warn you, it took quite a bit of patience the first time! There is a bit of a learning curve in figuring out this tool. But once you figure it out, it is not hard to use. It does take quite a bit of hand strength, though, I thought.)
I put the “front” snap on top of the area where I had sewn the button hole shut, and the “back” snap on top of the area where the button used to be.
The trickiest part was making sure that the snaps were centered and would line up with each other.
In all, it took me about 40 minutes the first time I used this tool. After that, once I understood how to load the snaps, the process went much faster.
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