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How to perfectly install bag purse turn locks

Posted by Lisa Lam on

The fabric is a yummy metallic rose gold metallic pleather, coming soon to the shop.  Provided the fabric is appropriately stabilised, you can use any weight fabric from quilt weight and up.

Purse twist turn locks are an instant way to elevate your bags to 'you made that??!!" status.  These purse locks look supremely professional and they work beautifully as a secure bag fastener.  They are an inexpensive way to add a high-end designer look to your bags, purses and clutches.   

Twist locks work best when your bags are made from several layers (e.g. your chosen fabric and a combo of interlinings), this is because twist turn locks have a little weight to them and your purse needs to be able to support the weight without sagging. 

In this tutorial, I will show you just how easy they are to use. I hope you enjoy!   

Instruction photos are shown below the instruction.

What you will need 

  1. Small sharp scissors
  2. Small screwdriver (whether you need a cross or flat head depends on the lock screw type.  Most locks have cross-head screws).
  3. Twist turn lock.
  4. Two each of 10cm (4") squares of fusible woven interfacing and fusible fleece for stabilising and padding out the lock areas.
  5. Fray check (not pictured).
  6. Optional a multi-shape punch set and a rubber mallet (as inspired by the amazing S. Hewitt).  This 39pc punch set is a game-changer!  I've yet to come across a purse lock that does not have a corresponding punch included in the set.  If you do not have a punch set you can use the small sharp scissors


What is included in a turn lock set?  Whatever the shape or size of turn lock this is what this type of lock will consist of.  Some of these locks even have a flip action as opposed to turning action, either way, the contents will be the same:

  1. The Front Plate (front side is shown). This part goes on the purse flap.
  2. Twist turn button. This part goes on the bag body.
  3. Washer. This goes over the button prongs at the back of the button.


Good to know:  as there are 2 parts to a turn lock, turn locks are installed in 2 stages.  I think the most sensible time to insert the turn (or flip) button is while you are adding your design features (pockets, straps, etc) to the bag front BEFORE you construct the bag outer.  I think the most sensible time to insert the front plate is right at the end of bag construction, as the final step (I explain why in step 5).


How to install:

1.  We are going to install the turn button first.  Interface and pad-out the bag front piece.  Even if the wrong side (WS) bag front is already interfaced it is a good idea to further strengthen the lock area by adding another square of fusible interfacing (I prefer woven fusible interfacing for all bag making.  It is strong and suitable for all fabrics).  Iron a layer of fusible fleece on top of the fusible interfacing square. This will pad-out the lock area to create a nice tight fit and give an attractive 'plumpness' around the lock (I explain why in step 4). 


2.  Mark the desired position of the twist button onto the right side (RS) bag front fabric piece.  Take the twist button and press the prongs into the fabric so as to make two indents in the fabric, so you can see them more clearly you can go over these indents with a pen. 


3.  Apply the Twist Button - using a stitch ripper and carefully make two tiny slits at the prong indents you have just made.  Push the ripper through all layers.  Push the twist button prongs into the slits through the RS bag fabric. 


4.  Push the twist button prongs into the slits through the RS bag fabric. Turn the bag fabric over to the WS.  Push the button firmly into the fabric and slip the washers over the button prongs.  Press the button into the fabric as you press the prongs down firmly with your thumb/screwdriver. This will ensure a tight fit and create attractive plumpness in the fabric around the button.  If the washer is wider than the prong length I prefer to push the prongs down away from each other, however, if the prongs are longer than the washer width (as is the case in the pic below) I prefer to press the prongs down toward each other.  



5. Mark the Twist Plate position onto your bag/purse/clutch flap - I prefer to install the lock front plate on at the very end of the bag construction because male to female markings (in other words, lock and keeper markings) do not always end up marrying as they should (there is deffo a joke in there somewhere!).  Finish making your bag and as the final step, install the front plate as shown in the following steps.  Using a disappearing marker, carefully draw a cross on the centre top of the twist button as shown. 


6.  Place your flap over the twist button and mark the position where the flap falls onto the twist button.  The ink on the twist button should transfer quite clearly onto the flap lining fabric.


7.  Mark the front plate hole and screw holes - unscrew the front plate (keep the screws somewhere safe!) and take the plate backing and position it squarely and centrally onto the cross mark you have just made.   Draw around the hole and mark the screw holes as shown.  Notice how the cross in slap-bang in the centre of the hole - aim for that.


8.  Cut or punch the front plate hole into your bag flap - I have used an oval-shape punch from this fab 39pc punch set - quick easy and perfect!   You need to use a punch that is slightly larger than than the hole you need to cut.  Punch the hole on the lining side of the flap.  If you cut the hole the same size or slightly smaller, you will have a nightmare time of fitting the front plate onto your flap.   If you do not have a punch set use small scissors to cut the hole through all layers.  Use an awl to make the screw holes.  After making the holes, trim all stray bits of thread and use fray check on the raw seams.


9.  Assemble the Twist Plate onto the bag flap - sandwich the fabric bag flap in between the front and back parts of the front plate (at the hole you have just made).  Working at the lining side, screw one of the screws (not quite all of the way).  Screwing in the screw is easier if you feed the screw end through the fabric screw hole.


10.  Add the other screw - again, do not fully tighten the screw.  Now use a flat-head screwdriver to gently pull the fabric away from the plate (thus moving the unsightly fabric hole edges away from the plate hole).  When all stray fabric bits are no longer in view, screw both screws tight.  All done, how gorgeous does that lock look!!


Next time: I'll do that strap tutorial - promise!  Lisa x


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