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How to install a twist lock (AKA turn lock) on your next handbag or purse…

Hi Everyone!

Today I thought I would talk to you about the different types of twist locks (aka turn locks) and show you how to install them in your handmade bags or purses. There are two types of twist locks, ones with face plates that have prongs (below left) and ones with face plates that have screws (below right). The diagrams below will show you the anatomy of both types of twist locks.


Twist locks can come in all shapes and sizes…

This is just a small selection of twist locks available from Emmaline Bags and Handbag Hardware Australia.

So how do you actually install one of these twist locks?
Let’s have a look…

twist lock tute

  1. Use your pattern as a placemat guide, it will state where you are to install the face plate and back plates of the twist lock. Mark the point as stated in the pattern.one
  2. Using the back plate place it so the mark is centred. Then using an erasable marker, trace around the inside edge of this plate (the hole).oneCollage
  3. Using an Exacto knife, pointy sharp scissors or a leather punch, cut out the hole – make it large enough so that when you place the back part of the twist lock in from the back, all the metal edges of the lock are visible but be very careful not to make the hole too large!If you are using a twist lock that requires screws, be sure to mark the screw positions and use an awl or leather punch to make the required holes for the screws.twoCollage
  1. Use some Fray Stop on the edges of the hole. After waiting for this to dry, apply a very small amount of strong glue to the back plate and face plate of the twist lock.seven
  2. Next place the face plate on the external side of the hole, and then place the back plate on the lining side.For a twist lock that has prongs squeeze the plates together ensuring that they are perfectly straight. Then using something hard (like the edge of your scissors), push down the prongs into position to secure the face plate to the back plate of the twist lock.
    For a twist lock that has screws squeeze the plates together ensuring that they are perfectly straight. Then using a screwdriver, screw the two plates together with the screws provided.threeCollage

½ of the twist lock has now been successfully installed – yay 🙂

  1. We still need to install the twist part of the twist lock. Using your pattern as a guide, mark spot where the twist lock should be placed. There are a few different types of washers available, if you have a washer with slits – place the centre of the washer over this spot and decide which of the other slots would best suit your twist part’s prongs. Mark the position of your chosen slits with an erasable marker.body14

    If your washer does not have markings you can see through, please see the picture below for an alternate method of marking the place for the prongs of the twist part. Simply mark a cross where the twist lock is to be positioned.  Ensure you use an erasable marker – this will help you find the centre. If using this method make sure the erasable marker you use will not leave marks on your fabric – test on a scrap first.

    alternatewasherCollage(photo above by Maria)

  1. Using an Exacto knife, pointy sharp scissors, or a seam ripper, make slits for the prongs of the twist part. Make sure you don’t cut them too big, smaller is better than bigger.
  2. Apply Fray Stop to the slits, then (once dry), push the prongs of the twist lock through the slits. Then place your fabric so it is wrong side up in front of you, (you should be able to see the prongs). Using an off cut of Foam Stabiliser/Peltex/Fusible Fleece, cut matching holes, then place it over the prongs. Now place the washer over the prongs on top, and then using something hard (like the edge of your scissors), push down the prongs (towards the centre), to secure the twist part of the twist lock.body7Collage

Your twist lock is now installed!

This is the Panic Clutch, the pattern was released in February 2016.

When making the Panic Clutch, you can use a variety of twist locks to achieve the perfect look that you are after…

(Left row, top to bottom: Amy, Jayne, Margareth. Middle row, top to bottom: Danielle, Simone, Melisa. Right row, top to bottom: Mitzi, Rachael, Susan, Maria). 

Your Panic Clutch could look just as amazing 😉 You can find the pattern here, should you wish to purchase it.

I have some super exciting news to share too!  If you live in Melbourne, Australia you might consider coming to a class I’m teaching in June – It’s called “Pimp Your Panic Clutch” and I will be teaching you some great techniques to really make this fabulous pattern yours! All the details can be found here and ticket purchase can be made here too, please note places are limited.

pimp your panic clutch - photo

Not able to make the trip to my class?  Why not enter the Pimp Your Panic Clutch Competition instead?!

I felt bad that many of you would not be able to make the trip to come to my class, as I know you do not live in easy travel distance…so I have decided to spread the joy and run a little competition 🙂

pimp your panic clutch comp

I want you to be able to let your creativity flow, so here are the rules:

1. Use the Panic Clutch Pattern as a base and add some changes, or in other words “Pimp Your Panic Clutch”, eg. use a different closure to the twist lock that is in the pattern or add a wristlet strap. Or you can even just make yourself the original Panic Clutch as instructed in the pattern if you prefer.

2. Snap a photo and upload it to Instagram using the tag #pimpyourpanicclutch and don’t forget to tag me @emkiedesigns too 😉

NOTE: To be eligible to win, all Panic Clutches entered into the competition will need to have been made between March 1st and April 5th AEDST/AEST.

But what is the prize you’re playing for?  
If you make a Panic Clutch and enter it into the competition using the Instagram tag #pimpyourpanicclutch, you will be in the running to win one of three copies of my new pattern (released in early April) that I will be giving away!

I am so super excited to see your creations!

I’d love to hear from you so please leave me a note in the comments telling me what your favourite pattern that uses a twist lock is 🙂  Also, please feel free to sign up for my newsletter here.

Until next time…happy sewing!

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    2016 The Year that was…
    December 7, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    […] How to Install a Twist Lock […]

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