Nursing clips (also known as nursing clasps or nursing bra clips) are an important little piece of hardware for sewing your own nursing wardrobe. They’re often used in nursing bras and nursing camisoles but can also be used for nursing tank-tops, nursing swimsuits, and nursing dresses. In this post we’ll explain how they work and what to look for when you buy them.
Nursing clips are a two piece clip with a back and a front. On the left is what a nursing clip looks like when clipped and on the right is what it looks like when you’ve unclipped the front from the back. Your nursing clips may be slightly different size and shape but the general principle is the same.
The back of the clasp attaches to your bra or camisole in two ways. The top of the clip holds the strap and the bottom of the clip keeps your garment in place when it’s unclipped by attaching to a flange of fabric or a strap.
When you unclip the clasp, the clasp back stays flat against your upper chest. The clasp front is attached to the front of your garment so when it is unclipped there is access to your breast.
Here you see a nursing clip on a Tropo Camisole in action. The front is flipped down but the camisole doesn’t fall off because the back of the clip keeps the strap pulled down and the flange pulled up.
What should you look for when buying a nursing clip? Most nursing clips are white, black, clear, or beige though you can find them in fun colors. The one thing you must pay attention to is the size. The size refers to how wide the opening is. In the example above I have a 1/2″ nursing clip. That means that the middle example is a perfect fit because it is 1/2″ fold-over elastic. On the left, the 1/2″ fold-over elastic has been folded in half to 1/4″ so it is too small for the clip and slides around (it works, but it doesn’t look very pretty). On the right is 1″ fold-over elastic which is too wide so it bunches (though it would fit perfectly if it was folded in half to 1/2″).
Where can you buy nursing clips? I haven’t found a lot of variety in quality (they’re pretty simple pieces of plastic) so you shouldn’t have to worry about quality wherever you find them. Lots of different sellers have them for sale on Etsy. Dritz makes a basic nursing clip package which you will likely find at any major sewing supplies retailer or you can order it from Amazon. KAMsnaps makes several sizes of nursing clips and you can order them through Amazon or directly from KAMsnaps. I’ve personally purchased mine from Sew Sassy Fabrics (along with many other bra findings).
Want an excuse to sew your own nursing clips? A few of our patterns that use nursing clips to make them nursing friendly are the Tropo Camisole (and Tropo Maternity Camisole), Agility Overlay Tank & Dress, and X Factor Bikini & Tankini.[Links may be affiliate links. We will only ever link to products that we would personally recommend.]
Erin is one of the co-founders of Maternity Sewing. She also publishes patterns as Tuesday Stitches where she publishes patterns to help you play Every Day Dress Up, whoever you are. She believes in empowerment through sewing and encourages inclusivity, representation, self-love, and self-expression.