Setting Eyelets & Grommets – Easy Guide

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Setting eyelets is easy in both thicker fabrics and leather and creates a durable and attractive ring through which you can thread laces and buckles. They can also be used as decoration for an edgy metallic look or for threading cords through drawstring pants and bags. With the right tools, even the home sewer can set eyelets easily and quickly.

Setting Eyelets, How to Set EyeletsPinSetting Eyelets, How to Set Eyelets


What are Eyelets?Setting Eyelets – SuppliesSetting Eyelets – Step by Step InstructionsStep 1 – Punch a HoleStep 2 – Insert the EyeletStep 3 – Setting the WasherSetting Eyelets – in ConclusionMORE ARTICLES ON FASTENINGS

What are Eyelets?

Eyelets are metal rings used for leather and fabric sewing. They are strong and durable and come in many different finishes. Most common are gold, brass, and silver but some may have colored enamel on top for a pop of color.

Eyelets come in different sizes both in their diameter and also the length of the prong. Longer eyelets are designed to be inserted into thicker fabrics and leathers.

The biggest advantage of eyelets is that they stop the edges of a hole from fraying and can be used to thread cords, laces, and the tongues of buckles.

They can also be purely decorative giving an edgy feel to your bags and clothing. Large eyelets can be used on the tops of curtains for the rod to thread through.

Eyelets vs Grommets

These 2 terms are often used interchangeably depending on where you live. Grommets are often used to describe the large metal holes in curtains.

Setting Eyelets – Supplies

What you will need

Eyelets – These come in 2 parts: the top eyelet and a ring for the bottom which is called a washer. Eyelets can be purchased in kits from fabric stores or from leather suppliers. For fabric eyelets, look for brands Birch, Hemline, and Dritz. Setting Tools – This normally comes in the packet with the eyelets but you can also purchase these separately from leather suppliers and haberdasheries. See step 3 for more detail on setting tools. Hole Punch or Scissors – There are 2 main types of hole punches for eyelets. The first looks a little like a pair of pliers. They typically rotate so you can choose the size of the hole you wish to punch. The second type is a metal, long barrel punch with a sharp hole at the end. You use a hammer to hit down on the top and the bottom will cut through and make a hole.Cutting mat to put on your table to protect it from marks. A food cutting board works well.

Setting Eyelets – Step by Step Instructions

Step 1 – Punch a Hole

Using a leather or fabric hole punch, put a hole where you want the eyelet to be inserted. The hole should be slightly smaller than the inside of the eyelet. If the hole is larger, your eyelet will not last and may fall out.

Hole Punch ToolsHole Punch ToolsPinHole Punch Tools

While you can use a pair of scissors for setting eyelets in fabric, hole punches are much cleaner and less likely to result in frayed fabric. For fabric that frays, use some fray stop solution to make the eyelet last longer.

If your only option is to use scissors to make the hole, start by cutting poking a hole through with the end of a small sharp pair, and then carefully cut the hole a little bigger. Remember not to cut it larger than the diameter of the prong.

Step 2 – Insert the Eyelet

Insert the top of the eyelet into the hole. This is the larger piece. Keep in mind that the nice side of the eyelet with the smooth ring should be on top. This is what you will see in the finished product.

Step 3 – Setting the Washer

Flip your item over and put the washer over the eyelet prong at the back. Now use your setting tool to join the top to the washer. The setting tool will cause the end of the front prong to curl over the back ring and will keep it nice and secure.

Setting EyeletsSetting EyeletsPinSetting Eyelets

Types of Setting Tools – There are 3 main types of tools for setting eyelets. The one thing they all have in common is that the top and bottom washer of the eyelet will be squashed together.

Setting Eyelets ToolsSetting Eyelets ToolsPinSetting Eyelets Tools – Pliers, Commercial, Home UseEyelet Pliers – Designed for home use, they squeeze together. You`ll need strong hands! Ensure the top and bottom of the pliers are matched correctly and squeeze firmly. Commercial Cast Iron Setting Machines – You can swap out the setting plates to use these machines to set different sized eyelets, snaps and studs. These are heavy machines that are usually bolted to a solid table. Put the eyelet under the machine wrong side up and pull down hard on the lever. Home Use Setting Tools (2 separate parts). These setting tools often come in kits with eyelets and are used with a hammer. One tool will go on the bottom and the other on top. You may need to hit a few times. This is why you need a mat underneath and a solid surface. I often hit the eyelets on the floor with a cutting mat underneath. This is the tool I used in the photo below.

Setting Eyelets – in Conclusion

So that`s it for setting eyelets. It really is very easy and surprisingly fast! Here you can see the front and back of the eyelet. I think it is worth mentioning that the eyelets I used for this tutorial were cheap ones designed for fabric.

See how the back of the eyelet splits as it curls over. If you are using more expensive eyelets designed for leather and a commercial setting tool, the ring at the back is smooth and unsplit.

I thought this was worth mentioning in case you are going to sell some leather goods at a market or online. Leather is quite expensive so you want a nice finish.

How to Set EyeletsHow to Set EyeletsPinHow to Set Eyelets


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