A few posts ago, I mentioned that I'd modified a dress by removing the zipper and adding eyelets so that the dress would fit more comfortably and also to change the look a bit. The young lady to whom it belongs was very happy with the new changes.
Today I thought I'd write a tutorial on how to add eyelets. Let's begin with the tools: I've assembled several items: not all are absolutely necessary, but they'll make the process a bit easier. You'll need a hammer (not shown) scissors, measuring tape or ruler, pencil, small block of wood, hole punch and eyelets. The needle-nose pliers and eyelet tool are great additions if you have them.
The eyelet tool that I show here is great because it both cuts and applies the eyelets, but it's rather expensive. That said, I wouldn't purchase one unless I planned to use it many times. If you do make the purchase, be careful to purchase the right size for your project. This one is too small the eyelets that I used on the dress I wrote about. It does apply two sizes of very small eyelets though.
Another option is to use the smaller tool that often comes with the eyelets packaged as a kit. The open end cuts the hole and the other end bends the eyelet piece.
Let's begin, shall we? I recommend that you make your first attempts on some scrap fabric of the same weight and thickness as your real project.
Eyelets come in pairs. One piece has a longer shank than the other, this is the one that goes on the right side of the garment.
Begin by punching a hole in the fabric exactly where you want the eyelet. When working on a garment, you should first carefully measure and mark the fabric. Generally, the eyelets are equally spaced just as in marking buttonholes.
The small tool above has two different ends: a sharp one with a hole, which cuts the hole in the fabric, and a solid end that bends and shapes the eyelet pieces so that will lock in place. To cut the hole place the fabric on the block of wood, place the tool on top of the fabric so that the mark is in the center of the hole. Use the hammer to tap the tool into the fabric.
Slide the long-shank eyelet into the hole. Turn the fabric over and put the eyelet on the block of wood to protect your work surface. Add the short-shank eyelet on top of the first eyelet piece. They will fit one inside the other.
Now put the tool on top so that the solid end fits into the two eyelet pieces. Hold level and tap with hammer. This time you'll have to tap fairly hard. When the eyelet seems to be finished, test by trying to pull the two pieces apart. The finished eyelet should be tight against the fabric all the way around the edges. If there is space left around the edges, you will need to add stabilizer or interfacing to the fabric.
It definitely takes some practice.
The end result, though, can be stunning!