Sunday, February 28, 2016

Tutorial: Hand Bound Eyelets

Hey, another released tutorial! If you've mastered spiral lacing and are looking for a really special detail that takes your garment from Costume to Clothing, this is it! Why use grommets when you can have beautiful eyelets that compliment your garment, instead of detracting from it? 

These are somewhat old tutorials with equally old photos taken from a cellphone camera. In other words, please pardon their quality (or lack thereof).


Eyelets are an integral part of any costume. They close up a bodice and cinch a corset, and allow men to tie their hose and sleeves into their doublets. Eyelets are also more forgiving than buttonholes, allowing the wearer to adjust for weight fluctuations. Best of all, they’re easy to do! Once you’re into the swing of things, an eyelet can take only a few minutes to make, and is easy enough that you can sew them while watching reruns.

What You’ll Need:

Your garment
Thread (regular thread will do, embroidery floss or button twist is better)

Step 1: After figuring out proper eyelet placement, carefully jam your awl into your garment. Shove it in there, wiggle it around a bit, whatever you need to get it in. The reason an awl is so essential is that while a pair of scissors cuts threads, the awl will simply spread them apart, which helps maintain the garment’s strength.

Step 2: Pass your threaded needle up through the backside of the garment and make a running stitch around the hole you made with your awl, about 1/8” away. You can take the awl out or leave it in, for this.

Step 3: If you haven’t already done so, remove the awl, now. Pass your needle up through the hole and down through the fabric, covering up the running stitch you made. The eyelet hole will want to close up, so feel free to ram the awl back through as much as you need. Keep stitching through the hole and back down into the fabric.

Step Four: Once you have completed sewing your eyelet, flip your garment over so that the underside is facing you and tie a knot.
Pro Tip: For extra strength and durability, you can even add a metal ring over the eyelet hole and sew over and it and the fabric! Split rings (for jewelry) and solid rings are best. Jump rings will eventually spread under pressure.

You should be left with something like this. Do not worry about how neat/symmetrical/perfect your eyelet is – there are plenty of extant garments with sloppy eyelets. Imperfection is historically accurate! Once you get used to it, you’ll be an eyelet-making machine!

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