Eyelets and Grommets can be a bit tricky if you’re unfamiliar with using them. Certain fabrics won’t hold them well, but there are a few things you can do to make any fabric the right fabric!
Tip #1: Have “Proper” Tools
This may sound like a no brainer, but with the *proper tools, your eyelet and grommet application will end much more satisfactory!
For perfect eyelet and grommet application, I always have a pair of small, sharp sewing scissors, a needle clay tool, a leather stitching awl, and the setter and anvil that sized for the eyelets or grommets I’m using.
*Some of the tools I recommend are by no means “proper” for eyelets and grommets (like the clay and leather tools), but they have always worked very well for me and have made my eyelet/grommet application much better quality than without.
The needle clay tool and leather stitching awl make poking holes for small eyelet a breeze! I simply use the needle to start a small hole, then use the awl to widen it.
The small sewing scissors are useful for when you need a slightly bigger hole. By using a small pair, you have more control and are less likely to cut to far.
Tip #2: Use Interfacing
This ESPECIALLY goes for it you’re using a fabric that has any kind of stretch to it! If your fabric stretches, the eyelets/grommets won’t be able to hold on to it when it stretches with use and they’ll eventually fall out. Grommets will have a better time than eyelets will, but they’re still likely to fall out eventually, even if they seem secure at first.
I personally like to use a heavy or medium weight iron on interfacing. You can use sew on as well, but I feel that iron on gives an added bit of security.
Below is an example of a grommet applied WITHOUT interfacing. As you can see, the fabric pulls right away from the grommet when stretched.
Tip #3: Use Fabric Glue
Fabric glue can help when you’re using fabric that frays easily. My personal favorite is Liquid Stitch, but you can use any kind.
After I’ve poked/cut my hole for the eyelet or grommet, I use my needle tool to apply a small amount of glue around the edges of the hole.
Then, while the glue is still wet, I stick the eyelet or grommet through. Not only will the glue will keep the fabric from fraying, but it will also stick to the eyelet/grommet, making the bond even stronger!
Then, still while the glue is wet, I use the setter and anvil to close the eyelet/grommet as per the directions.
Tip #4: Have a Soft Touch and Be Precise.
When closing your eyelets/grommets, you’ll need to pound the anvil down with a hammer or mallet (I use a regular hammer). Using too much force to close your eyelets/grommets can cause the metal to be crushed and bent out of shape. Furthermore, if you pound the eyelet at an angle, rather than straight down, you’ll also have a very sad looking and weak end product.
Be sure to pound softly and straight down, and you’ll be fine!
Tip #5: Dots Mark the Spot
The last thing you want is to get all your eyelets or grommets in, only to see that they’re all off center and unevenly spaced. To make a perfect row every time, measure it out and mark your spots!
I usually use a white pastel pencil, but you can use a number of things, like chalk or fabric markers. Typically your dots should be covered up by the eyelets or grommets, so you shouldn’t be able to see them once you’re done.
Once you have it all marked out, just poke your holes and proceed!