View Full Version : Grommets/Eyelets?

10-17-2013, 01:18 AM
I've been working on my Halloween costume (Buttercup from the Princess Bride) and I have the dress basically finished except for the embellishments and the grommets where it laces in the front and back.

The problem is I suck at this sort of thing. I need 1/4 inch, and all I'm finding in the first place is eyelets, not proper grommets. I have eyelet pliers and a hammer tool, and I've tried numerous times and it just never works right. The sticky-uppy part (technical term) of the eyelet never bends over correctly. Instead it's just bending forward. I watched some videos on how to do this to make sure I was doing it right, and I'm following the same steps, holding the tool the same way, etc.

I can try to get new eyelet pliers, but they cost $26, and that's an awful lot for a tool that by most accounts isn't particularly great. Is there a secret trick I'm missing?

I'd kind of rather find real grommets as opposed to eyelets, but I've looked two places now and they only have grommets in the larger sizes. I'd hate to have such a pretty dress and ruin it because I can't get this right.

10-17-2013, 01:32 AM
I've had a virtually identical outcome with grommets and permanent snaps. There must be a much better and stronger machine that what's sold to us yokels.

But I also found a corsetry solution: small D-rings. You sew them securely on the flat side (I used a cautious zigzag on the machine) in pairs, and run your laces through them, on top of the garment. It's not historically accurate or anything, but it's certainly good enough for a costume corset or mock-corset.

I see that JoAnn.com's smallest D-rings are 3/4 inch, which is kind of large. You might do better at a crafts place like Michael's. (Their web site sucks--my search for D-rings turns up only framed posters.)

Or, if you can't find D-shaped rings, small circular metal anything could serve the same purpose.

Maryn, who gave away her grommet pliers years ago

10-17-2013, 01:56 AM
Could the tool be the wrong size for the eyelets? I've never had a problem with one or two part eyelets (although I have to admit to being unclear on the technical difference between grommets and eyelets) given a few practice runs on spare fabric. I've used the hammer method and pliers at different times. I suspect the correct size tool is crucial.

10-17-2013, 06:40 AM
I suspected that as well, though the hammer tool is the right size for certain because it came with them.

I just went to the hardware store and bought actual 3/4 grommets as opposed to eyelets (the hardware store is the only place I could find any. How crazy is that?). I just tried them out and man, talk about a billion times better. Even my pliers worked on them, but the problem there is that the pliers warped the front piece a bit, which is what I seem to recall being a problem ages ago as well. One of the videos I saw also complained of this.

I tried it with the hammer, and it worked much better. My hammer tool doesn't have the piece that pokes in the hole, and I have a feeling if it did it might work better, so I'm going to experiment a bit and see if I have something that might work as well, but even that works a billion times better with the actual grommets as compared to the eyelets. They actually stay in place, for one! The eyelets just fell right back off. I'm not sure what the difference is, but it really did make a difference. They're just not the color I want so I'm going to have to consider painting them or just dealing.

10-17-2013, 07:17 AM
I envy your dedication to metal grommets. They were so difficult when I first tried using them two years ago for costuming. I haven't looked back since hand-worked eyelets came into my life.

Here's to the rest of your grommets setting correctly!

10-20-2013, 11:16 AM
The one time I did eyelets I bought a plier tool (around $15 IIRC but it was years ago). I didn't have trouble getting the eyelets in, but the slightly sharp edges snagged the lace up and after a little wear some of the eyelets started to pop out of the fabric. :/ I favor the D-rings approach.

Alessandra Kelley
10-20-2013, 03:12 PM
I do not like the commonly sold eyelets. They have all seemed thin, cheaply made, and prone to splitting and ruining fabric. I have a little package of them in my basket labeled "absolute last resort, desperation only."

Grommets are much better than eyelets, in my experience. Tandy Leather sells smaller-sized grommet kits. There are also professional snap fastener suppliers online who sell grommet setters.

For historic corsets and old fashioned costuming I prefer to make sewn eyelet holes and/or buttonholes. This is a good bit of work by hand, but some sewing machines can do it.

Maryn's D-ring idea is a good one. Another is to make a sewn eyelet, but include a small metal ring under the sewing as reinforcement.

10-20-2013, 08:16 PM
I like the sew it in with a metal ring idea. If I can't get them to work in general I might have to do that. I don't have a ton of time, so if I can avoid hand sewing as much as possible, I'd like to do that. The bodice is already going to require a ton of hand sewing for all the trim and embellishments.

I picked up a different brand of eyelets to try, and I got some metal paint so I can paint the gold grommets silver if I need to. The grommets definitely work better than the eyelets. I just wish I had a better tool to use with them. At the very least, they'll look better than the eyelets, I think.

I'll try putting them in today and see how it goes.

10-20-2013, 10:55 PM
By the by, we'd sure like to see some pictures as you finish it. Or along the way.

Maryn, curious

10-20-2013, 11:15 PM
I'll post some. :) The dress looks really pretty so far. I'm hopeful.

10-24-2013, 12:28 AM
Wee! Okay, after much comparison shopping (yay, wasting 15 bucks!), I found that the Sew-ology eyelets work really well. I still prefer grommets in general, but the ones I found weren't the right color and would require painting, so this is better. The other brands I tried were just horrible, but these work exactly as they're supposed to. :)

10-24-2013, 12:46 AM