Next to buttons, hooks and eyes are one of the most common garment repairs most people do. Those secured to commercially made garments seem to be there only temporarily as most are poorly sewn and come loose fairly quickly.
The reason is, most are sewn by machines that either don’t lock them in place or are locked insufficiently. When sewn on properly, by hand, they should remain secure for the life of the garment.
And with a little helpful instruction, you can learn how to sew hooks and eyes the right way — by hand.
Types of notions
Hooks and eyes are sold in two basic styles and come in a wide variety of sizes to suit every need and use. The wire version is the most common while the die cut metal ones are designed to withstand more durable wear. These are the ones most typically found used as waistband closures on pants and skirts.
The different methods
There are two ways to hand sew hooks and eyes to garments — the easy, rather straightforward way and what is considered the ‘couture’ way. The primary difference is one looks prettier than the other. And, as you may have already guessed, the pretty one requires a bit more care to sew. Both, however, if sewn well, should stay secure on the garment.
This tutorial focuses on applying hooks and eyes using the couture method. It will also illustrate how to make thread loops that often stand in place of the corresponding metal eyes.
Before you begin…
Whether applying the wire or metal versions always start with a double strand of good thread that has been pulled through some beeswax. Next, press the coated thread with a hot iron to fuse the wax to the thread. This strengthens the thread and will help prevent it from knotting up as you sew. The key to well applied hooks and eyes is securing the thread in place both at the start and end of the process.
How-to: Attaching the hooks and eyes the “couture” way
To apply a standard wire hook begin by knotting the end of a double strand of thread that has been coated and ironed.
Determine where the hook should sit and run a tiny double stitch to secure the knotted thread. Make sure the stitch does not penetrate to the public side of the garment. This anchors the hook in place for a strong hold.
Now place the hook over the stitch and with your thumb and forefinger hold the hook in place tightly.
Stitch around the inside of the hook three to four times. This will secure it in place so it rests firmly on the garment and will hold it in place while the remainder of the hook is sewn.
Run the thread under the hook and through the underside of the fabric and then up into the center of the top hole.You don’t want to running thread to show so carefully run it under the fabric.
To stitch around the wire rings of both the hook and eye, stitch around the top wire ring and when the needle comes through the center of the ring direct to through the thread loop that is formed. This begins the process of stitching the wire rings with a blanket stitch. Repeat this process as many times as necessary to secure the ring. For a small hook 3 or 4 times is plenty.
Now run the needle under the fabric and into the center of the other ring. Repeat the blanket stitch process.
To lock the stitches in place draw the needle back up to the top of the hook. Make one more stitch but finish it by directing the thread through the loop to lock it in place.
To apply the corresponding eye, place the eye onto the hook to determine its location. Unhook them and then tape the eye in place to keep it from moving about when sewing. Be sure to leave the two wire rings free of tape. Then repeat the same blanket stitch process used for the hook to secure the eye in place.
How to sew thread loops:
Thread loops are often used to replace the metal eyes for a cleaner more couture look. Begin by securing a knotted, double strand of thread with a double stitch in the location of the intended thread loop.
Make four consecutive stitches all in the same place less than ¼” long. This forms the base of the thread loop. Adjust the length for a larger or smaller than average wire or metal hook. Also, don’t make these stitches too loose. They should be snug, but not tight.
Starting at the top of the loop, direct the needle (blunt end first) under the stitched thread loop. Then direct the needle through the loop the strand of thread creates. This once again is the process of creating a blanket stitch. Repeat this process until the thread loop is covered.
To lock the new loop in place stitch under the thread loop and create one more blanket stitch.
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