Putting Eyelets/Grommets in Fabric

  • January 20, 2023

If you have an application where you need to put eyelets or grommets into fabric, there are a few things to consider. Eyelets/ Grommets are metal fasteners inserted into fabric to strengthen the hole.  Eyelets or grommets can be used with or without washers depending on the material and the setting type that will be used. Since eyelets and grommets are set the same way, we will refer to just eyelets in this post.

Enclosed Holes

What are enclosed holes? If you think about taking a piece of fabric and cutting a hole in the fabric, the edges of where you have cut would be raw, causing the fabric to fray. On the other hand, when you sew button holes, thread wraps the raw edges of the fabric, thus containing the raw edge and preventing fraying. Similarly, when you insert an eyelet, the raw edge of the hole is wrapped in metal. This eliminates the chances of the  hole fraying and increasing in size. 

When Can Eyelets Be Used?

Eyelets are not the same as button holes. They are used in other ways such as:

  • Controlling the gathering on a garment that is adjustable
  • Drawstring waistbands cord exit points
  • Holes for lacing up corsets
  • Helping to tighten the tops of canvas rucksacks
  • Decoration on accessories, clothing and leather garments

How to Put Eyelets in Fabric

Some tools are needed to insert eyelets/grommets into fabric. Here are four options:

  • Hand Setters: A hand setter consists of a bottom die and a top die that are inserted in tool holders. A mallet is used to tap the eyelet until it is set. This is the most basic way of setting an eyelet and is only recommended for sample work. When using a mallet there is always the possibility that the eyelet can be under-set ( loose) or worse- overset (distorted). A hand setting kit has no mechanical stop which would ensure that the eyelet is set properly and exactly with the same setting pressure. 
  • Eyelet pliers:  Eyelet pliers are sometimes used for very small eyelets only because the setting process requires force to function properly. Most eyelet pliers jaws do not close flat to each other and the result is usually an inferior setting. 
  • Eyelet press or hand presses: Using a special eyelet press is the basic way to get the most flawless finish.  You can find an eyelet press that is reasonably priced that will give the same settings as a $5,000 automatic machine at a fraction of the price.  When choosing an eyelet press try to choose a machine that is accurate and one that has setting tools that slip in. An accurate machine is essential since a sloppy machine will cause excess wear on the setting tools and will not be able to use cut/set  type tooling. If you want a professional type setting but don't want to spend a lot of money, an eyelet press is the answer.
  •  Other Items Required for Inserting an Eyelet into Fabric

Apart from the professional equipment, here are some other things you may consider getting to perfect your skill of inserting an eyelet into a piece of fabric.

  • Always test your settings in a scrap piece of  fabric
  • Reinforce your  fabric if the fabric is very sheer to give your fabric a bit more structure to prevent the eyelet from pulling out or distorting it
  • Hole puncher is an easy way to help put holes into your fabric. In some instances it is better to pierce a hole in your fabric as this will result in a stronger setting

Get Your Setting Equipment and Eyelets from Siska Inc.

It is important to get good quality setting equipment and eyelets so that you do not compromise the quality of your fabric. Siska Inc. has a wide range of setters and eyelets that are top quality for you to choose from. Our highly trained staff can also help you find the best item for your project. Contact us today for more details.

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