“Did you know that the humble hook and eye is one of the oldest and most reliable forms of fastening garments?”
If you’re a sewing enthusiast, you’ve likely come across hook and eye closures.
They’re the perfect fastener for a myriad of garments, often used at the top of a zipper, especially at the neck of a blouse or dress. However, their utility extends beyond that, finding their place in sleeves, collars, belts, and even lingerie closures.
The best part? They’re incredibly easy to sew onto your garment yourself!
We’re diving into how to sew hook and eye because it’s a skill that can elevate your sewing projects from good to great.
What is a Hook and Eye and Why Use It?
A hook and eye is a simple, yet effective closure used to fasten garments, from dresses to trousers. The ‘hook’ is a small metal bar, while the ‘eye’ is a small loop. When fastened, they form overlapping closures that lie flat and are virtually invisible.
But why use a hook and eye?
Well, they’re perfect for providing a secure closure on garments where a zipper or button might not work. They’re commonly found at the top of zippers, on waistbands, and on delicate fabrics where other types of closures might be too heavy.
Before we get started, let’s gather our materials:
Having the right materials at hand will make the process smoother and more enjoyable. Remember, sewing is not just about the end product, but also the journey. Each stitch, your thread loops, well-secured hook and eye closures… these are all a testament to your growth as a sewist or tailor.
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Sew Hook and Eye
Preparing the Fabric
Start by identifying where you want to place the hook and eye on your garment. Typically, they’re used on overlapping edges of fabric.
Mark the position of the hook and eye on the underside (“wrong side”) of the fabric about 1/8 inches (0.32cm) away from the fabric’s edge using a fabric marker or a simple straight stitch. This is your first step towards creating a secure closure for your garment.
Note that in some cases (for example, when you have overlapping seams) you’ll use a metal bar closure rather than an eye
Sewing the Hook
Thread your hand sewing needle with a double thread for extra strength (approx. 16-18 inches). Knot the end of the thread.
Begin by placing an anchor where you’ve marked your fabric with a tiny double stitch. Position the hook on the fabric, aligning the round part of the hook with the edge of the fabric.
Be sure not to push your needle all the way through the fabric, as we don’t want the stitches to be seen on the outside of the fabric. Instead, pass the needle through one of the round loops of the hook. You’re going to “pop” the knotted thread by pulling it until the knot is secure.
You’ll stitch around the two round loops with a blanket stitch (if you prefer, you can use a buttonhole stitch). Don’t immediately pull your thread taut, but push the needle through the thread loops you’ve created to form a knot.
Repeat this process until the hook is firmly attached.
Remember, the key to a secure hook is making sure each stitch is tight and secure. Don’t rush this process – take your time to ensure each stitch is perfect.
Sewing the Eye
Next, position the eye on the opposite end of the fabric (a tiny double stitch works here, as well), ensuring it aligns with the hook when the fabric edges overlap.
As with the hook, you’re going to use a blanket stitch around the two round loops to secure the eye. Blanket stitches tend to be more secure than straight stitches and look nicer.
If your eye is secured by a metal bar, then you’re going to use overhand whip stitches or sew buttonhole stitches around the metal bars of the eye until securely attached.
Remember, we don’t want a single stitch to show on the outside of the garment.
Take your time with this step. The eye is just as important as the hook in creating a secure closure. Each stitch should be tight and secure, ensuring the eye won’t come loose with wear.
Securing the Hook and Eye
Once both the hook and eye are sewn, secure the thread by tying a knot close to the fabric. Trim any excess threads. Check the closure to ensure the hook and eye fasten correctly and lie flat.
This is your moment of triumph – you’ve successfully sewn a hook and eye! But we’re not done yet. There’s always room for improvement and refinement in sewing, so let’s move on to some tips and tricks.
Tips for Sewing a Hook and Eye
Always use a thread that matches your fabric to ensure the stitches blend in.
If you’re working with a heavy fabric, consider using a twisted wire hook and eye for added strength.
For a couture touch, you can create a thread loop instead of using a metal eye. This involves creating a series of buttonhole stitches to form a handmade eyelet.
Practice makes perfect. Don’t be discouraged if your first few attempts don’t turn out perfect. Keep practicing, and you’ll get the hang of it.
What are the different types of hooks and eyes?
Regular Hook and Eye: This is the standard and most widely used type. It consists of a small metal hook on one side and a loop on the other side. The hook is inserted into the loop to secure the garment edges together.
Covered Hook and Eye: These hooks and eyes are the same as the regular ones, but they have a fabric covering, which provides a neater and more aesthetically pleasing appearance. They are often used in delicate or formal garments.
Flat Hook and Eye: Flat hooks and eyes are designed to lie flat against the fabric, making them less noticeable than regular ones. They are commonly used in bras, corsets, and other lingerie items.
Wide Hook and Eye: This type features a wider hook and loop, providing a more substantial closure. It is often used in heavy garments, such as coats or jackets.
Invisible Hook and Eye: Invisible hooks and eyes are specifically designed to be discreet and nearly invisible when the garment is closed. They are commonly used in formalwear and high-end garments.
Slide Hook and Eye: Slide hooks and eyes consist of a hook with multiple positions that can slide along a small bar. This feature allows for adjustable sizing, making them ideal for garments that may require some flexibility.
Ball and Socket Hook and Eye: This type features a ball-shaped hook that fits into a socket-shaped loop. It provides a secure closure and is often used in heavy-duty garments like leather jackets.
Remember, the choice of hook and eye closure will depend on the type of garment, fabric, and desired aesthetic.
What size hook and eye do I need?
To determine the size of the hook and eye you need, you should consider the following factors:
Garment Type: The type of garment you’re working on will influence the size of the hook and eye. For example, smaller hooks and eyes are commonly used for delicate lingerie and lightweight fabrics, while larger ones are suitable for heavy outerwear like coats and jackets.
Fabric Weight: The weight and thickness of the fabric play a crucial role in choosing the appropriate size. Thicker fabrics may require larger and sturdier hooks and eyes to ensure a secure closure.
Placement: Consider where the hook and eye will be placed on the garment. For a more discreet closure, you might opt for smaller and less conspicuous hook and eye sets.
Design Preference: Your design preference can also impact the choice of hook and eye size. If you want the closure to be more noticeable, you might choose larger and decorative options.
Functionality: Ensure that the size of the hook and eye is appropriate for the intended function. The closure should hold the garment securely without causing any strain on the fabric.
As a general guide, hook and eye sets are often available in various sizes, usually measured by the distance between the two points where they attach on the garment. Common sizes range from 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch (approximately 1.3 cm to 1.9 cm). However, you may find other sizes as well, depending on the brand and manufacturer.
If you’re unsure about the size to choose, it’s always a good idea to test the hook and eye on a scrap piece of fabric similar to the garment you’re working on. This way, you can evaluate the fit, functionality, and overall appearance before applying it to your actual garment.
Which side do you sew an eye and hook?
The general rule is to sew the hook on the side where the garment opens, and the eye on the opposite side where the garment closes.
Conclusion: How to Sew a Hook and Eye
Mastering how to sew a hook and eye is a valuable skill that can add a professional finish to your sewing projects. Remember, practice makes perfect. With a bit of patience and practice, you’ll be sewing hooks and eyes like a pro in no time.
Remember, sewing is not just about the end product, but also the journey. Each stitch, each thread loop, each secured hook and eye is a testament to your growth as a seamstress or tailor. So, keep experimenting, keep learning, and most importantly, keep sewing!
That’s it for today’s guide on how to sew a hook and eye. Stay tuned for more practical and actionable sewing tips and tutorials. Happy sewing!