Whether you are sewing a hook & eye that has fallen off a high street garment or attaching one to a newly made project I wanted to share the technique I use for a neat and secure finish.
What is a hook & eye?
Hook and eyes are two small fasteners made from either wire (like the ones pictured here) or metal (larger and more secure). The hook, looks like a small hook and the eye is a eyelet (circle) shape.
Available in a variety of different sizes, from minuscule to large and colours (common colours include black, silver and white, other colours are available). It is recommended that you choose the best colour to blend in with your project and the smallest size possible.
Where can you use a hook & eye?
Hook and eyes are commonly used to fasten the top of dresses, tops, skirts and trousers above or instead of a zip fastening. However you will also find them in couture sewing on waist stays, lingerie and for fastening jackets.
Sometimes you might find it beneficial to use a hook alongside a thread chain eye, this can be less visible but isn’t as strong as the wire eye shown here.
How to position hook & eyes…
First let’s look at the position of a hook and eye. The position and number of hook and eyes you require will depend on where you are using them.
If you are using them above a zipper or to hold a garment closed I recommend you position them 1/8″ (3mm) from the edge of the fabric. The hook and eyes should not be visible from the front of the garment. Mark the position with chalk or a removable pen for ease.
Start by sewing the hook. I recommend using a double thread run through beeswax for added strength. I have a new YouTube tutorial that shows how I thread my needle with a double thread, a method that helps to prevent tangling: How To: Threading Needle with Double Thread.
Start by sewing a few stitches to secure the stitch on the line previously marked (1/8″ (3mm) from the edge of the fabric). Position the hook on top of the stitches you have sewn. Anchor the hook down by sewing over the bottom edge of the hook. Take the thread in and out of the fabric, either side of the wire front of the hook. Don’t go through to the right side of the fabric.
Once you have stitched the front of the hook in position a few times, you can move to the circular holes at either back of the hook. Take the thread into the fabric to stitch the last stitch across the front of the hook, come back up in the centre of the TOP circular hole.
Work with a buttonhole stitch to secure the hook in place, this is neater and more securer than a regular stitch. Stitch in and out either side of the wire edge. As you pull the thread through you will be left with a small loop. Take the needle through the loop from the front to the back. This is a buttonhole or blanket stitch. Complete the next stitch in the same manner, you will need 4-5 stitches to secure the circular hole.
Take the thread into the other circular hole, coming up in the centre. Complete the same buttonhole stitch on this side. How you finish the thread will depend on the garment you are working with, whether you can tie the thread off underneath or you have to sew over yourself / loose the thread.
Watch our detailed YouTube tutorial (How To: Buttonhole Stitch) on how to sew the buttonhole stitch.
Start by finding the correct position for the eye. Place the hook and eye together and line up the fabric so that the edges match. I would still recommend positioning the eye 1/8″ (3mm) away from the edge of the fabric. When you have the hook and eye connected it will look like you need to position the eye closer to the edge of the fabric. However when you are wearing a garment the edge will take some strain and you want the hook and eye to still be invisible when the fabric is being pulled slightly.
Position the eye in place and hold with tape (check this doesn’t damage your fabric). Stitch through the top then bottom circular hole in the same way you completed the buttonhole stitch for the hook.
To prevent the eye from moving I recommend stitching across the wire at the start of the eyelet shape. Stitch over the wire and into the fabric neatly about 2 times on either side. Finish the thread as before.
Check out our corresponding tutorial on YouTube for a detailed how to: How To: Sewing Hook & Eyes.