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grommeting question

Started by gypsylakat, May 12, 2008, 02:25:20 AM

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How much strength do grommets add to lacing? I have that bodice that I'm remaking and I put the first set of grommets in and apparently i screwed something up (I think i made the hole too big or the fabric frayed a little bit or something) so the grommets that i was going to leave silver because they looked awesome with contrast will now be bound with embroidery floss. Now I lost 2 completely (don't ask me how, it hasn't been worn at all, it's been moved a couple times but that's about it.) So, my question, How much structural strength do the grommets add? because I could just hand sew a few eyelet holes and be done with the project and my friend will be happy because she can wear it to her larp on saturday. Or I could go get some new grommets and put them in and bind them and see when I get done (just because I don't know when I would get the grommets and have a paper to do before that)

I was basically just wondering wether ya'll thought it was worth it to use grommets and bind them?

Also, is there any way to make the binding even on both sides (the embroidery floss around the grommets) because the bodice is technically reversible, I don't necessarily see her wearing the black side due to the new side's awesomeness but she might, I don't want it to be horribly obvious that they are bright silver grommets covered in black floss...
"A kiss can be a comma, a question mark or an exclamation point.
That's basic spelling that every woman ought to know."


my experience with grommets is primarily from use with leather. when the grommets are properly attached they lesson the change of the lace pulling through the eyelet.  i would think that true even more so when used with fabric,  depending on how much tension the laces are exerting on the eyelets (how tight it fits, is anyone is going to breath while wearing it?) and how strong the fabric is.  if the holes are too big for the grommets (and your missing a couple anyway) i would think get larger size grommets.  as well as the silver i've seen them  brass, brown, black, white.  good luck



My experience with both single part grommets and two part metal eyelets in fabric is that sooner or later they WILL fail.  You are MUCH better sewing them.

I have an eyelet plate for my Husqvarna sewing machine, and intend to get the eyelet kit to fit my Bernina 1005.  Pfaff also do one.  The Phaff and HV eyelets plates both come in two sizes, snap into the machine bed and are inexpensive.  The Bernina kit is much more expensive, but comes with several sizes and cutters included.

You can see how the eyelet plate for the HV Lily works here on my web site:

If you cannot get an eyelet plate or kit for your machine (not many do them, I'm afraid.  I think these three are the only ones at present), then there are good instructions on the web for sewing them by hand.  Once you get into the swing of it, they really don't take long.  Here are a couple:

A word of warning:
DO NOT be tempted to use the built in embroiderd eyelets many machines come with: these are for light weight embroidered decorative use, not for the thicknesses of fabric or the strain that corset, bodice, and even sleeve use gets.

For sewing eyelets I tend to use either YLI 100 weight silk thread, or rayon or poly embroidery thread.  The higher gloss and mono filament construction means that it is much smoother than cotton and more resistant to abrasion by the laces.  For smaller machine made eyelets in loose weave fabrics, you can manage to poke large enough holes with an awl, but for most you do have to cut the holes.  With properly stitched edges, this is never a problem and I've never had a cut stitched eyelet fail.  It's best to go round twice: set the machine to a narrow zz first, and then go round again with a slightly wider stitch.  This is where the multiple stitch widths/infinitely variable stitch width of my HV and Bernina really pay off!  ;D


Handsew the eyelets!!  I had a lot of difficulties with grommets and finally gave in and tried sewing eyelets.  I WILL NEVER GO BACK TO GROMMETS!!!  It take some extra time but it is well worth the effort and you can choose if you want to eyelets to blend or stand out.  I've cut holes and used a skewer and chopstick to make holes (just depends on the fabrics) and I usually go around the hole 2 or 3 times with the thread.
Got faerie dust?


A few things I've learned while grommeting:

1) Use good quality grommets, and a good grommeting kit, most importantly. I use plain washer #1 silver grommets from here-->  Spur grommets pull out much easier.  I  use the C.S. Osborne Midget Plain Washer Grommet Setter from that site as well. A rubber mallet and a rubber pad for underneath, and away you go. If you're using a handheld eyelet/grommet setter like from joann's, etc, they are a huge pain in the butt.  I'm not sure which kind you are using, sounds like you might be using a good setter already.

2) Use an appropriate grommet size for the amount of pressure you expect to have on the lacings.  I recommend either size 0 or 1.  Too small and the grommets with yank out with the first pressure you put on them.

3) Do not make the hole you precut any larger than the smallest lacing whole through the grommet. Very important. I set my grommets out on my bodice and then use a pen to trace the circle of the lacing whole onto the fabric, then use good quality embroidery scissors to cut the circle I've marked.

4) If you're not using strong enough fabric, grommets will pull out anyway. Be sure to use a good, strong backing to your bodice such as cotton duck if you aren't already. Cotton duck has great holding power.

If you've used reasonably small grommets, size 00 or 0, you may just want to go a size up and that may salvage the garment without too much damage and frustration. Hope everything works out!

Lady Kathleen of Olmsted

I continue to take the easy way out. I have an excellent Shoe Repair place inn town that does all my grommeting for me. Never had I had one pop out in 7 years I have been going to him. Often, I will match the thrad with the fabric and sew over the grommets.  The thicknesses of the fabrics for Bodices and Corsets require stronger tools and machinery.

Each has their particular method. This is mine.
"As with Art as in Life, nothing succeeds like excess.".....Oscar Wilde


The bodice started out as a random fashion fabric, probably polyester, and stretchy, it tore at the back about 3 cm's from the center, so i cut it and lined it with twill and then put a layer of fashion fabric on the outside (not sure exactly what it's made of, she found it and wanted it so I didn't bother argruing at all) it's like a thick silky brocade. I used just the hand setter for the eyelets, because we're on a budget lol I'm probably just going to go back over and hand sew the ones that are out and go over the ones i've already got grommets in as well with embroidery floss, I already did that to the 8 at the front as a short cut for ripping out the existing grommets but still making it lace there...

"A kiss can be a comma, a question mark or an exclamation point.
That's basic spelling that every woman ought to know."


OH and i'll be hand sewing the eyelets lol... borrowing my bf's mom's sewing machine, we get along pretty well but there's no manual to see quite what she can do....
"A kiss can be a comma, a question mark or an exclamation point.
That's basic spelling that every woman ought to know."


Grommets really don't add structural strength to a garment (beyond protecting it from abrasion by the laces), because you've cut a hole in the fabric.  Holes = weakness.  A properly done hand-sewn eyelet (where the hole is enlarged, not punched) will be stronger.

That said, I've never had any grommet problems (and I've used both cheap and quality grommets.  Obviously I prefer the quality ones, but still).  One key is to make sure the holes are smaller than the grommet (by a bit, even).  It should take some effort to push the grommet into the hole.  I use the punch that came with my grommet kit, and then clean up the hole with embroidery scissors.

Likewise, boning (in nice, tight boning channels) on either side of the grommets will take quite a bit of strain off the fabric under the grommets.

I want to say that given the problems you've described with this bodice, I'm wondering if it's just too cheaply made, even with the improvements you've done.  It sounds as if it was made with fabrics that were never meant to take the strain of wear (no part of a bodice should stretch).


exactly the problem i think gem... but i think the grommet problem was all me, i'm pretty sure I made the holes to big and cut them a little bit to get them started and that i think is a lot of the problem, because of the embroidery or whatever done on the new fabric. Where it is pulling away is because of the embroidery thread being a frayed... So i'll be hand binding all of those grommets as soon as i get some more black embroidery thread and grab a couple jump rings from work to get a good circle shape for the 6 I still need to put in. woot.
"A kiss can be a comma, a question mark or an exclamation point.
That's basic spelling that every woman ought to know."


interesting how sewing the eyelets is rating the preferred method.

one thing i should have added in my earlier post was i used
a dye-cut hole-punch, two piece grommets and a grommet press
with that setup i had very good and lasting results.

similar to these. .

shy of investing in the above medium duty machine, Lady Kathleen's solution
(having the grommets professionally affixed) seems like the way to go if grommets are desired.


Willn, I think the difference here is as you noted in your earlier post: fabric vs leather, and how they take strain differently.


My 2 cents is this:  just one layer of twill in the grommet has never been enought to lace a bodice with. It won't take the pressure. I always have at least 2 layers of twill or canvas in the grommet area, even if it means adding an extra strip of scrap canvas between layers.


I cut my holes small enough that I have to work to get the grommet through and  I always use the 2 piece grommets. I also have a minimum of 4 layers at the grommet area (2 of which are heavyweight) and if I have any doubt in my mind the fashion fabric is prone to fraying, I dab fabric glue around the hole before I push the grommet through and set it with a grommet press (hammering gives me a migraine!).
I can't take credit from the glue idea, it came from someone on the 'old' forum, but it works!!! Used the glue technique on my corset, which to be honest gets extreemly stressed by the ladies it must hold in containment  ;), and not a single grommes has so much as budged!


I should mention as well, that as long as the young lady I made this for doesn't lace men into her bodice (again!) it won't be too much of a strain on her... we're trying to get her to eat, she's sooo itty bitty....
"A kiss can be a comma, a question mark or an exclamation point.
That's basic spelling that every woman ought to know."