Garment Construction

Clothing Repair: Sewing Hooks & Eyes, The Couture Way

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.

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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

Step 1:

To apply a standard wire hook begin by knotting the end of a double strand of thread that has been coated and ironed.

Step 2:

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.

locking stitch
Step 3:

Now place the hook over the stitch and with your thumb and forefinger hold the hook in place tightly.

stitch around hook stitch around hook 3-4 times

Step 4:

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.

Step 5:

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.

run thread through fabric to wire ring

Step 6:

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.

form blanket stitch   sewn with blanket stitch

Step 7:

Now run the needle under the fabric and into the center of the other ring. Repeat the blanket stitch process.

Step 8:

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.

Step 9:

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:

Step 1:

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.

Step 2:

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.

thread loop process  stitch thread loop

Step 3:

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.

needle thru loop  form blanket stitch

Step 4:

To lock the new loop in place stitch under the thread loop and create one more blanket stitch.

to lock loop

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23 Comments

Sheila

Exactly the way my mother and 4-H leaders taught me to do this job years ago.

Reply
Linda

Thank you.

Reply
Dolores Baber

Good clear instructions. The pictures are very helpful. Thankyou.

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FenellaF

Really helpful, thank you. The pictures are very clear too. Thanks a lot.

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linda

So glad this was helpful.

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Edra Moore

Just like Grandma taught me except for the ironing of the thread after using the bees wax. Will try that next time. Thank you for all your great advise!

Reply
Lidia

Thanks a lot, I have often wondered about it and now,,,I know. Very clear instructions, the photos are very helpful too!!

Reply
linda

Glad this is helpful. Thanks so much.

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Marina Garcia Solorzano

Everyone always knows how to do it, but in the precisely moment, everybody forgot the technique…VERY HELPFUL THANK YOU VERY MUCH…

Reply
linda

You are quite welcome. Hope it works for you.

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Marianne

Precisely as I was taught more years ago than I care to remember, excellent photo illustrations, I shall be looking for more guidance on this site, hopefully I shall find lining a dress WITH sleeves somewhere.

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Linda Reynolds

So glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for the tip on lining a dress with sleeves – that would make for a good post.

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Linda Reynolds

Good to know. Thanks for reading the post.

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joan forman

I’ve purchased bee’s wax but now I’m worrying about sewing on an ornamental hook and eye that will be on the front of the garment. Is it done the same way ?

Reply
Rhonda

I am making a chiffon and satin dress, the hook is at the top of the zipper at the waist. My question is should the hook face up or down for a smoother look?

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Bezcouture

Quite informative!!! Looking forward to more of such well explained tutorials. Weldone

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Katherine

Excellent clear instructions! I have now been able to fix one of my gowns without having to buy a new eye and learnt a new skill. Thanks!

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Abby

Thank you for the instructions! What size hook and eye would you recommend for the back of a skirt?

Reply
Unni

Is there any way to automate this? I am running a nighty stitching unit and majority of our time goes in fixing this hook. Just looking for a solution like how the button fixing machine works. Please do help me.

Reply

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