A hook and eye are used as an out-of-sight closure on garments. Heavy-duty hook and eyes are used on the waistband of men's trousers. This closure lays flat and provides a strong secure hold.
Smaller hook and eyes are used on garments to prevent gaps such as at the top of a zipper. The zipper rarely goes to the very edge of the garment because it would be unsightly and uncomfortable. By adding a hook and eye closure above a zipper, you can keep the same seam line and prevent a gap at the top of the zipper. In some cases, such as a tight-fitting garment, the hook and eye may help to hold the garment together while other closures, such as a zipper, are being closed.
You don't need to use both parts of a hook and eye. In many cases, a thread arrangement is used for the eye rather than the metal counterpart. The thread arrangement tends to lay smoother and is less conspicuous. For a thread eye, you can use a buttonhole loop eye or a thread chain eye.
Color choices of hook and eyes are very limited. Black and silver are usually the only available options. Use silver for light-colored fabric and black for dark fabric.
Pointers for sewing a hook and eye:
- Always use a quality thread to sew on a hook and eye. The thread will be riding against the fabric and metal which can destroy poor quality thread and your closure in the process.
- Always check to see that the metal is smooth. This will very rarely be a problem, but a burr on the metal will destroy the thread and can snag the delicate fabric.
Equipment / Tools
- Hook and eye
- Matching thread
Sewing the Hook
Hook and eyes of all forms have holes that exist to sew the hook or eye on to the fabric.
The hook section is always sewn to the overlapping top piece of fabric or inside of the garment. The hook is placed so it will not be seen on the outside of the garment but near the end of the area, it's going to hold in place. The eye is sewn to the part that is going to overlap onto the outside of the garment.
- Thread a hand sewing needle and knot the thread. Use a double thread unless the fabric is very delicate.
- Bury the knot under the location of the hook or by bringing the needle in and under the hook location.
- Sew the holes on the end of the hook to the fabric using simple in and out loops of thread or with a buttonhole/blanket stitch. A minimum of six pieces of thread on each part of the hook and the eye is advisable. More or less can be used depending on the strength of the thread or the delicacy of the fabric and thread.
- Sew the neck of the hook to the fabric. On a heavy-duty hook, use the holes at the hook end of the hook. On a delicate hook, sew the neck down to the fabric, just under the hook to keep the hook laying on the fabric.
- Sew a couple of tack stitches to end the sewing.
- Knot the thread and cut the thread.
Sewing the Eye
Sewing a metal eye:
Eyes of a hook and eye closure come in straight and loop versions. A straight eye is used when the hook will overlap the eye, such as a waistband. A loop type of eye is used when two ends will butt against each other without overlapping, such as at the top of a zipper with a facing.
- Lay the garment flat and position the eye so the garment lays flat with the eye in the hook.
- Sew the metal loops to the fabric in the same manner that you sewed the hook.
- On a loop eye, sew the loop down to the fabric at the end of the fabric, if the loop exceeds the edge of the fabric.
Sewing a buttonhole loop eye:
A buttonhole loop type of thread eye is stronger than a thread chain eye because more thread is attached directly to the fabric. This type of thread eye works well when the hook and eye will be under stress in a fitted garment. For example, a fitted gown that has a side seam with an invisible zipper would benefit from this type of eye because it is unobtrusive but strong enough to withstand holding the garment together while the zipper is closed.
- Thread a sewing needle with a double or single thread, depending on the durability and weight of the fabric you are sewing.
- Anchor the thread at the desired end of the eye location.
- Create a loop by bringing the needle down into the opposite desired end of the eye.
- Repeat to have four to six strands of thread loops.
- Bring the needle to the top of the fabric, at one end of the loops.
- Wrap the thread loops, creating a thread loop that the thread is brought through, similar to a blanket stitch, repeating to cover and secure the thread loops.
- After covering the entire thread loop, anchor the thread at the end of the thread loop, knot off the thread and cut.
Sewing a thread chain eye:
A thread chain eye is advisable on a delicate fabric or closure. The thread chain is strong enough for the regular hook without being obtrusive.
- Depending on the desired durability and how delicate the fabric is, thread a hand sewing needle with a single or double thread.
- Anchor the thread at one end of the desired location of an end of the eye.
- Sew a single stitch keeping a loop of the thread and guide the thread through the loop, creating a new loop in the process.
- Keep working the thread and loops until the chain is the desired length of the eye you want.
- For the final loop, draw the thread and needle through the loop.
- Anchor the thread at the opposite end of the desired eye.
- Knot and cut the thread.
No-Sew Hook and Eyes
No-sew hook and eyes are available in the notion section of a well-stocked fabric store. These are heavy-duty hook and eyes that require no sewing to attach them. But they are not a replacement to mend a hook or eye which has become detached unless you have access to the inside of the garment to hide the backing on the no-sew hook and eye.
The back of the packaging has complete directions to properly attach the no-sew hook and eyes. Instructions explain how the prongs on the hook and the eye penetrate the fabric and the way in which a backing piece is attached and the prongs are bent to hold the combination in place.