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How to Incorporate Grommets into Your DIY Clothing Projects

Grommets in clothing have been making fashion statements for the past few decades, and there is no limit to the number of ways you can use them in your DIY clothing projects. Discover how to incorporate grommets into your wardrobe with this comprehensive guide to grommets and fashion.

The Different Kinds Of Grommets For Clothing

grommets on the left with

If you want to use more grommets in your DIY sewing projects, clothing is a great place to start. You can practice with your old jeans and tops to understand how grommets can be used and what methods appeal to your sense of fashion.

Clothing is manufactured from various materials and fabric types, from heavy-duty leather and denim to lightweight fabrics like mesh and tulle. You can use grommets with any material, and there is no limit to the possibilities for incorporating grommets in your clothing projects.

Every project is unique, and it’s important to remember that you have to use the right type of grommet for your material and project. Learn more about the different kinds of grommets for clothing before experimenting with this fun fashion embellishment.

Rolled Rim Grommets

Rolled-rim grommets are made of thick metal and are often used with heavy materials. They are also helpful with mesh fabrics like nylon netting because the teeth in the spur washers help keep loosely woven material in place.

Rolled rim grommets with spur washers are available in sizes #1 through #6, and they are perfect for clothing projects like jackets and accessories.

Extra Long Neck Grommets

Grommets with extra-long necks are the best choice when you’re looking for grommets for thick leather and other heavy-duty materials. Some long-neck grommets come with a longer neck grommet, and some come with a longer neck washer. Either way, they provide the length you need to make it through thick materials or multiple layers of fabric.

Extra long neck grommets for clothing have a ¼” post length and are available in sizes #000 to #0. They are ideal for ensuring the grommet doesn't come undone or rip through the fabric, and they are frequently used in dresses, shoes, belts, and handbags.

Two-piece Grommets

Unlike eyelets, which are one piece of hardware, two-piece grommets can be made from various materials and used in multiple ways. These plain washers are easy to set with an anvil and setter tool kit, perfect for light-duty applications to add decorative elements to your DIY clothing projects.

Metal two-piece grommets are available in several finishes, including brass, nickel, and gunmetal. They can be set with a heavy-duty hand press for streamlined installation, using the correct sized die and hole punch. For heavier-duty applications, pair them with a rolled-rim washer.

Self-piercing Grommets

Because self-piercing grommets have sharp edges that punch through the fabric, you don’t have to cut holes before setting your grommets. When setting many grommets, eliminating this step can make your work go much faster.

Self-piercing grommets use small tooth washers, which help grab the fabric and keep it in place. Since they are easy to use and more durable than plain grommets, self-piercing grommets are the go-to choice for various projects, from backpacks and tents to jeans and flags. They are designed to work with manual grommet press machines for one-step installation.

How To Install Grommets To Fabric

How to install grommets to fabric written on the left with a grommet in jean fabric on the right

Grommets look great when they are installed correctly. Follow this step-by-step guide to achieve professional results when adding grommets to your next clothing project.

Choose the Right Grommeting Tool

Start by choosing the right tool for grommet installation. Whether you use an inexpensive anvil and setter tool kit or a heavy-duty hand press, you need a solid surface.

If you’re using a manual grommet press, consider bolting it to a counter in your sewing room to provide more stability. Grommet pliers are one of the easiest tools for setting grommets in clothing and can be used anywhere.

How to Install Grommets with a Grommet Tool Kit

Start by measuring where your grommets will be placed, and mark the holes for cutting out the fabric. If you’re using scissors or a craft knife, trace inside the grommet hole on the fabric and cut around the line. You can also use a hole punch die to make perfectly round holes.

Working from the back of your project, insert the grommet (the male end) by pushing it up through the fabric hole. Then, place the washer on top. With the anvil under the grommet and the setter on top of the washer, tap the setter firmly a few times with a hammer to secure the grommet. Make sure you protect your work surface with a piece of backer board.

How to Install Grommets with a Hand Press

After you mark your grommet locations on your project, use a hole punch die to cut out the grommet holes in your hand press. Insert the grommet on the bottom of the die and the washer on the top.

With the back of your project facing up, place the fabric hole over the grommet and lower the hand lever to apply pressure and secure the grommet and washer in place.

The Many Possibilities When It Comes To Clothing and Fashion

someone measuring fabric on the right and

Grommets have been used in the apparel and fashion industry since the 1400s. The first metal eyelet was recorded in 1769, but grommets were made from corded rope long before that.

Until relatively recently, grommets were only used in undergarments and shoes. In the early 1900s, grommets were used in corsets, chemises, and petticoats to provide ventilation or attach hip pads and bustles.

During the latter part of the 1900s, grommets in clothing started to earn their place as a fashion trend, showcasing their decorative possibilities on jeans and leather biker jackets and giving them a punk, edgy look.

Over the past few decades, grommets have continued to rise in popularity. Fashion designers have introduced innovative ways to use them in garments and accessories. From jackets to shoes and dresses, grommets add a unique look that blends modern and traditional clothing styles.

Jackets

Grommets can be used to add an industrial edge to jackets, with the combination of grommets and leather being trendy. Another favorite is using grommets as decorative accents on denim jackets.

Leather

Grommets and leather go hand in hand, and whether you’re making leather jewelry or a leather purse, grommets add both functionality and style. Grommets can be used to create different design patterns and give leather accessories a punk, edgy look. When strategically placed with decorative stitching, grommets transform your leather projects.

Denim

Blue jean denim is a great way to make a fashion statement, and grommets enhance the style of denim. You can upcycle old denim clothes by adding grommets and drawstrings at seams, on pockets, or down the leg.

Use different colors or metal finishes to add visual interest or a chain for a punk look. You can even use grommets to attach strings of beads.

Tops And Blouses

As decorations, grommets can be used in tops and blouses, but there are also numerous ways their functionality can be employed. Use them to lace a drawstring at the neckline, add grommets to the shoulders and use chain links to create adjustable straps.

Use different sizes of grommets and eyelets, and lace them with everything from thin cords to pieces of fabric. Let your imagination run wild for an infinite number of possibilities.

Shoes

One of the original uses for grommets was shoes, and even though many shoes these days don’t even have laces, they can still use grommets. From knee-high boots to sandals, grommets are used in shoes to attach different parts, add a decorative element, or provide venting.

Whether it’s a single grommet or several in a pattern, they can add interesting details to the collars, uppers, and lace stays of shoes. A contrasting grommet adds a splash of color and texture to make the design more interesting.

Purses

No matter what fabric purses are made of, they can benefit from grommets. Purses and grommets naturally go together, and grommets can be used to create designs on flaps, pockets, straps, and the sides of purses, backpacks, and laptop bags.

Another way to use grommets on purses is by using them to add a fringe. Install grommets along the edge of a pocket or the bottom of a purse, then string fabric, cords, or other materials through the holes.

Belts, Wallets, and Accessories

Grommets are the perfect way to add a touch of style to jewelry, belts, wallets, smartphone cases, and other accessories. They can be used alone to make a statement or paired with cording or ribbon for a more intricate design.

Add a grommet to a wallet to fasten a chain to it. Chain wallets are an iconic symbol of the grunge fashion trend of the 1990s, and when you add a grommet to all of your jeans, it’s an easy way to make a throwback punk rock fashion statement for your entire wardrobe.

Grommets, Grommet Tools, Grommet Kits And More

You don’t have to be a sewer to take advantage of grommets. Anyone can use them to experiment with new fashion styles or revamp old pieces of clothing. Use your imagination and pair them with mixed media to create fashion accessories and one-of-a-kind designs that match your taste.

Check out the Grommet Page to discover different types, colors, and styles of grommets. GoldStar Tool offers a comprehensive selection of grommets, grommet tools, and grommet kits, perfect for inspiring you when you’re ready to add these fun embellishments to your DIY clothing project.