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Sewing Tutorial:
How To Sew Eyelets

Making an eyelet for your medieval dress is easier than you might think. You don't need to know any fancy stitches or have a hole punch or metal eyelets. These eyelets are rock solid and all you need is a needle, thread and something pointy.

What you need:
You need thread to match your gown (silk, wool or quilting thread), a needle, something sharp and pointy (an awl, a roofing nail, a chopstick.. whatever you have lying around)

Step 1
Mark where your eyelet will go and backstitch a circle around it.

Don't make it too tiny or too large. Remember your eyelets are SUPPOSED to be smallish and set about 2cm apart, and about 5mm from the edge of the fabric.

Eyelets which are set too far from the edge or too far apart will usually gape. This is usually the problem with bought "medieval" dresses- the eyelets are way too far apart.
Step 2
Using an awl (chopstick, roofing nail, whatever you have handy) push the fibres apart to make a hole. On NO ACCOUNT cut the fabric into a cross or use a hole punch.

This will weaken the fabric and cause tears later on when lacing the gown closed if it's pulled tightly. The pushing the fabric apart with the awl will also create a little bunchy bit at the rim of the eyelet which will make an extremely strong eyelet.
Step 3
Here's a pic of the backstitched circle after it's been pushed wide with the awl.
Step 4
Hold the hole open with 5 or 6 stitches.

If you've made eyelets before, you may have noticed that as you start to stitch, the hole closes up and gets uneven. The holding stitches will help this stopping.
Step 5
Now you have a round hole held open with a few stitches. Hopefully, it's nice and round like this one.

You may have found that your eyelet seems a bit smaller than it did when you started. That's okay. These are just the holding stitches.
Step 6
Once you've got a few stitches holding the fabric open, use the awl again to push the fabric apart and keep your eyelet open.

Your backstitch circle will help to stop the awl/pointy thing from just tearing the fabric.

Give it a few gentle goes.
Step 7
After the awl is removed, your eyelet is open and round and ready to proceed with the eyelet!

Step 8
Start stitching the eyelet itself now.

Just go round and round and round pulling firmly as you go. No fancy stitches needed. Just go round and round.

Use the awl to push the hole apart as you go to keep the eyelet a decent size. You'll find the holding stitches stop your eyelet from fraying and keep you sewing in the right place.

Step 9
Just keep going until you're all the way round.

If your eyelet looks a bit patchy, go around a second time.

I often use hand quilting thread as it's a bit thicker than cotton. If you're using cotton, you may want to go round twice.
Step 10
Voila! Eyelet! Tie the thread off at the back with any kind of knot. I like to slip the thread through the back of the eyelet as well for extra neatness. A last poke with an awl will even up your eyelet. If you need to make your eyelet a little wider, push a little harder with your awl.

Remember, your eyelets are supposed to be fairly smallish. Lacing cords weren't big and chunky and women were often laced into their dresses with a needle (a mattress needle works well) or with a lace with a metal aglet to provide a built-in needle. Each eyelet takes about 20 minutes when you're starting and about 15 minutes each once you get good at it. Happy Sewing!


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