A Neat and Tidy Finish on your Hook and Eye

A hook and eye is a part of nearly every bra project, and it can be tricky to sew! I’ve certainly wrestled with it over the years, but I think I have found a secret weapon – a little stack of Post It notes!

 

I know it’s a common practice for most people, but for those of you who are newer to bra sewing, start out with a fully made bra. Lay this out on your table so that you can see which side of the hook and eye goes on which side, and which side faces up and which side faces down. Then just match it, easy peasy.

 

bra hook and eye

 

I like to trim the very corners of the hook and eye if there are any little sharp edges. Even the hook and eyes that are stitched instead of heat sealed often have a little bit of heat sealing on the corners. 

 

Then, open up the flaps that cover the area where the band fabric inserts into the hook and eye. This might be a little fused together with the heat seal, but it’s easy to open it up anyway. Pin or clip the “public” (the side that faces out) side of the hook and eye out of the way. You’ll be only working with the band and the side of the hook and eye that lays against the body at this point. 

 

clipping

 

Sew the band to the side of the hook and eye flap which faces the body with a straight stitch. You can use a longer stitch length to baste it into place, and you can move your needle to the right (if your sewing machine allows this) so that you’re definitely sewing these two pieces together. If your presser foot wants to slip around and fight you, use the tricks in the next section to level out the presser foot with Post It notes.

sewing hook and eye
sewing

 

Now you’re ready to sew the side of your hook and eye that faces out. You’ll do all your sewing from the public side (the side of the fabric and hook and eye that faces away from the body). 

 

Remove the pins or clips that held the flap out of the way and allow the flap to cover the band fabric that is nicely secured to the private side of the hook and eye. Set your machine to do a zigzag stitch that is 1.3mm wide and 1.0mm long. 

 

Place the hook and eye/band assembly under the presser foot. This is the magic trick – figure out where the presser foot is not flat and even. Generally, this will be either (or both!) on the back of the presser foot or on the side of the presser foot that is not on the hook and eye. Use a small stack of Post It notes under the low places to level out the presser foot.

 

post-it

 

Begin sewing along the edge of the hook and eye with the “public” side of the garment facing up. You can easily scoot or move the Post It note stack to stay even with the needle or to make the foot stay flat from front to back. The needle should land in the tiny space between the hook and eye and the Post It note stack. 

The public side of your hook and eye will look perfect, and there will be an extra line of stitching on the private side. I just live with this. If you prefer, you can use water soluble thread in the bobbin and dissolve the line of stitches. You can also carefully remove the stitches with a seam ripper (this is where those long stitches are helpful). Or, you can be like me and just let it go.

This trick can also be used on long lengths of hooks and eyes like on the Odessa Corset Top. Just sew the private side first (you might actually need Post It notes on the first pass since the fabric can be thin and the hook and eye is thick). Then do the public pass with the small zigzag and the stack of notes. You can also use the notes to even up the foot when you finish the top and bottom edges of the hook and eye. 

Let us know if this works for you, and post any refinements to the technique in the Hive. We’ll update this post as we gather these great ideas!