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What are Eyelet Pliers?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2016
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Eyelet pliers are metal hand tools used for pressing eyelets into clothing or shoes. Eyelets, which are also called grommets, are metal rings. The middle of each eyelet or grommet is cut out to form a hole suitable to hold laces. On clothing, the laced look may be on the front of a shirt. Skates typically have rows of eyelets in which laces can be criss-crossed to tighten each skate. Crafters also use eyelets and eyelet pliers to create household items such as seat cushion covers.

A seat cushion cover that fits tightly can be created with eyelet pliers and eyelets or grommets. Rows of eyelets are punched into the fabric with eyelet pliers. Strong rope, cord, or string is then laced in a criss-cross fashion around the seat to create a tight-fitting cover. The grommets or eyelets usually need to be large enough to support the cord used. While there are some varieties of grommet or eyelet that are plastic, most are made of durable metal.

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Eyelet pliers look like a larger version of a hole punch. They typically are metal and have two handles that are squeezed together to start the mechanism that presses the eyelets or grommets into the material. The holes are first marked and punched or cut out of the material. Eyelet pliers usually must be carefully lined up to fit the marked holes so that, when released, the grommets or eyelets fit around each hole. Once the eyelet is stamped into the fabric or leather, the handles of the pliers must be gently lifted so as not to rip or bunch the material.

The sizes of the holes eyelet pliers make vary widely. Some of these pliers produce only one size of grommet or eyelet hole, while others can make assorted sizes. A pair of pliers may be sold separately or along with a package of eyelets. Eyelets or grommets are also available separately – typically in packages of 100 or more. The available colors of eyelet finishes include copper, gold, silver, and bronze.

The smallest eyelets or grommets typically are used on items such as infant shoes, while the largest grommets for home use can be seen on drapery panels. A drapery rod typically fits through the eyelets or grommets punched into the top of each curtain panel. Without eyelet pliers and eyelets to form protective rings around the holes in fabrics, the cloth would fray, wear out, and generally appear unattractive.

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manykitties2
Post 2

@animegal - You might be able to use eyelet pliers to fix your skirt, but if the hole where the brass eyelet was is ripped you may have to take it in to get it professionally repaired.

I like doing a lot of fine work on clothing with corset features and knowing how to use eyelet pliers is a big part of what I do. Basically, if the fabric is too damaged, you can't insert a new eyelet because it will just fall through the hole. It really has to have something to secure itself to.

Don't worry too much though, even if you can't fix your skirt yourself, most places that do things like pant hemming will probably fix it cheaply.

animegal
Post 1

Has anyone ever used eyelet pliers to repair brass eyelets before? Did you find it hard, and did it require a lot of fine work in your opinion?

I have a really lovely black skirt with black painted brass eyelets down the back. It actually looks like corset lacing when it is all done up properly. The problem is I put the skirt into the washing machine and one of the eyelets went missing. I have a rough idea of how to fix it, but I am not sure if eyelet pliers are really the tool I need to fix my skirt. I love the corset look of the skirt, but I'm afraid it may be too damaged to fix.

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