What is a Hook-And-Eye Closure?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A hook-and-eye closure is a type of fastener, often used on undergarments such as brassieres. The basic design of a hook-and-eye closure makes it easy to sew in and to use, and the fastening can be used in a wide variety of garments. Most sewing supply stores carry hook and eye closures in a range of sizes as well as colors. For people who are replacing a missing or damaged hook-and-eye closure, the garment in question should be brought in to compare with packaged closures, ensuring that the right size is purchased.

Hook-and-eye closures may be featured on cloaks.
Hook-and-eye closures may be featured on cloaks.

The faster is typically made from metal, since metal is durable and long lasting. It consists of two parts, a metal hook and an eyeloop for the hook to slip through. Once the hook is slipped through the eyeloop, the eyeloop will hold the hook-and-eye closure together until the wearer slips the hook out. Generally, the pressure of the two sides of the closure pulling against each other keeps the hook-and-eye closure closed, which is why the fastener is so well suited to snug undergarments.

Corsets tend to use very small, discreet hook and eye closures.
Corsets tend to use very small, discreet hook and eye closures.

The hook of the closure is very shallow, so it should not dig into the flesh of the wearer. In some cases, a flap of fabric may be positioned between the hook-and-eye closure and the skin, to act as padding. Both ends of the fastener are attached to the garment with small metal loops or tabs which can be sewn on, and people should periodically test the strength of the sewing on their hook and eye closures, especially on tight garments which may be strained when they are closed.

Brassieres, snug dresses, and corsets tend to use very small, discreet hook and eye closures. Larger closures may be used ornamentally on shirts, jackets, or cloaks, among other garments. If the garment is too lose, the hook will tend to fall out of the eye, since it is not held in place with pressure. Moving a hook-and-eye closure can sometimes rectify this problem.

It is important to use a suitable number of hook and eye closures on a garment. A single hook-and-eye closure is usually not sufficient, and may fail if it is subjected to a great deal of pressure. Multiple closures distribute pressure along the garment, ensuring that it will fit comfortably without buckling, twisting, or ripping. Positioning is also important, as a small error in position can result in an irritating fold or wrinkle in the garment.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


@JessicaLynn - Hook and eye closures definitely serve a purpose in garment construction. I knit and sew and I use them all the time.

I prefer to use hook and eye tape instead of sewing on the individual hooks and eyes though. I find that when I try to sew them on individually I can never get them placed quite right. When I use hook and eye tape I always get much better results!


I sometimes use hook and eye closures on the sweaters I knit. They are great if you want to hold two sides of a garment together invisibly. Sometimes an invisible closure is a nice design element but some stitch patterns don't work very well with button holes. I think hook and eye closures are a nice alternative in these instances.


I have seen dresses that zip up the back or the side but also have a hook-and-eye closure above an empty space at the top of the zipper. I didn’t understand what the purpose of this was until I bought one.

I considered the top closure to be unnecessary. After all, I was zipped in snugly. So, I left it unhooked.

About an hour into my workday, the top of the zippered side began irritating me. It kept rubbing on my skin, and a red mark appeared.

I went into the bathroom and hooked the closure. That tightened the area and brought the zipper and its surrounding material up off of my skin. That made me happy, because I loved that dress and I wanted to be able to wear it often.


Old, weakened hook-and-eye closures can spell disaster! I fell victim to one of these at a lake.

I had been swimming in a two-piece suit with a bra-like top that hooked in the back. Luckily, I was swimming with a friend. When I started to come out of the lake onto the beach, the eye holding the hook snapped, and I felt it loosen.

My friend held the strap together until we reached my car. I had a huge safety pin in my purse, and she used this to secure the ends together. I was so glad I had her there to help me! Now, I always test the endurance of my swimsuit hooks before going in public.


I have several pairs of pants with hook-and-eye closures. Most of them have become tight and uncomfortable, so I needed to alter them somehow.

On two pair, the hook had been positioned far enough back from the edge of the material that I was able to move it forward and stitch it in place. These gave me enough space to wear them without pain.

On the others, I could not move the hook, so I got creative. I took an elastic ponytail holder, looped one end across the hook, ran the other end through the eye, and doubled it back across the hook. This lets my pants expand as I lean forward and retract when I stand up straight.


I recently gained a few pounds, and my bras became so tight on my skin that they popped tiny blood vessels and caused shooting pains. I had to buy bra extenders with hook-and-eye closures to be able to continue wearing them. Comfortable bras are kind of expensive, and I would much rather shell out a few bucks for an extender than buy all new underwear.

The extenders I bought had three different hook-and-eye closures located at different distances from the end. This is good, because I intend to lose weight, and I will be able to adjust the width accordingly as my size goes down.

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