In the past I have given them plenty of chances but every time I’ve tried to sew them on they will not behave. Just getting them to stay still is difficult – either the hook or the eye tends to leap out of my hand when I’m positioning it on the garment, never to be found again, leaving me with an orphan half. When I do manage to stitch them down they don’t really lie flat properly and I find it quite difficult to judge exactly where they need to be placed so that the two sides of the garment come together exactly right when done up. This isn’t helped, of course, by the fact that a hook and eye usually has to be sewn onto the neck or waistband area where a whole load of fabric and interfacing and a zip tape all meet up and, even with a lot of clipping, you are bound to land up with a lot of stiff fabric layers for the little hook and eye to have to balance on and stretch itself across.
The last time I used a hook and eye was on this sundress – here’s a close-up of the centre back.
This style meant that the top of the zip was going to be right in the middle of the back rather than up at the neck so I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to use a hook and eye so that the dress was completely ‘done up’ in such a showy place. It looks OK but it took me three attempts to get this sewn on to my satisfaction and you can still, if you look very closely, see it glinting through a small gap!
My solution since then has been to not bother with a hook and eye. Yes, really, I just put in a zip, placed as closely as I can to the top of the garment and leave it at that. If the zip is put in correctly it doesn’t come undone and I can live with a little bit of a ‘V’ effect at the top of the neck or waistband. But that isn’t really good enough is it? If I want to make a ‘couture’ garment I’m going to have to learn to do better.
Do you use hooks and eyes or do you hate them too? Do you have a much healthier relationship with these pesky little things, can you tame them? If so, have you got any tips for me on how to get them sewn down nicely? I’d love to know ……