Hot on the heels of my snap buttons tutorial, today I'll be showing you how to install grommets. The Kelly Anorak has an optional drawstring waist, and while you can certainly use a plain old buttonhole for the exit end of your string, a pretty grommet is sturdier and more professional looking. Also? Major fun to install.
To install grommets easily at home, you'll need metal grommets and grommet backs (normally sold as a pair) along with a grommet setting tool, which should include a small anvil and a die. These may be sold as a kit at the fabric store or you can purchase them separately (or you can get the grommets and tool which are included in our Kelly hardware kit). You'll also need a hammer and something to make a hole for the grommet with. For small grommets you may be able to use an awl; if not you'll need a very sharp exacto blade.
Just like with your snap buttons, it is very important to interface the area where your grommet will be installed before you get started.
MAKING A HOLE
If you're making the Kelly Anorak, please do not install your drawstring or grommet until you've tried on your coat and have determined where you'd like it to sit on your body; you may want it at your natural waist or a little lower. Once the location has been determined place a small patch of interfacing at the grommet location on the wrong side of the fabric.
The grommets included in our kit are 6mm. My big awl was almost big enough to make the hole for the grommet.
If that hole is not big enough to install your grommet through, try making a tiny X on the fabric with an exacto knife. Make sure the X does not extend past the circumference of your grommet! The goal is for the grommet to fit without distorting the fabric too much.
SETTING THE GROMMET
The grommet has two parts. The part with the short tube on one end goes on the right side of the fabric, while the flat washer goes on the back. Place the grommet through the hole and then lay the washer on top of it on the other side of the fabric.
Now insert the anvil with its attached post through the grommet, right side facing up.
Place the setting tool on top of the post; it should have a hole in it to receive the anvil post. Give it a few hard wacks with the hammer.
The grommet is set when the force of the hammer flattens the grommet tube down, essentially rolling it around the opening of the grommet washer. Make sure it is set securely; you may need to hammer a few more times.
Here is what it will look like on the right side:
The grommet creates a sturdy, stable opening in your fabric and should hold out a long time, provided you've interfaced and installed it correctly. While they are generally used for practical purposes (curtains and home decor especially) I think you could also have fun using them as a decorative detail; lots of great examples of that here.
The next post in our Kelly Sewalong series is about installing spring snaps. Get the pattern here.