Eyelet vs Grommet: Difference Between Eyelets and Grommets

The eyes have it of maybe not. The beauty of sewing is not that there are so many wonderful things you can create. But that there are so many similar items you can use to finish your sewing project and still have it look like a professional created it.

What is the difference between eyelets and grommets? There is one important difference between eyelets and grommets. The grommet comes with a backing that helps the grommet stay in place while providing support to the opening. It is a simple difference but a vital one.

To learn all about eyelets and grommets and their differences, just continue to read our article. It is filled with the information you want to know so you know the difference between the two sewing accessories.

Are Eyelets and Grommets the Same?

They are not exactly the same although they do a similar task when applied to your sewing project. Each piece is designed to protect the hole you have made and keep it from getting bigger and wider.

The grommet may do extra duty by protecting metal or plastic gadgets. When the gadget is attached to another piece of metal, the hole in that metal could cause damage to parts of the gadget. The grommet is designed to protect the gadget from the hole’s sharp edges.

One thing that should be mentioned, we have seen that the definition for grommet given above has been used to describe the eyelet as well. So if you are confused about the difference and what makes them different from each other, you are not alone.

Just be grateful that you have a choice of items to use that make sure your sewing project remains intact and professional looking.

Difference Between Eyelets and Grommets


Another difference between the two sewing accessories is that the grommet is usually used to secure thicker material. With its extra backing help, your thicker fabric remains more secure and has a less chance to unraveling or getting torn.

Also, the grommet is used when the material being sewn is heavier. An eyelet is reserved for lightweight material and if it is smaller. So in size, the difference would be that the grommet is usually larger than the eyelet.

Then eyelets are used more with decorative accessories like ribbons, cords and so on. There is not a lot of weight put on the eyelet so that makes it the perfect accessory to use. Grommets take on tarps, tents, canvas materials or flags where the items are under heavy-duty use.

How Eyelets Work

Eyelets are simple little fashion accessories that help make your garment look a lot better and more professional. Their duty is also simple in that it does two things. First, it protects the hole keeping it from getting larger due to lots of use.

Second, the eyelet helps the lace, ribbon, or another material slide better when you want to tie a bow in those items. The eyelet is also made of brass so it has a nice shiny look complementing the look of your garment or other sewing projects.

One thing to remember is that eyelets are not that strong. When you go to attach them, do not hit them hard with your hammer. A light gentle but firm touch should be all you need.

Using an eyelet [pliers is the best way to get them onto your fabric.

How Eyelet Attach To The Fabric?


Eyelets are very simple. They are fitted to the hole, which is usually a smaller hole than a grommet will be fitted to, and given lighter duties. The face of the eyelet is placed on the right side of the fabric so that the outfit remains looking really nice.

Then you use your eyelet pliers to push the back edge of the eyelet over the wrong side of the fabric and the squeeze nice and tight. But not to tight as eyelets are not always made from very strong materials.

The now spread edges grab onto the fabric holding the eyelet firmly and securely in place. The hole should have been made by a handy hole maker. Put a hard piece of fabric like leather under the cloth you are making a hole in and clamp both with the hole maker.

Make sure your hole maker is set to a size that will accommodate the eyelet size.

How to Use Eyelets With a Hammer

When you think of hammers you may think of hard, heavy blows that drive nails into wood. That would be the wrong way to approach an eyelet. These are more delicate pieces of sewing accessories that need a softer, more gentle yet firm woman’s touch.

That type of blow will not damage the eyelet and keep its integrity intact so it can do the job you want to be done for many years. Heavy blows would only damage the eyelet and make you start all over again.

If you do not have a pair of eyelet pliers, a hammer will do the job in its place. When you use a hammer make sure to place something like a pile of newspapers or a rubber mat underneath. That way you do not harm your table or hard surface.

Where Can Eyelets be Found?


Even though they are small and not as strong as a grommet, eyelets can be found in a variety of places. In the craft department, one area would be in a scrapbook. Or you can use them in a craft project that requires ribbons, strong or wires.

In the fashion world, eyelets can be found in a variety of different shoes where laces are still used to secure the shoes to your feet. They can also be placed in hats when you are using ribbons, etc., to decorate the hat.

Dresses and blouses and shirts are other fashion items where you can find an eyelet. These little accessories help brighten up the clothes while letting decorative touches work without fear of being damaged.

There is a myriad of places where you can find these little things. The ones mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg.

Why Grommets are Inserted?

Do not be confused when you hear that a grommet has been inserted into someone’s ear. That is a completely different type of grommet, one which is made of plastic and is a tube. That version of the grommet does have its medical uses and never comes in contact with the fashion industry.

Grommets are inserted to help protect heavier materials like tarps and canvas from ripping at the holes placed in those materials. Also, they are inserted into wood pieces when electrical wires are passing through and need to be protected from any sharp surface.

Grommets are called upon when they work that needs to be done requires a tough and heavy-duty item to handle the task. That includes helping to secure corsets when the person inside is a little overweight and a lot of pressure is placed on the holes.

Are Grommets Permanent?


Technically you can say that when a grommet is placed on the fabric they are placed permanently. But some factors influence how long the grommet will stay where it is placed. If signs are torn then the grommet can be ripped out and a new sign is needed.

Grommets are made from metal, rubber and plastic and those construction materials have their vulnerabilities which in due time will succumb and break apart. In these cases, you might just have to replace the grommet with a new one.

When attached and secured correctly it would take many years to ruin a grommet under normal use./One cannot speak for them when natural disasters strike or when someone abnormally treats them.

One last thing, when the grommets are made of brass, they will not rust adding another layer of protection to your clothing, tarps, and signs.

Why do Grommets Fall Out?

One of the reasons why grommets fallout is that they were not attached correctly ion the first place. By not securing the backing to the front of the grommet, it remains loose and in danger of being torn out or falling out.

Other reasons could be that the fabric they were placed on ripped at the wrong spot and the rip made it all the way to the grommet. Or someone placed the grommets too close together and there is not enough strength in the fabric to hold them in tight.

Also, the grommet could be defective or if made from plastic or rubber, they may have cracked due to different environmental conditions. There are numerous reasons why grommets fail. Nothing is perfect in this world and mistakes do happen.

When they do then the grommets fall out.

How to Reinforce Fabric for Grommets


One of the best ways to reinforce the fabric before you install your grommet is to use interfacing. This is an added step and a little more work but in the long run, it will pay off. Just make sure to use a strong stitch so the interfacing is not wasted.

Next, you can use some strong tape and place it over the area where you will make your hole and place the grommet. If the back is not going to be seen, you may be able to use duct tape. It holds onto everything and provides a lot of support.

Then there is special reinforcing interfacing tape that does the job quite well. It will go on just like duct tape will and adhere better to the fabric than duct tape. The latter is better for fabrics that are heavier like a tarp, plastic fabrics, and canvas.

If you do not have those items, then use any piece of scrap fabric you have lying around. Never throw out your scrap fabrics as there will always be a place where you can use them eventually. Reinforcing fabric is just one such place.

How to Use a Grommet Pliers

If you have used normal pliers found in any toolbox in the nation, then you can use grommet pliers. The difference is that the grommet pliers have a special design that fits inside the hole of the grommet.

That design helps secure the grommet to the fabric without flattening the fashion accessory out. You place the top of the grommet pliers through the hole of the front of the grommet, the part everyone will see.

Next, you place the backing in the little dish on the bottom of the pliers. After that, you slip the fabric through the pliers until the hole in the fabric matches up with the grommet.

Once you have that position you squeeze the handles of the pliers and secure the grommet to the fabric. It may take a couple of times to get the grommet fastened tightly. That will all depend on your hand strength.

But before you stop a double check to make sure the grommet is holding tightly to the fabric and can’t be moved.

How to Install a Grommet Without a Grommet Tool


There may be a time where you do not have a grommet tool lying around and you do not have the spare time to run out and get one. When you are caught in that situation you can use other methods to secure a grommet to your fabric hole.

One person suggested using a die and a hammer. The die would fit in the hole and help place the grommet exactly where you need it. This method is a little tricky and may take several efforts to get it right.

A better idea would be to turn to screw in grommets. These are handy to have on hand as all you need is a screwdriver and you can have those grommets in very quickly. There is no hammering, no squeezing just a few turns of your wrist and you can tighten them as tight as you want.

Another suggestion would be to use leather or metalworking punches and a hammer. But you may find that a little difficult if you are going through a couple of layers of fabric at the same time.

When you do not have a pair of grommet pliers, the tricky part will be centering the grommet and keeping it centered until the job is done. It might be best to just go out and buy yourself a pair of those pliers and save yourself the frustration.

Where to Buy Eyelets for Fabric

If you start with your computer, you will find that in a very quick search dozens of internet businesses that have eyelets for fabric for sale. Amazon, eBay, and other fabric outlets have them ready and waiting for you to pick up and add to your order.

Then if you like to get out of the house and see what new items the fabric chains have brought in, you can get to Joann, Michaels, Hobby Lobby and similar stores and see how big their selection in. If they do not have the size you need, ask them to order some in for you.

Or just go to the locally owned sewing supply stores and see what they have in stock. Your last resort should be your city’s department stores as their selection may not be that great.

One thing is for sure, you won’t run out of options when you are looking for either eyelets or grommets.

Eyelet and Grommet Sizes


It seems that both fashion accessories use the same sizing chart. That makes things a little easier and you should not get confused when searching for the right size of eyelet, etc.

Here are the different sizes you can choose to use and they are all measured in fractions of inches:

#00000 = 1/16; #0000 = 1/8; #000 = 5/32; #00 = 3/16; #0 = 1/4; #1 = 5/16; #2 = 3/8; #3 = 7/16; #4 =1/2; #5 = 5/8; #6= 3/4; #8 =1 1/8; #10 =1 7/16; #12 =1 9/16; #15 = 2 inches.

The outside diameter of these sizes go from 3 1/2 mm to 75 mm (or 3 inches). Their inside diameter ranges between 1 1/2 mm to 50 mm (or 2 inches). Finally, their depth goes from 4 mm to 11 mm.

Some Final Words

The difference between eyelets and grommets are not always seen. That is because they are similar accessories doing a similar job. In fact, some people use those two words interchangeably.

The difference is that the grommet works on more heavy-duty fabrics while the eyelets handle the lighter ones. Also, the grommet has a back while the eyelet doesn't. Both can be put on by using special pliers and that is the best way to put them on.

When you go to buy them, purchase a few extra to save yourself a little time.

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