How To Insert

Eyelets / Grommets

Lets face it, having some nice shiny metal on any bag gives it that professional look.  Metal Eyelets can be used for drawstring bags, to attach handles, for buckles (where the prong goes through the strap), or even just for decoration.  Eyelets are quite simple to fit, but a little practice may be needed first to ensure that you do not damage something that you have spent along time crafting.

In this tutorial I will show how to fit eyelets to a duffel bag, although the technique is the same for any use.


  • Rule or tape measure – to measure the spacing of eyelets
  • Stitch ripper or small craft knife
  • Scissors
  • Eyelet press set
  • Hammer
  • And of course…Eyelets

1) The first stage is to mark out where you need the eyelets to go.  In this case for a duffel bag you need to measure the circumference of the top of the bag and then divide by the number of eyelets that you want.  In my example the distance around the top was 28 inches and I wanted 8 eyelets, this gave a distance of 3.5 inches between eyelets (Figure 1).  I have used pins to mark each position as they can be easily moved if any adjustments need to be made, but you may prefer to make a small cross with a pen to mark the center of the eyelet hole. If you like you can position the eyelet over the cross and draw around the inside to mark a circle.  This will give you limits to cut to in the next stage.

Figure 1

2) Using a small pair of scissors or a stitch ripper cut a cross an equal distance in each direction from the centre mark. Be careful to ensure that the cuts are not longer than the radius of the eyelet (Figure 2).

Figure 2

When you have finished it should look like the picture below (Figure 3).

Figure 3

3) Trim off the tiny triangles created when you cut the cross and make the hole circular. It is not important for the circle to be perfect as it will be hidden by the eyelet.  What is important is to ensure the hole is not bigger than the eyelet as you want a snug fit.  If the hole is too big it may allow the eyelet to move around (Figure 4).

Figure 4

4) Now take the eyelet pieces and select the one with long centre. This is the left one in the picture below (Figure 5).

Figure 5

5) This is the piece that will be seen, so insert the eyelet part through the fabric with the flange on the outside.

Figure 6

6) The eyelet should have passed through all layers of fabric and look similar to the picture below (Figure 7).

Figure 7

7) Take the second eyelet part and place over the end of the first part ensuring that the decorative side is facing out from the fabric.  This is the part that will be seen on the inside of the bag (Figure 8).

Figure 8

8) Now it is time to use the eyelet press to set the two halves together.  The part on the left of Figure 9 is the base and is used on the outside of the eyelet.  The curved recess protects the shape of what will be the main visible part of the eyelet when finished.  The part on the right is the punch.  This is the part you hit with the hammer to roll over the the top of the centre tube of the eyelet and fix the two halves together.

Figure 9

9) Place the base of the setting tool on to a firm surface.  In the picture, (Figure 10), I have used a towel covered brick.  This spreads the load and prevents filling your table or workbench with large dents from the hammering!
Next place the first part of the eyelet into the base, this should mean that the outside of your bag is facing the table. Then take the punch and place centrally onto long centre of the eyelet.  To ensure that the metal rolls over evenly it is important to hold the punch as upright as possible.  Hit the punch several times with a firm action until the two halves of the eyelet are securely fixed together.  It is wise to practice this a few times with some scrap material to get the weight of the hammer swings correct.  Too light and you will not roll the top over properly, but too heavy and you are likely to damage and twist the decorative outer part of the eyelet.  It is well worth the cost of a few spare eyelets to get this right.

Figure 10

The finished eyelet should be neatly rolled over in the inside as shown in picture 11a, and have a good clean undamaged ring on the outside as in picture 11b.

Figure 11a

Figure 11b

The eyelet is now finished!  Just repeat the steps above for all other eyelets on your bag.

The Finished Duffel Bag

Need some eyelets?  They are available HERE!

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