|I decided to make the hook and eyes closures myself for my Kwik Sew bras from pattern 2489 because I do not like the store-bought closures. They are not attractive and the widths do not fit the pattern bra bands. I unfortunately do not have any photos because I just got too much into making the closures and forgot to take photos! I will explain as clearly as I can here. Email if you have any questions after you read it.
First for this bra, the bands were cut out as if they were one piece with the bra extension, and with a 1 inch gap between the pattern pieces to make each band longer. You need more fabric to make these closures since you will be pleating back and forth. I would add the elastics to the bra after making the hooks so it is not bulky.
First iron in a 1/4 inch seam allowance on the left band (pretend that the bra is already closed and lying face down, so that you are looking at the back.)
Next cut 2 pieces of linen the width of the band minus the seam allowance, and 2 inches long. Place one of them (good sides together) on the left band and sew a seam, leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Turn and press the S.A. to the end of the band, and understitch. Leave this free and don't catch it in your hand stitches! Put the other strip aside as you will need it for the right side later.
Next fold the band evenly down the middle lengthwise, and iron in a fold. This is going to mark off the center hook.
Next make a dot with a pencil (it is going to be hidden so don't worry about it being permanent) on the center fold and about 1/4 in from the end. Make 2 more dots along the same line, on either side of the center dot. These are your markers for 3 eyes in the one row.
Thread your needle with strong button thread. You will need this for a bra as it is going to take a lot of strain.
Sew your first eye onto the left dot or the right dot depending on which hand you sew with. I am a leftie so I started on the right, stitching the right eye, then the middle and then the left. As you sew, don't cut the thread, just go to the next eye and sew it. It is stronger this way. Also, once you are done the row don't cut the thread, you will need it for the next step.
Once you have the eyes sewn down for the first row you need to make a small fold up and over the base of the eyes to cover them up. Only the loop portions should poke out. This means fold up and then fold back. This is not an exact science and you will need to fiddle-fuddle it a bit. Carefully press the fold with a steam iron once you have it the way you want it.
With the pressed fold, pick up your thread and try to work from back to front, to secure the base of each eye. So, like a type writer you need to go in the other direction, in the back while holding the fold facing you. As you have button thread you only need to make 2 stitches for each eye. Make sure that these are neat because they will show. Sew through all layers, making sure that you get the needle through each part of the base of each eye. You can peek down into the fold as you do this if you cannot feel it through the fabric.
Once you have done this, repeat it for a second row of hooks. I recommend at least 2 rows, because we are not always the same weight throughout the month and bras sometimes need to be bigger at some times rather than others. Make sure that your second row of eyes is 1/2 down from the fold line of the first row, so that they are not too close together.
Once you have the second row made and nicely pressed, turn the linen strip on the end towards the inside of the bra and pin.
Turn the strap, and gently fold in 1/4 seam allowance on the linen strip to finish the side nicely. Topstitch it and remove the pins. At this point you should also have the seam allowance of the bra band showing through on each side. These will get folded under when you apply the elastic trim.
Now you need to topstitch the eyes to make them tough. Go very slowly, this is about the same as running the machine over pins. Go slowly, and have a few spare needles for the machine on hand because I did snap one needle, but it is worth it as it will look nice. If you snap the needle just raise the foot and remove the bra carefully, trim extra thread and replace your needle. You need to make a row of topstitches over both rows of eyes.
Once the eyes are made turn the band lengthwise, and sew a row of top stitches between the eyes and on each side on the ends. This is going to make everything lie flat nicely.
So that is the complete band on the left with the eyes.
Now you need to install the hooks in the right side band.
Since they are the same width you don't need to measure and make sure that the hooks and eyes line up with another to connect, that should happen already.
Take the linen strip that you put aside earlier and with the good sides together sew it to the right band on the end. Leave a 1/4 seam allowance. Turn the seam allowance towards the bra, press, and understitch.
Turn the linen strip inward, press.
Fold the band widthwise, press (as you did before) so that you press in a fold.
1/2 in from the end place a dot with a pencil on the fold, to mark your middle place for the middle hook. Then take your pencil and make a proportionate dot on each side.
The next step requires that you set your machine on the eyelet stitch, on the small setting.
Make an eyelet on top of each of the three markings.
Take out an awl and gently force a hole into each eyelet, working on a hard surface.
Take a hook and start with the center eyelet, gently (or with more force, you decide) push the hook through from the inside so that it pops out the front. The hook should face left to connect with the eye. It is a bit fidgety to do this and the eyelet may be a bit tight but it will go through if you apply gentle pressure. Repeat with the other hooks.
On the inside at the base of the hooks, use a needle threaded with button thread to secure the bases. You should not need more than 4 stitches a hook, 2 to a side. Cut your thread when done.
Now you should have three hooks going through 3 eyelets through 2 layers of fabric (the bra fabric and the linen strip).
Place a fold on the end of the band that forces the hooks to the end, and pointing out towards the eyes. Press using the tip of your iron to steam in the foldline that they are a part of.
Topstitch a seam just after the hook bases. I suggest using the zipper foot for this.
Towards the end of the band where the hooks are, you now need to fold over about 3/4 inch of fabric. The idea is that you want to hide the hooks and the eventually hide the eyes that they are going to connect with.. Press the fold in. On the inside, the linen strip should have a raw edge. Fold it under, and sew through all layers. This should make a neat seam that will secure both the end of the linen strip and the fold that you just made. Go slowly as it may be a bit bulky for your machine, but it is possible to complete it.
Again, you should have 1/4 inch seam allowance on each side untouched that will fold under when you apply the elastic trim.
Try the hooks out to make sure that they are strong. It should hold if you followed all my steps.
Email with any enquiries!
Happy bra making!! :-)