Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Buckles and Grommets.......the mystery unravelled

My latest pattern test was a fab bag with an unusual strap fastening......with a buckle.
Doesn't sound scary? To me it wasn't as I've fitted buckles before but some may find it easier with a few here goes.........

You will need the following things.......a buckle......mine are 'roll buckles' so you will also be adding a loop for the strap to go through once its been through the buckle.........grommets........and a tool to fit them. I get mine from ebay, costs no more than £5 for the tool and 200 grommets. I buy 4mm grommets for belts. Something to make holes...I like a punch and hammer but a leather cutting tool works just as well.  Rivet and rivet setter to hold it all together.

So lets begin.........

Take your grommets and hole punch.......mark in the centre of the strap and create a hole
then take your grommet and grommet pliers........push the grommet through the hole with the rounded edge on the right side of the strap. don't make your holes too big or the grommet will pull straight through, I use a 3mm hole for a 4mm grommet and fiddle it through so its a tight fit.
then take your grommet pliers........make sure you have the pointy side of the pliers at the rear of the grommet.......this will curve those sharp edges over

and PRESS!........Hey Presto! have a perfect hole with a metal grommet in place.

Fitting the buckle.....

Thread the buckle prong through the strap from the rear of the strap......then poke the top of the strap through the top of the buckle and fold it over ........its starting to look like a real buckle now. You will need to mark where you want the rivet and loop to go now. We will fit the loop with the same rivet as we secure the buckle with.

Take you loop......I make mine by cutting faux leather/vinyl approx. 3/4 inch wide then turning both sides over and top stitching to create a thin strap.......nobody will see the back of it so its not important to make it perfect at the rear. wrap the loop around the strap to see how long it needs to be, overlap it by approx. 1/2 an inch then make a hole at each end 1/3 inch from the end of the strap.  I use longer double capped rivets for this part as there are a lot of layers to get through....I found 8mm stem rivets work just fine..........This is where it gets fiddly..........from the rear of the strap (if you have double capped rivets you can do this from the front of the strap, single caps will need to be done from the rear)  thread the rivet through the hole......then through the loop strap.......
Your going to need to pull that loop over the front of the strap and thread the other end onto the rivet stem, then the top part of the strap........sounds complicated but it really isn't.......just a bit fiddly

You end up with the loop part sandwiched in between the straps..........all threaded onto one long rivet can see the end of the rivet stem sticking out in the will sit under the loop so it won't show on the finished bag...... you will need to push the loop out of the way slightly to set the rivet.....

Take your rivet setter and hammer and bash that baby into place.......

 You have a buckle........and isn't she beautiful. For the strap that goes through the buckle you fit the grommets in the same way as you did to fit the buckle grommet....... You end up with a very professional finish. Grommets come in many colours to suit most tastes, I also have some coloured ones but beware, the lacquer they use on them chips anything that might get rubbed I would avoid coloured ones.....

adding some links for some of the tools I used for reference

You will not need the additional loop for the strap if you buckle is this shape though

 I hope this helps you to be able to confidently use small grommets and buckles on your future makes.........I'll be blogging about the bag when its released too........keep your eyes peeled.......x


  1. Perfect tutorial! Now I want to find that type of buckle to use for mine!

  2. Excellent tutorial. I actually had the correct grommets, but didn't realize it. Thanks!!!