Sewing with Eyelet Fabric
Eyelet is a classic summer fabric that is breezy, romantic, and delicate. Its name comes from the small patterned cut-outs that are typically finished with embroidered stitches throughout the body of the fabric.
Eyelet is a broad term and describes the design of the fabric rather than its fiber content or weave. Traditionally, eyelet is made from a woven base fabric, in a white or cream color. It is usually made from cotton or linen, although jersey, silks, and even leather can sport eyelets.
- Zenith White – Embroidery Anglaise , White 100% Cotton all-over embroidered eyelet lace from Tessuti in Sydney, Australia
Telio Ava Eyelet , Royal Blue, 100% Cotton, embroidered eyelet with scalloped edge on both ends from Fabric.com
Ella Daisy Eyelet , 100% cotton, embroidered floral eyelet from Harts Fabric.
Bright Orange Show Stopper! , 100% cotton, embroidered eyelet from Mood Fabrics.
Elle Eyelet , 100% cotton, modern triangular cutwork pattern with embroidered scalloped selvedges from Stone Mountain and Daughters Fabrics.
Summer is a perfect time to sew up eyelet fabric—it’s got a natural “air-conditioning” and can add a bit of class to even a simple running errands outfit.
Although there is an endless variety of eyelet fabric out there, today we will concentrate on the most common iteration of eyelet—the traditional, light weight, cotton eyelet. This fabric is sometimes slightly transparent, and has a crisp feel while keeping nice and drapey.
Machine wash cotton and linen eyelet in warm water with like colors on regular cycle, tumble dry.
Press on wrong side, when possible, to avoid flattening any embroidery. Typically, the thread used to embroider the eyelets is synthetic, test your fabric before and use a press cloth if the embroidery is indeed synthetic.
Trace your pattern onto tissue or Swedish tracing paper, the slight transparency of this paper will help you avoid ill-placed design motifs. Depending on the eyelet design, the selvage of an eyelet may have a lovely lace border that can be incorporated into your garment design. For cutting and pattern arranging advice, check out Sarai’s tips for using eyelet borders.
Tailor’s tacks are preferred due to the texture of eyelet. Chalk may become embedded in the embroidery.
Underlining works best for eyelet fabrics. The peek-a-boo of the eyelets give you a great opportunity to add a little pop of contrast. If modesty is what you’re after, underline your eyelet in in a fabric close to your skin tone. For tips on underlining, check out Brooks Ann Camper’s Under Construction article in Seamwork 12.
Do not use fusible interfacing directly on eyelet fabrics, instead use fusibles on your underlinings. If you decide to not underline, use a silk organza that is the least visible.
Thread is dependent on fiber content and weave rather than design. If you are sewing up a garment in the traditional cotton or linen eyelet, use cotton or polyester thread.
For lightweight cotton or linen eyelet: 70/10 HJ or HM
Turned up hem, serger rolled hem, and double turned baby hems on blouses. For a heavily embroidered eyelet fabric, a wider (1″) single fold hem will work wonders and will keep the hem from hanging too heavy.
Patterns we recommend:
Summerwear! Dresses, skirts, even shorts are beautiful and breezy in eyelet fabrics.
Design details may get lost in the texture of the eyelet, simple silhouettes and construction will allow eyelet fabric to be the star of the show!
Picking the right pattern for your fabric can sometimes be daunting. Thankfully, we’ve selected a few of our own patterns that are ideal for eyelet fabrics. They all are relatively simple garments which pair nicely with the classic look of eyelet while not overpowering the motifs. While sewing them up, we even learned a couple more tricks specific to the patterns.
The pleats of the Zinnia give the eyelet a bit of structure while also giving the skirt some delightful fullness. Lining the Zinnia is a breeze—try a free flowing contrast lining for a bit of fun!
This knit skirt is quick, easy, and is a perfect introduction to sewing knit eyelet. You’ll defiantly want to underline this bad boy. If not, the serger edges of the lining and outer shell may be exposed. Knit eyelet is a bit harder to find but Wallis found her seafoam green knit eyelet on Ebay.
This simple dress gives you plenty of opportunities to play with your eyelet and get creative. Anna decided to just line her skirt and center front panel, giving the side panels a little bit of peek-a-boo. Sarai’s Embroidered Hazel was sewn up with the intricate borders of her fabric in mind. She placed the border at the neckline as well as the hem. This same technique could be used in an eyelet for an even more delicate look.
The simple lines of the Kenedy lend itself well to a more textured eyelet. Haley kept her Kenedy unlined in order to wear different colored slips underneath to change the look of the dress. She also chose to bind the neckline for a cleaner finish.
Want to try your hand at some of this summery goodness?
Learn more about our Eyelet Collection in the Colette Shop.