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  1. #1
    Senior Member TeeDee's Avatar
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    Sewing Bra Hooks

    Recently I was changing/evolving the method I use to attach accessories to my Bridge Hammocks and looking for a simple, quick and easy method to do so.

    In scrounging through my wife's sewing notions I noticed a card of "hooks", or what I have seen referred to on the forums as "bra hooks", since that is where a lot of people have seen them used. As soon as I saw them I remembered Dutch's use of them and the bulb turned on.

    Well, as soon as I sat down to sew the first hook in place I recognized a big problem - sewing them in place. There are basically 2 ways to sew the hooks in place:

    1. by hand , or
    2. by machine


    Now I'm lazy, very, very lazy , and in reviewing the number that I anticipated using (more than 1 ), I quickly realized that there was no way I was going to sew them by hand. So I needed a quick and simple way to sew the hooks with the sewing machine.

    After a few minutes reflection on the subject I quickly realized that using my sewing machine was not only possible, but would make the use of the hooks easily possible .

    In order to sew the hooks with the sewing machine, you need a machine with 2 things:

    1. zig zag stitch
    2. a means of lowering the feed dogs


    Not all machines have a zig zag stitch, but all machines I have ever seen do have a means of accomplishing the second necessity.

    Once you have both requirements, you need to decide on the size of the hook you are going to use (I have seen only sizes 0, 1, 2 and 3, 3 being the largest) and then experiment to determine the width of the zig zag stitch needed to span between the eyelets/holes of the hook. I use a #3 size hook. My machine has numbers ranging from 0 to 4 for the width of the zig zag stitch with 0 being a straight stitch and 4 being the widest. For a #3 hook I can use from a 3 to 4 width on the stitch width. I usually just crank the width all the way to 4.

    Once you have determined the width of the zig zag stitch you are ready to sew the hooks in place using your sewing machine.

    First, lower the feed dogs. If you don't do this, the fabric and hook will be moved and you stand a good chance of breaking a needle.

    Now you have to position the fabric and the hook under the presser foot to get ready to stitch the hook in place. I have found 2 ways to hold the hook in place to do the stitching:

    1. hand stitch the hook in place with 2, 3 or 4 stitches prior to placing under the presser foot. The number of stitches used here will vary with the fabric used. On heavy, dense fabric, I have found 2 stitches is usually adequate. On light, thin fabric like silnylon, I usually need 4 stitches.
    2. using needle nose pliers. Wrap a rubber band around the handles of the needle nose pliers to form a vise. Insert the hook into the needle nose with the open end of the hook pointing away from you and the eyelets/holes out of the pliers.


    Now you are ready to position and sew the hook in place:

    1. With the hook firmly stitched in place by hand or firmly held in the needle nose pliers, position the fabric and hook under the presser foot.
    2. with the presser foot still raised, crank the machine flywheel by hand to lower the needle into one of the eyelets. move the fabric and hook as necessary to ensure the needle is indeed in the eyelet.
    3. with the presser foot still up, gage the position of the hook and the needle to try to ensure that the second eyelet is in postion for the other part of the zig zag stitch
    4. lower the presser foot
    5. crank the flywheel by hand to make the second part of the zig zag stitch, moving the fabric and hook if necessary to ensure that the needle comes down in the second eyelet.
    6. once you have made sure the the hook is properly positioned for the zig zag stitch as above,
    7. run the machine to finish stitching the hook in place.
    8. Use only as many stitches as necessary to hold the hook. Caution: it is easily possible to use far too many stitches that creates a big hump of thread in front of the hook opening which partially blocks the opening and makes it very difficult to use the hook properly. This, of course, is not a problem when stitching the hook in place by hand.


    Finished hook:



    Using this procedure with the needle nose pliers, it is easily possible with practice to sew a hook in place in much less than 1 minute. It takes most of the time to position the hook and fabric and about 1 to 2 seconds to do the stitches. Far, far, far better than doing it by hand.

    Hook used with guy line cord:


  2. #2
    Senior Member headchange4u's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tutorial, TeeDee. I have been meaning to start using bra hooks in my gear projects. I have couple of applications that I think that bra hooks would be perfect for.
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it." -Terry Pratchett



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  3. #3
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Keep track of the bras that get thrown out from the wimmen folk in your sphere of influence. Ask them to pass the garment on to you when they no longer serve their designed purpose. It usually ain't the hooks that let 'em down. Cut the hooks off with surrounding fabric and you can stitch them on like a patch. (The wimmen folk may look at you funny until you take your textile fiber separation blades and reduce the garment to usable parts.) There's all sorts of sliders and loop locks and soft brushed elastic straps on them carntraptions what can be recycled into legitimate gear.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
    Mrs. Loftus to Huck Finn

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  4. #4
    Senior Member NCPatrick's Avatar
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    Those hooks and things aren't expensive at the store, Rev.

    Good thought to recycle though.


    "Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities."
    - Mark Twain
    “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”
    - John Burroughs

  5. #5
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Nine times out of ten if I need something like that I want it _now_ and I can't get to the store. I also find it is easier to deal with the hooks already sewn onto a base fabric. I scavage all the hardware I can from clothes and stuff before they go out of the house. Living in the sticks like this.... if I want something I usually have to order it or trek over to Wally world which can be a pain for a small piece of hardware. None of the fabric stores around here stock the small sizes of loop locks and sliders. The come in handy at times.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
    Mrs. Loftus to Huck Finn

    We Don't Sew... We Make Gear! video series

    Important thread injector guidelines especially for Newbies

    Bobbin Tension - A Personal Viewpoint

  6. #6
    Senior Member NCPatrick's Avatar
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    Understand now. I live conveniently close to the fabric/sewing stores.

    "C'mere and stand still, honey, I've got a project I need to finish..."

    Yeah, right.

    Not. gonna. happen.



    "Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities."
    - Mark Twain
    “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”
    - John Burroughs

  7. #7
    New Member Half Step's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    TeeDee, you are a sho'nuff, natural-born, stone genius!

    Muchas gracias,
    Half Step
    Half Step, aka Mal the Elder
    "In one ear and out the other,
    Don't you get criss-crossed.
    I recommend you try a little
    Mental floss. . .
    "

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