First things first: Grommets look great!

I do like and use them, but I’ve not had 100% success with them so if I’m using a fabric they may not play nicely with and I think it will work for the design I face the holes instead*.

This is a quick run through of what I do. With the right fabric it could be adapted to have more of a bound edge look or you could reverse it and have the ‘patch’ on the outside and reverse coverstitch/zigzag around the edge. I’m sure there are more options if you have a play as well!

Click images to see bigger size


    1. For each cord hole I cut a 1.5-2″ square of the facing fabric (in this case my lining fabric, but it could be your main fabric) and a matching piece of iron on interfacing.
    2. The interfacing is ironed to the wrong side of the square of fabric

3. Next, I place the fabric over the place the hole will be with right sides together

4. I then drew the cord hole on the wrong side of the patch (I have fabric marking pencils which work quite well for this)
5. Now comes the bit that needs a bit of concentration, which you can see was a bit lacking when I did these photos… Sew around the edge of the circle, over the line you just drew.

6. Then, snip the fabric, through all layers, from the center of the circle out to the edge, making sure you don’t cut your stitching. I did short radiating lines for this:

7. Remove the pins and push the patch fabric through the hole you’ve just created and press it flat:

8. Stitch a square around the outside edge of the hole (on the right side) to keep the facing in place (again, concentration may have slipped here!). You can choose the positioning by eye depending on the size of the whole, but mine was about 3/16″ outside the circle

9. Turning it to the wrong side trim the excess patch fabric so it doesn’t get caught on the cord and poke out of the hole

10. Now continue construction of your garment following on from where it asked you to fit the grommets

If grommets are giving you a headache I hope this gives you an alternative you like the look of!

*Someone I told about this said they tend to do buttonholes in the same situation. That’s a great idea, but I confess that I probably have more trouble with buttonholes than grommets 😉