Hook and eyes 15th-16th century style

I saw this picture before Christmas, it shows different stages of hooks and eyes being made and is dated to 15th to 16th century.

I have until now used modern black or silver hooks for my 16th century projects, lazy as I am. But Seeing the picture it hit me that it is to easy to make them on your own to not be using them. So I dug out my pliers and 1mm bronze thread and did some testing. And sure enough, they are really easy to make. I never you the eyes, I do thread bars for my hooks in stead so I will only show the hook making part.

I use bronze thread as bronze seems to be very common to use in pins and needles, so using it for hooks and eyes should be period correct.

16th centruy hooks - progress
I start out with a 4cm long piece.
Using round nosed pliers I form the loops at the end
Then fold it in half
Press the wire together to make a nice shape, I use my needle nose pliers to do this.
Then I hammer it on an anvil to harden the thread a bit
Then it is time to fold, this was the tricky part and it is hard to get it even and straight. But practice makes more perfect.

16th centruy hooks

Now I need to exchange the modern ones I already have in place for these nice ones.

9 thoughts on “Hook and eyes 15th-16th century style

  1. It would be very easy to make a jig for this process that still works as a household item. Flip a cutting board over, drill 3 very small holes in the shape of a triangle the width and length you want your hook to be. Place 3 thin nails into holes and use to wrap wire to shape hooks before cutting to lengths that you will bend. If you need stronger support for the nails, consider placing deeper holes in the side of the board. When done, remove and store nails, then the board goes back in the kitchen.

  2. I have made these…I used ordinary pliers but I found polishing them to be very necessary. I used a Dremel with a felt tip and the red rouge polishing wax. This way they will not snag or cut the threads. I did make eyes also, the hole is lozenge shaped. These are about 1cm long (rather large) used on a 12thc kirtle.

  3. Oh…my…goodness! I just spent two hours looking over your blog! (Found by following a pin on Pinterest.) I am in awe of your creativity and fine execution of this creativity. Your sewing isn’t ‘sewing’ it is pure artwork! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Your work is astounding! I have been looking for clear instruction and images for hand stitching, one of my weaknesses. Your tutorials have helped more than I can express. Please continue…I have already learned much from you.
    Thank you!

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