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18 January 2017 @ 11:21 am
Tailor's Awl  
I'm looking at the clover straight awl and tapered awl. Anybody here used both of them? It looks like the tapered one could be better, but I'd love to hear what others think.
GeminiWenchgeminiwench on January 18th, 2017 06:58 pm (UTC)
They are both useful!
It depends on what you are using it for. I have a tapered awl I use... but that is because I made it with my own two hands! (It was my first blacksmithing project... because I wanted a nice awl so BAD!)

They both have their advantages and disadvantages.
A tapered awl can accidentally you a hole too big.
Once a hole is too big, it's impossible to take back.
But, because I use various sized grommets for various sized projects, I like the taper because I can happily place all sizes of grommets and eyelets.

Honestly, it's worth having both, though.
Firstly... because gnomes like useful tools and awls are very useful.
Secondly, because sometimes a tapered awl can damage your garment if you're not very careful when you just want tiny little eyelet holes.
Sometimes a straight awl isn't able to provide the size you'd like and you're stuck doing the hole with fingers and a pen and then you have bleedin' finger tips from doing a corsets worth of 'em!
helenatroy: dancinghelenatroy on January 18th, 2017 10:13 pm (UTC)
Oh hey thanks I'm really grateful for your answer.

I ended up deciding on the tapered - I guessed that since it was more expensive it was better... (I know)

This decision was so complicated since the only place I can find it is on line and the shipping costs are more than 50% the cost of the item... I could have canceled another order (of a rapidly disheartening product) and I think gotten the straight awl for free shipping, but I would have had to wait or something.

My friend with Amazon prime says she'll get it for me. We'll see if that works...

In the meantime, at least I know what to watch out for with the tapered on and not to make a too-big hole.
GeminiWenchgeminiwench on January 22nd, 2017 11:27 pm (UTC)
It's worth it to mark your tapered all like a mandrill (which is a tapered ring sizer) with a fine-tipped permanent marker for the different size holes so you know where to stop. To do this, put a grommet (smooth face toward the handle, rough split toward the taper) on the awl, push it gentle till it stops and mark the BOTTOM of the grommet onto the awl, noting the gauge. Don't force the grommet up, just mark it at the bottom when it gets snug on top. It helps me, at least!
Yvonne De RooijYvonne De Rooij on January 21st, 2017 06:22 pm (UTC)
Maybe mark the tapered awl where it is the width you need. In a way that doesn't transfer to the fabric of course.
helenatroy on January 21st, 2017 06:58 pm (UTC)
I got the tapered awl. I found that with this project at least the awl only went so far - I couldn't get the hole to open any bigger. So basically I'm getting a uniform size hole. (It's kind of smaller than I'd like...)
virginiadear: LaBellavirginiadear on January 21st, 2017 09:10 pm (UTC)
Do you mean the hole itself, before you sew the eyelet (assuming here that you're making hand-sewn, rather than punched/crimped metal eyelets or grommets?)

If so, this might help. Sew around the hole some distance from it (some smalldistance, so the running or stab stitches you're making aren't farther from the hole than the total size you want the eyelet, including its thread, ah, binding, to be. Go around the hole twice, so that when you have finished this step, you'll have what looks rather like saddle stitching or machine stitching.
Then and only then, overcast the hole's raw edges, bringing the needle through the fabric just outside that circular boundary of stitches, which are there to help stabilize the whole shebang, and pulling on the sewing thread to help keep the hole its desired size. (You'll find you'll have to reinsert the awl several times during the eyelet sewing process, to shove the fabric's threads back out to the size you need.)
FINALLY you can do your final working of the eyelet hole in buttonhole silk twist or whatever thread you're using.

Hope this is of some help!
helenatroy on January 22nd, 2017 02:00 pm (UTC)
I mean the hole before I make the eyelet, BUT - I had seen pics of that outer ring in some of the tutorials I looked at. I didn't do it because ... lazy (it's a mock up that I've had sitting around for like a year and I'm in 'just finish it' mode)

But, the holes definetly did close up once I'd sewn around them. I still have the four eyelets of the shoulder straps, so I'll use this technique when I do those. Thanks!