Today I have invite Kylie from Handbag Hardware Australia to be here to help us learn all we need to know about Rivets. Rivets play a big part in my new pattern The Hippo Hobo, so we are so lucky to have Kylie here to help us today 🙂
So over to Kylie…
To attach your rivets you’ll require the following items:
- Old Chopping board or work area you can hammer on
- Rivet Setting Tool and Anvil
- Saddler’s / Hole Punch
Anatomy of the Rivet
Essentially it’s made up of two parts
- The top / head of the rivet and
- The Cap which attaches to the bottom of the shank to close off the unit.
The anatomy picture highlights an important element which is the shank length. The picture is of two identical head width rivets being 9mm however the shank length differs by 2mm which makes a big difference in the world of a rivet.
Choosing the right shank length
Rule of thumb for shank length is 2mm longer than the relaxed thickness of the area you’re riveting.
The correct shank length ensures the rivet has enough traction/compression to hold over the long term.
In reference to the picture:
- Rivet 1. While it will still work it won’t be on for a long time, only use this in areas of low activity – decoration only.
- Rivet 2. Perfect length 2mm over the relaxed thickness of the fabric means there will be enough hold for longevity.
- Rivet 3. Too long, this will also still work, however you’ll have trouble keeping it straight and there’s a chance the excess shank may push through causing a bubble in your cap and no one wants that!
What does relaxed thickness mean?
Effectively, when your project is sitting idle without any pressure this is the relaxed thickness. I’ve used one of my favourite tools, the Vernier Calliper, to demonstrate in the photo, however, you can also use a ruler against the fabric edge.
Take into account the fleece, interfacing, fabric, leather or other attachments, you want to get the actual thickness of where the rivet is going without squashing the area.
The two pictures above demonstrate how the relaxed thickness determines the shank length of your rivet.
- The bag body example with 640 fleece, DHJ501 (SF101) and main/lining fabrics is 6mm thick and so requires the 8mm shank length.
- The Handle however is 8mm thick and needs a shank length of 10mm to hold it in place.
How to attach a Rivet
Mark the placement of where you’d like the rivet to go following any pattern instructions.
Punch through all layers on the mark you created earlier.
Note on Saddlers / Hole Punch sizing – the diameter of the punch should be slightly less than the diameter of the shank. Eg. Shank diameter is 2.25mm, your punch diameter should be 2mm – slightly smaller so that it’s a snug fit.
Thread the shank of the rivet through the hole so you can see it on the opposite side.
Once the rivet shank is through place the cap on the end, it will click into place
Bring out your chopping board, hammer and smooth side of the setting tool anvil.
Place the anvil on the chopping board (or hammer safe surface)
Centre the cap side of the rivet onto the anvil
Using the curved end of the setting tool.
Ensuring the cap remains in the centre of the anvil, place the setting tool over the top of the rivet head and strike down with your Hammer forcefully several times to close the unit. NOTE: It’s very important that the alignment of the hammer, direction of strike and setting tool are straight up and down.
Jobs done! Congratulations.
|Twisted Rivet||1. Hammer/Setting tool alignment – pressure/direction needs to be straight down
2. Shank length too long for application
|Cap is warped/bubbled||1. Shank length too long for application
2. You’ve hit too hard for too long
|Cap popped off after a few uses|| Shank length is too short
Also recommend in high wear areas, such as handles, use a bit of glue between the body of the bag and the handle than rivet. This will support it further, especially if there’s no stitching being used
|How do I remove a rivet I don’t like||Use your pliers and remove the cap end first than pull the shank out.|
|I don’t want to spend the money on a rivet tool||The teaspoon method – yes this does take a bit of practice and you have to be super straight with your hammer and accurate on your shank length, recommend slightly shorter shank length. However, you can do all of this with a teaspoon, blu-tack and a scrap piece of fleece fabric. The teaspoon becomes your Anvil, blu-tack holds the rivet in place in the centre of the teaspoon and your fleece is used to protect the rivet head from the hammer blows. It’s not perfect but it definitely gets the job done (with a bit of practice)|
Thanks Emma for inviting me to create this little riveting tutorial (sorry couldn’t help myself!)
Thank you so much for the great information Kylie, I’m sure this post will help heaps of wonderful bag makers out there 😉
Until next time, happy sewing and riveting 😉