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How to use jeans rivets

15 March 2011, 12:31

I’ve sewed a bunch of jeans over the past few years, and with every single one, I’ve been disappointed by the quality of the rivets available to buy as a home sewers. I’ve tried the ones available in stores, like Prym, Hemline, etc and every single time they let me down. Even when they’re properly hammered into place, they move around and “jangle” a bit, they’ve been snagging my coat linings, and I’ve had several fall out under normal wear of the jeans. For my last few pairs, I haven’t even bothered using rivets at all. I’d rather not use any than ones that look and behave badly!

I’ve been keeping an eye out for quality rivets for a while now, and I’ve heard word that a man named Junior in Louisiana does excellent ones and will sell them in small quantities. So I took the plunge and bought a few of his high quality rivets (and a handful of all-metal buttons while I was at it), even though it meant importing them from the States.

Seriously, these rivets are fantastic – they look just like RTW, are easier to install than the crappy ones, and once they’re in, they’re in!

Here’s the finished back pockets up my upcoming jeans:

I can never go back to crappy rivets again – for real, I’m tossing the others in the bin. So as part of my grand education scheme, I’m going to show you all how easy these are to install. Just say NO to crappy rivets!

How to install jeans rivets

You’ll need an awl (an ice pick may work in a pinch though), some pliers with a wire cutter, and a big ol’ hammer.

Here are the Rivets pieces. On the left is the nail, which goes on the underside of your jeans. On the right is the cap, with the right side shown at the top, and the wrong side (which connects to the nail) underneath:

Use an awl to poke a hole where you want the rivet to be:

Poke the nail (T-shaped piece) up through the hole from the underside:

VERY IMPORTANT! Trim the nail down with some wire cutters so the spike poking through is only a milimeter or two taller than the fabric. (If you don’t trim this down, the nail will bend and snap when you go and hammer it in!)

Place the rivet cap onto the nail:

Place your jeans so the underside of the rivet is on something very firm, like steel or concrete (wood is too soft, and you may end up marking your wood!). Take a hammer and bash the rivet a few times. I’m pretty inept at hammering and my inaccurate blows were more than enough to set it.

And you’re done.

These are in SO well that when I tried to rip out a test rivet, the denim actually gave way before the rivet did. And there’s no sharp parts to snag my coat linings! I’m in love!

(And to be clear – I’m in no way affiliated with Junior. I’m just a seriously happy customer!)

There’s a full rundown and photoshoot on my new jeans later this week!

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  1. Wow. That is hard core clothes making! It uses DIY tools and everything. Well done on your excellent discovery, though!

    karen    Mar 15, 01:27 PM    #
  2. Great tute! (Bookmarked :) )

    Claire (aka Seemane)    Mar 15, 02:23 PM    #
  3. I’m suprised you were not happy with Prym. I hate to say one thing, though, I’m much more satisfied with their snaps since I started using their pliers instead of hammering… Can’t wait to see the jeans…

    G    Mar 15, 03:24 PM    #
  4. I’ve also used these rivets – I bought an ample supply. They are great!

    — Shams    Mar 15, 04:08 PM    #
  5. I too have had that problem. When I bought some rivets and metal buttons last year to make a pair of jeans for my guy, after putting them on I was completely disappointed! Thank you so much for the awesome review and the link! It’s high time I made myself some jeans. Proper jeans.


    the Cupcake Goddess    Mar 15, 06:42 PM    #
  6. Thanks for the great tip to shorten the nail!! I never thought to do this but it would make so much difference, as I find it’s almost always too long. Thanks!

    — Sew4Fun    Mar 15, 10:44 PM    #
  7. This is brilliant – thank you! I’ve long been put off rivets because I couldn’t get that professional look and feel to them.

    In a similar vein, do you have any recommendations on eyelets? I’ve been very disappointed with the Prym ones with their ragged undersides and tendency to pop out.

    — Kate H    Mar 16, 11:51 AM    #
  8. I’ve purchased RTW grade rivets from www.grommetmart.com (US company). Only problem—the pin is quite long and I couldn’t get it to bend, even with a hammer. Thanks for the tip – I’ll try shortening it.

    Joy    Mar 16, 09:26 PM    #
  9. Junior has been added to my favourites. I suspect I will be ordering soon. Thanks Melissa!

    Kim Hood    Mar 22, 02:52 PM    #
  10. I DID just order, thanks to your review… I’m planning to use the rivets in leather, so wish me luck!

    I did a test riveting with some scraps, and was very happy with the results, although I plan to do another test riveting with a slightly shortened nail before I do the real thing. One thing I’ve figured out so far? I’m gonna have to use a drill to make the holes….

    — E House    Feb 16, 07:51 PM    #
  11. This is Junior the rivet man. If any of y’all order jean rivets or jean buttons from me, let me know you came from the Fehrtrade blog, and I’ll send freebies!!!

    Junior Doughty    Feb 23, 09:52 PM    #
  12. I just placed an order. Looking forward to using on Jalie 2908 pattern

    Sara G    Feb 21, 09:29 PM    #
  13. Thanks so much for the link! After attempting and failing to use some terrible fabric store rivets (which only came in nickel finish for some reason >_>) I ordered some of all of Junior’s rivet types. They all looked so nice I wasn’t sure which I’d want to use for my current project XD
    Can’t wait to receive them, which shouldn’t be too long since I’m only one state away from Louisiana =D

    Kimberly    May 31, 12:28 AM    #
  14. I just ordered some of these to make my first pair of jeans. Excited!!

    Janice    Nov 17, 03:54 AM    #

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