It's best to first explain what alternating hook and eye tape is. Typically, you can buy hook tape and eye tape at most fabric stores. One of the tapes has hooks on it and the other tape has eyes on it, usually these hooks and eyes are sewn into the tapes. With alternating hook and eye tape. The hooks and the eyes are riveted to a single tape and they alternate in placement of hook followed by an eye followed by a hook followed by an eye and so on.
The advantage of alternating hook and eye tape is that once the hook and eye tape is done up it is very difficult for it to come undone without effort. Standard hook and I tapes come undone fairly easily. Alternating hook & tape are an advantage in the back of dance costumes, because no matter what motion the dancer does, there is limited to no risk of the hooks and eyes coming undone.
The image on the below shows two rows of alternating hook and eye tape.
The hooks and eyes are fairly substantial corset hooks and corset eyes that are riveted on to a stiff twill tape.
Notice how each twill tape has a hook and then an eye in alternating sequence.
Be sure to confirm how the hooks and eyes line up before you cut the tape! A hook needs to be opposite an eye. If you’re not careful you can end up with the problem below.
Keep in mind it's also very difficult to undo a garment you're wearing yourself if you have used alternating hook and eye tape. Not easy to get into or get out of, but sometimes this is a good or even important detail.
When using hook and eye tape it is important that the hooks and eyes close in a manner that does not allow the skin to be visible between the two edges of fabric. If the tapes were sewn to the edge of the fabric you would get a gap between the edges of the fabric as indicated in the image below.
“right side” “wrong side”
Fold and press your fabrics along the “center front” line (or the “center back” if you are applying the hook and eye tape to the backs). It is important to press this fold. Once the hook and eye tapes are sewn on, it will not be possible to press this edge.
Using a narrow foot on your machine (likely a zipper foot), check that the foot will fit inbetween the hook and the eye on the tape.
Open the pressed fabric edge up and align the hooks and eyes of the tape, with the fold line that indicates “center front”. Using a pencil or pen mark the center point between each hook and eye both on the tape and on the fabric. You’ll use these lines to confirm placement of the tape so mark carefully and be sure the tape does not cover the marks you make on the fabric.
Stitch each of these short lines between every hook and every eye. Sewing only through the tape and the single layer of fabric. Stitch from the raw edge to the fold mark and back so that each row is double stitched.
Fold the raw ends of the tape under and stitch in the same way unless the tape will go all the way to the end of the fabric and will get bound off with it.
Refold the fabric along the “center front” (or “center back”) line. Pin along the fold to make sure the fabrics stay in place. Stitch close to the riveted edge of the hooks and eyes, stitching through the tape and both layers of fabric. This will create a bone casing that allows you to slide a bone behind the hooks and eyes for further support…it does increase the challenge of getting the hooks and eyes done-up and un-done.
If you have no need or interest in creating a bone casing stitch the tape to only one layer of fabric at this point by not folding the fabric along the “center front” line.
The following steps do not include a bone casing.
The fabric was not folded back into place and the long row of stitching to secure the tape to the fabric was sewn through the tape and one layer of fabric only.
Now fold the fabric into place along the “center front” line, pin along the fold and stitch a second row of stitching along the edge of the tape. Stitching through the tape and both layers of fabric.
Attach the hook and eye tape for the other side onto the “sewn on” hook and eye tape. This will determine the placement of the second tape on the other piece of fabric. Slide the other piece of fabric into place so that the folded edges of the “center front” or “center back” butt snuggly against each other. Mark the tape and the fabric as outlined above.
Stitch the tape to the fabric in the same way as outlined above. BUT, notice that the placement of the hook and eye tape on the fabric may not be the same. I prefer the opening not to be centered over the bar of the eyes.
View from the inside
View from the outside