I was lucky enough to receive a Prym Vario Creative Tool to put through its paces.
The tool aims to provide a ‘one-tool-for-all’ for non-sew fastenings such as eyelets that you might have previously needed a hammer, tripod tool or specialist pliers to fasten. The tool can be used for punching holes, attaching eyelets and tubular rivets and these are reviewed here. There are other tools – attaching press fasteners, for example, that are not included in this review.
Each set of tools is colour-coded (e.g. eyelet tools are green) and the corresponding box of rivet components is also colour-coded in green to avoid confusion.
What's in the Box?
The box contains the Vario Creative Tool and a set of piercing tools ranging from 2.5mm to 4mm. (The tool should include a measuring bar, but this was missing in my set). The tool feels really solid and has plastic feet to avoid it slipping. It also has an adjustable screw under the handle if you wanted to reduce the amount of pressure when you press the handle
For all the main fastenings, you first need to pierce a hole in your fabric. You can see in the picture a small purple plastic piece with prongs. This is to help the upper part of the piercing tool slot into the Vario tool and is inserted first into the top part of the Vario tool. The piercing tool part with the point sits on the purple base plate, fabric is laid on top and the handle pushed down to create a hole. The action is decisive – when you hear and feel a click, the hole is punched! It was a very clean cut every time.
I used a thick piece of leather on which to punch the holes and the tool did this effortlessly. These holes range from 2.5mm to 4mm in diameter and should cover most needs.
Each toolkit contains an illustrated step-by-step sheet to help you attach eyelets. Using the purple plastic pronged part as before, you insert the upper component of the eyelet tool into the Vario tool and the lower corresponding part into the base plate of the Vario tool. Make sure you have the correct parts of the actual eyelet in the correct position under and above the fabric before you press down. The tools vary depending on the size of eyelet and the diagrams showed you which component to use. Line up the punched hole with the tool components. A little trial and error made for a successful eyelet! There is also a YouTube video for eyelets too which we’ve embedded below for you.
The tubular rivets came with an illustrated sheet to help with attachment. There is also a video on YouTube that we have embedded below. I managed to attach a set of tubular rivets through a double thickness of leather. Note that this toolset is only designed for tubular rivets (not rivets) that go through several layers of fabric with a minimum 4mm height and maximum 9mm height as detailed on the tubular rivet packets (see photo), depending on the hollow rivet length. The tool is certainly well able to attach tubular rivets neatly.
Prym are working on producing a Vario toolset for ordinary rivets.
The tool is very ergonomically designed, good looking and is effortless to use even for weaker hands, and through a very thick fabric like the leather I used. It would be a great asset to have this tool if you love bagmaking, working with leather, making jeans and other items where metal fastenings are used.
They certainly add a professional finish to sewn items. There are a number of tutorials for items you can make using the Vario Creative Tool, including a yoga mat bag.
The illustrated instruction sheets are very clear and with a bit of practice, you will easily be able to attach eyelets and tubular rivets. I did, however, find it a bit difficult to remove the purple height adjustable platform on the Vario tool for the tubular rivet tool to sit inside as it needed a good strong push with my finger to remove it.
All in all, I would definitely recommend this tool for anyone to use in place of the earlier and less ergonomic hand tool versions. The Vario Creative Tool can be used successfully by anyone, even people with weaker hands, as you are using a pressing motion with your whole hand rather than squeezing your hand.
Find out more about the Vario Creative Tool here. The RRP is around £95, you can buy it online from Little Legs Fabrics or Oh So Good Fabrics. The different tool sets and components are sold individually, so you can buy just what you need.