Monday, April 30, 2012

Bound Buttonholes for those who don't like handstitching!

Hey!  Okay, here's a fairly pleasing buttonhole, I think.  I made it using both Gertie's hints and some ideas from Sherry, at Pattern Scissors Cloth.  Before you read my modifications, check out Sherry's notes on bound buttonholes; my notes will make more sense.  Check out Gertie's excellent tutorial, too, but you have to pay for her lesson on Craftsy, part of the Starlet Suit class.  

I don't like hand-stitching & never feel it's as secure as machine stitching, so this post is about some changes I made.  

Basted lines for start/stop & placement
I did use Sherry's suggestion to draw straight lines for where the buttonholes should start & stop, then basting over those lines w/ contrasting thread.  I also drew, then basted, horizontal lines to show where the bottom of each buttonhole would be.  I did this after I had ironed on the interfacing, so the basting would come out easier.  And you should rip out the basting lines before you begin sewing the buttonholes "lips" into place on the right side.  

I used almost the smallest stitch I have on my machine (mine goes to .8, and I used 1.0, but I have no idea what that means in #stitches/inch).  I found that anything larger seemed to pull at the corners & didn't look as neat.  

Some other changes I came up w/ after playing & playing & playing with bound buttonholes (I made 12 practice ones after all!)...

1. Press the narrow sides away from the hole
1. I steamed & pressed the side pieces (narrow part) away from the hole, once I'd made the cut through both pieces of fabric. I just felt like it was in the way for the next part.  This is also a good chance to make sure you didn't cut into the stitching...if you did (I did!), you can turn the binding back through the hole & re-stitch with your machine to prevent fraying.  I'm even wondering if it would be better to stitch with contrasting thread? Then you can see where to stop when you're clipping the holes.  

2. Steamed, ready for machine-stitching
2. I did not manipulate the little mouth pieces that fill the gaps by hand, then tack them down w/ a hand-sewn back-stitch. Instead, I fiddled until they looked nice, then steamed them, so they'd stay put, then I used a very tiny machine stitch to stitch in the ditch. 

I found that with the weave of the fabric, it wouldn't bend that well & stay put with just pins & my fingers.  So I pinned & manipulated & steamed really well to keep everything in place for the next part.  

3. Machine stitched & finished!
3. The next photo shows a buttonhole after I sewed it with very tiny machine stitching.  I admit that the stitching shows, if you look very closely, but this was easier & feels sturdier to me.  

I did everything else pretty much as Gertie & Sherry recommend.  
5 bound buttonholes, all in a row!

I put in 5 buttonholes, as you can see in the last photo.  I like odd numbers; think they look better, and I really wanted one button right at the bustline...

Remember, you can always click on the photos to see the original, larger size. 

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