Saturday, November 3, 2012

Bound Buttonholes

Today is the day I faced the three dreaded words : "make bound buttonholes".  I couldn't even put it off until the end of the coat!  It was the second step, after sewing the coat front pieces to the side front pieces.

I've never made a bound buttonhole before, and frankly, they scare me.  That's something for advanced sewers or people with a lot of patience.  I consulted my Better Homes and Gardens Complete Guide to Sewing, and chose the "simplified patch" method.  It claimed to "ensure success" by having you cut the slit after lips were sewn in place.  OMG, did I just use "slit" and "lips" in the same sentence?  That sounds so vulgar!  Mind out of the gutter, Amy! 

It seemed really overwhelming at first with all the basting and marking, but once I got the hang of it, it was no biggie.  My first one turned out pretty but WAY too big.  It wasn't until a couple buttonholes later that I figured out what I was doing wrong.

I was sewing all the way to the ends of the lips, instead of ending at my basted markings, so I wasn't able to push the lips through the opening. This time I actually drew in pencil the length of the button, so I knew exactly where to cut. Once I was cutting the correct length, I realized I was sewing the lips too far.

 Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

The third try was a mess. The lips are too thin, the opening too wide, and the edges look sloppy. I still feel like I'm describing something other than a buttonhole, people. What is wrong with me!

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App 

The fourth try was lovely. It's perfect! Even my husband, who couldn't care less about buttonholes, thought it looked good.

 Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I was ready to do one on my coat. The first one turned out good.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App 

The second one is a disaster. Aaah! What do I do? The corner turned out awful. I am too much of a novice to take it out and try again. I don't really know what I'm doing, and what if the buttonhole gets all big and stretched out? I wrapped it with some thread and I'm hoping it holds up. Sad. I don't have more fabric to re-cut this piece and start over.

 Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Buttonholes 3 and 4 turned out fine, but neither as lovely as the good practice one. Oh well. It's my first coat and my first bound buttonholes, so I am not expecting a miracle. I'm sure this post was incredibly boring to all the wonderful skilled sewers out there, but it's new and exciting for me!

6 comments:

  1. I think you are MUCHO brave. I've been sewing forever plus one day ( and have the Many UFO's to prove it!) and have never tried a bound buttonhole. However - I am sure that with the absolute KNOCK out fabric you chose and your skills will wipe out ANY one even noticing it! I've put you on my favorite/sewing list and will enjoy watching your progress. Hugs to a fellow sewing gal!

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  2. Good job. I haven't tried bound button holes yet, so i can only imagine doing one - i'm too scared so far! luckily haven't done a project that asks for any.

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  3. Way to be brave and go for it. Your first coat one is very beautiful! I think you have the right attitude, and I hope you finish the coat and wear it with pride.

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  4. I felt the same way when I started on my cape. I really f*cked up a few of them but no one but me notices. The thing is, they are pretty easy once you get the hang of them, and really make the most beautiful, magical, vintage, I goddam made this vibe to your labour of love.... I am so geeked to see your final magical product. Cheers to new skills!

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  5. i distinctly remember doing a bound buttonhole in 8th grade. i distinctly remember taking it up to Miss Jane Cotton (don't you love the name for a sewing teacher) and it was approved. that was 43 years ago...you did a great job. you're using a macro lens, for petes sake...no one but you is ever going to know there's a problem with a buttonhole in that beautiful garment. i agree with west coast boomer...

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  6. Nice job! Bound buttonholes are hard. You got a couple of beauties, and the second one on the coat doesn't look too bad to me. I read somewhere that when you are doing buttonholes, you can start at the bottom and perfect your technique as you go up, as people are less likely to notice the lower ones. But, people are not likely to notice little imperfections anyway. I look forward to seeing the finished coat!

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