Saturday, January 23, 2010

B is for .....

.... buttonhole. Scary, scary buttonhole.

There are some sewing techniques I'm just not crash hot at.

Okay - there are MANY sewing techniques I'm not crash hot at. Some of them are really complicated, like ... I don't know, boning and corsetry. Can't do that yet, though I'd like toone day. Others, like working in stretch or slinky, silky fabrics, require materials I don't work in very often, so I forgive myself for those.

Then there are the very ordinary simple things I'm completely rubbish at, and this is where buttonholes fit in.

Buttonholes are meant to be easy, especially when you have a whiz-bang sewing machine like I do (never mind the fact that I only ever seem to use the straight stitch and zig-zag ... sigh, 147 other stitches going to waste). But I just don't do buttonholes that often - I'm more of a dress-and-zip girl - and when I do, they always seem to go wrong.

I think it's because I usually like to have more buttons than the pattern calls for. I'm paranoid about the "gaping blouse" effect; the one where there is no button in the middle of your chest, in exactly the place where you need it the most, that bit kind of across the peak of your bosom, and your shirt pulls open a little bit and everyone can see inside it to your bra. Do you know the one I mean? I hate that look, especially at work, where it seems to be very popular with some women (she said prudishly).

So I like to use lots of buttons to avoid it. Like in this shirt here, which I made about a year ago. I even used contrasting buttons because the mis-matched colours played so well against the neutrals of the fabric. And I get a lot of compliments on it, and every time I wear it, unfortunately all I can think about are the crap buttonholes I made.

Because when you use more than the pattern calls for, I never get them evenly spaced. And then I can never match where you have to sew the button on so that it is in the middle of the buttonhole. And then everything ends up looking a little "home-sewn", to use Heidi Klum's uber-insult from Project Runway. Gah!

I'm writing this post today because I'm working on another shirt, you see. And I have buttonholes to make. Nine of them. In a row. Spaced evenly, I hope.

And yes, maybe I'm using this post to procrastinate instead of actually sitting down and doing the bloody buttonholes.

Fine. Fine. I'm going. Wish me luck


Vanessa said...

want to know how you did, so post and let us know (and even a picture maybe??_.
Hope you are well!

Isabella Golightly said...

I used to feel the same way about buttonholes, even going to the lengths of buying a *bigger!* *better!* sewing machine in order to make them book better... but really, it's a practice thing. Try getting some scraps & making lots and lots and lots and lots of buttonholes. They do get easier - the hardest part for me is the placement - making sure that middle button is where it needs to be is sooooooooooooooo tricky! Lots of luck!

Kylie @ alittlereddress said...

Lots of luck to you, although I'm sure you'll be fine. I haven't made any clothing in a long, long time (does a few skirts in year nine sewing class count?) so I take my hat off to you to giving it a go... do please let us know how you go.

Posie Patchwork said...

OH yes, button holes, deep breath & to just totally ensure the machine knows what it is doing, i turn it off, i don't just reset, i cut power between each button hole. Too many tears in my experience!!
Shun that Heidi Klum, 'home sewn' is indeed an insult. Love Posie

PaisleyJade said...

I haven't even dared to try a button hole yet - you are super clever in my eyes!!

Sarah said...

SO how did you go? I have done button holes with my machine but no not more than one...

Ping said...

I. Love. That. Shirt. It's fabuloso!

Buttons give me the fear - even properly placing the actual buttons and sewing them on!

I hope the buttonholes on your new shirt went well.

Candice Virginia said...

I can relate to your feelings about buttonholes. I made wine bags for friends for Christmas this year--each with two button holes for the ribbon to slide through the casing and close the bag. After this experience I am definitely less wary of buttonholes, although I still hate how final they always seem. It's a frustrating thing to mess up! I'm really enjoying your blog, by the way :-)

~Candice Virginia

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