Monday, March 01, 2010

Buttonholes......Part 2

Continuing on.....Let me start by saying - I can't tell you exactly how to make actual buttonholes on your sewing machine (unless yours is identical to mine). Different machines have different buttonhole feet, rules, requirements, etc. So if you are unsure, pull out your manual so you can learn exactly how best to use your machine. Your manual is your friend....cheesy, I know....but oh, so true!!!

And again, this may not be applicable to your machine...but it is on mine. The bobbin case on my machine requires different threading when doing buttonholes. It really isn't a requirement as the machine will make fine buttonholes without this step. But it makes even better buttonholes with this step. On my bobbin case there is this metal finger with a hole in it. The thread comes off the bobbin and is inserted through the finger and then placed in the bobbin compartment of the machine. This gives the final buttonhole a more rounded appearance on the top of the fabric.

Even though I am always ready to be finished with the buttonholes before I even start....I always make a test buttonhole first. This checks to make sure I have everything set up properly and gives me an opportunity to check and make sure the buttonhole is truly the correct size for the button. I use the same fabric and number of layers for the test buttonhole that was used for the garment. And I really do take one of the buttons and fit it through the buttonhole. Really.

Another thing I do, although you can't see it in any of these pictures.....I always use some sort of stabilizer. You can use the stabilizer that you buy in the stores....OR you can be bad like me and just use plain paper or even a paper towel. Honestly, I always have scrap paper by my sewing machine and generally, I just grab a piece of it and "float" it under my fabric which is under my buttonhole foot and on top of the feed dogs. You can pin it if it doesn't want to stay put...but just remember to keep the pins away from any of the sewing action. Yes, I realize that paper can dull my needle quicker....but I really think adding the stabilizer is worth it because a buttonhole made with it will be so much better and generally won't "tunnel" or look all wonky.

Ok, now we are really ready to begin...using the Wonder Tape as a guide for the placement of the buttonhole presser foot, we will start stitching. This tape is such a wonderful tool because it really helps place the buttonholes so they are all consistently placed from the edge. I place the back edge of my presser foot right up against the front edge of the Wonder Tape. The Wonder Tape is completely hidden under my presser foot or I would have shown you a picture.

So, I am going to go ahead and make all of my buttonholes......five of them on this top. I try my best to make all of them at one sitting, if possible.

Here is the finished buttonhole and you can see the placement tape.

Here I have removed the tape.

Now you need to open the buttonholes so they are functional. I just use my scissors but you must be careful. I fold the buttonhole in half and making sure my scissors are only on the fabric inside the buttonhole I make a small clip.

Then I unfold the fabric and further open the buttonholes. I place the tips of my scissors into the buttonhole and carefully snip into the corners. You can also place a straight pin at each edge to keep you from cutting too far into the corner of the buttonhole. I forgot to demonstrate that here for you. I also don't use Fray Check on my buttonholes...but I know that some do.

Next we need to mark the placement for the buttons. Over the years the best way I have found to do this is to layer the back facings of the shirt. In the above picture the back edge facings are directly on top of each other with right sides of the shirt together. (Can you see that my buttonholes ran off of my facing....not good!!! But that is why I make I can correct these things in the next versions.) After stacking the facings I use a blue water soluble marker and poke through each buttonhole to the other side of the shirt where the buttons will be.

Then you'll have a wonderful mark all ready for your button. Works perfect every time!!!

Next, I re-use each piece of Wonder Tape to hold each button while I secure it on with the sewing machine. I posted about that here awhile ago.

And ta-da....that is it. I know this seems like it took me forever....but in actuality......the whole deal from starting up until I am tying off the threads from my buttons only takes me 30 minutes or less. But just remember, I have been doing this for awhile and this is my process. If you are trying to follow any directions that are not familiar to you it will take you longer until it becomes your norm. So don't get discouraged!!!

Hopefully I can get a finished picture of the top on Elisabeth later today.

I hope that you found this buttonhole tutorial helpful. And like I mentioned at the beginning, my way isn't the only way or even the "right" way I am sure. But it has worked for me over all these years....and if it helps you out in any way....even better!!!! If you have any thoughts or questions let me know and I will do my best to answer them.

However, I do ask that you not copy my information. Using the knowledge for your personal sewing is one thing....but please do not steal my information and then turn around and try to profit from it. If you like what you see here, feel free to refer people to my blog. I really do enjoy blogging....but I have been burned by some thoughtless and unsavory people along the way. If that continues it will limit my future ability to offer helpful tips and techniques. So I appreciate your respect and common courtesy. Thank you!!! Now....get busy stitching!!!!


Kelly said...

Great tutorial. I love the top, it is precious!

Tamara said...

I really liked the tip about the wonder tape at the edge. What a great idea! I think that will really help me keep my buttonholes even from the edge. Thanks!

dikisdersi said...
hi.Why do not you use it instead of scissors.

Kate said...

Love the tip about the wonder tape! And I really like that little top. Do you have a pattern for it? Kate

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