Bound Buttonhole Get Together

I’ve been looking forward to this date for ages! 

I first experimented with bound buttonholes when I made my Vogue coat. There were times during this project when I felt really frustrated and isolated. Trying to learn challenging new techniques on my own at home was not always easy. I’m sure we’ve all been there. Reference books torn from shelves, desperate Googling, emails sent to other Sewists – a general sense of ‘Someone HELP!’ It felt a bit like this:

So once I’d improved my bound buttonhole technique with Beth of Sunny Gal Studios, I really wanted to see what I could do to help others. I invited some friends over to Walthamstow for a Bound Buttonhole Workshop and started preparing a lesson. I was a combination of excited, nervous, excited, worried, excited, anxious, excited! So I did what I normally do in these situations and planned, planned, planned until the day itself arrived.

Jane of Handmade Jane, Winnie of Scruffy Badger and Marie of A Sewing Odyssey were joining me. I spent the morning setting up our workspace.

Then I went to pick the girls up from the station! We made our way to the house via the Wood Street Fiesta that was in full force on my local high street. There was extreme knitting!

We didn’t have time to hang about, though. It was back to the house and down to work! I’d supplied each of the girls with pre-cut swatches of all their supplies. We were going to make two bound buttonholes on a sample of fabric. Handmade Jane brought along the wool she’s planning to use on her upcoming coat make. It’s yummy stuff, so warm and soft! Winnie and Marie worked with the lavender wool I used on my Simplicity 4934 suit.

Each student also had a hard copy print out of an ebook I’d put together detailing the whole process. Well, if I was going to prep for the lesson I might as well take some photos and write things down. I wanted everyone to have supplementary material to take away with them, as I know what it’s like – you forget!

I was so pleased with my students. They worked really hard and definitely all deserved an A+ for effort. Actually, they deserved an A++ for the work itself, and I’m gutted I forgot to take snaps of their beautiful finished buttonholes. Seriously, guys! Their results were pretty close to perfection, unlike any of my first attempts.

What I really liked about the session was the sharing of knowledge. Winnie told us about grading seams and during the workshop we collaboratively decided it was best to baste the welts into place at a certain stage, instead of pinning. One technique, just minutely adjusted and improved. Result!

It wasn’t all hard work…

In about three hours, the girls had made two bound buttonholes and got well into the process of opening up the rear of their buttonholes. It was thrilling to hear the ‘ooh’s and ‘ah’s of delight. One more apparently terrifying technique laid bare – huzzah!

All we had left to do was go out for dinner. On our way to the restaurant we dipped into a tempting-looking shop and I witnessed for the first time in my life the Lesser Spotted Sewist Swoop. This is when someone who sews spots gorgeous fabric and goes straight into a forward lunge. Yes, Handmade Jane moved like an Olympic athlete and scored some really, really fabulous vintage loveliness. Gold!

The day was a fantastic success. Thank you so much to the people who attended. My one complaint is that they didn’t finish off the chocolate cake. Someone’s going to have to eat that, you know…

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37 Responses to Bound Buttonhole Get Together

  1. Roobeedoo says:

    All that fun and chocolate cake TOO?!
    Looks to me like you are going to be setting up your own school of couture!

  2. sewbusylizzy says:

    Oh fantastic! I’m hoping there is something on like this when I’m visiting the UK next year ;-) hint…

  3. Debi says:

    oh how I wish I lived closer to London :) Looks like you ladies had a fabulous time!!!

  4. I love the little ‘teaching packs’ you made! and the way Winnie and Jane co-ordinated their outfits

  5. Portia says:

    What a fab day it looked :)

  6. what a wonderful way to spend a day (sorry, that really was not intended to rhyme).

  7. Sam says:

    Oh, how wonderful! It looks like you all had a fabulous time, and all learnt something new. I’d love a copy of your bound buttonhole instructions if you are willing and able to share them – I’ve just bought a copy of Vogue 8548 on Ebay to make my own coat (I’m going to do the one with the narrower neck, but would love it to have bound buttonholes if that is a possibility).

    • Oh yes! I want to do some editing and have asked the girls to feed back with constructive criticism. After that, I’ll definitely be looking at how to make it available to download. Thanks!

      • Sam says:

        Ooh, lovely! I look forward to it.

      • Angela says:

        Oh, me too!! Since I live “across the pond” I’ll never be able to attend such a fun time in person. But I would love love love to have a copy of your instructions! I’m planning a begin a coat that will have bound buttonholes, and am more than a wee bit nervous!

      • Helen Made says:

        I’d love a copy of the e-book too if you’re willing to share Karen! :-) Looks like you had an amazing day and everyone learnt a great new technique! If you want to fed-ex some cake I’m happy to help demolish it! lol

    • Joanne says:

      Ooh me too! I’m hoping to do a winter coat soon and was going to get in touch with you about your bound buttonholes technique – this would be super duper!

  8. i often imagine i look like munch’s screamer when things go really wrong!
    what a lovely way to share your skills. i envy your community of sewists!

  9. Elizabeth says:

    So jealous! Sounds like fun and you learned how to welt buttonholes? No fair. ;)

  10. gingermakes says:

    Wow, what a fun day! Wish I’d been there! :D

  11. Scruffybadger says:

    Karen thank you SO much….not only was it brilliant meeting up with good friends again, but as always you surpassed yourself with preparation, attention to detail and good ol’ common sense hands on approach to learning. I am so looking forward to completing my buttonholes and then working some up from scratch testingout the bookie. it was really satisfying to be in such a supportive and fun place to learn a new technique. And what a wonderful weekend,perfect :-)

  12. Tilly says:

    Oh how I wish I could have been there! It really looks like the perfect day. Your e-book looks intriguing. Are you planning on sharing it with your loyal readers? I’m sure I’m not the only one who would be willing to pay good money for it xx

  13. stgilbert says:

    Sewinng and cake?! Sounds a perfect day to me!!

  14. Pingback: Bound buttonholes a la Did you Make That

  15. MrsC says:

    Wonderful!! Would you consider a world teaching tour? Given all your contacts and fans globally! :) And you wouldn’t even have to bring the cake!

  16. Aw I had such a wonderful day Karen, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. x

  17. Marie says:

    I can’t thank you enough for such a fantastic day Karen – the effort you put into the whole day and the expert knowledge you shared with us is very much appreciated! I hope I can pay you back one day ;o)

  18. Sometimes I do wish I lived somewhere else. I might live in a gorgeous spot but am at a distinct disadvantage at times. Thank God for the Internet and blogs, I have learned soooo much lately. Now wondering if your ebook will go public? Tutorial? I have no need ATM for a bound buttonhole but I was interested to learn as I read along when you were making your Vogue Coat. It’s an amazing feeling to view a photo of some sewing girls in another country on the other side of the world and think, hey I know that blouse, I’ve seen it. (Marie’s version of the Sewaholic Alma Blouse: http://asewingodyssey.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/pattern-testing-sewaholic-alma-blouse.html )

  19. Rachel says:

    This sounds like such a lovely day!

  20. Bri says:

    I read about you doing this via A Sewing Odyssey and you are awesome! The first time I tried doing bound buttonholes a co worker of mine was explaining them to me and that proved interesting!

  21. Lynne says:

    Looks like it was a great day, and cake: mmmm….. I love the books you made, you’re so organised! :)

  22. Ruth says:

    That’s a brilliant idea and kind of you to organise, prep and host it. What’s the next lesson?

  23. sarahscustard says:

    So excited to see the e-book when it’s ready! I’ve already started talking with others from my sewing club in Perth about organising a special get together to attempt this together! Thanks Karen :)) http://www.bscperthwa.wordpress.com

  24. LLADYBIRD says:

    Well, color me jealous! Some of my favorite Londoneers, sewing up bound button holes in that beautiful house?! Eating chocolate cake & drinking adult beverages?! Ahhh, sounds like y’all had the best day ever. Karen – if I ever manage to make it to London, you should host another workshop so I can attend :)

  25. sounds like you had a great day – so generous with your time karen! looking forward to seeing ht ebook available as one of my upcoming projects will be a winter coat!

  26. sophie o. says:

    your students look very serious indeed!! I haven’t tried this technique yet, it does sound a little scary :D

  27. SuzeJones says:

    what a lovely event! Definitely interested in the ebook and any future lesson-based events, you clever thing you!

  28. Pingback: Vintage Buckle & Buttons – What Would You Do? | Did You Make That?

  29. Pingback: Bound Buttonhole e-book – available from me! | Did You Make That?

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