Sometimes you just need to get stuck in. You know?
In my last post about the V8548 coat, I voiced my fear about making bound buttonholes through two layers of wool and one layer of interlining. Well, some part of my brain must have been telling me: that just doesn’t sound right. I mean, how does even the most expert Sewist do a good job through all those layers? Thank goodness I went away and checked. No, Karen. You make your bound button hole through the surface layer of the coat at an early stage in the make. (A second stage opens up a slit in the lining to push the buttons through.)
This meant my need to practise became more pressing. Time to roll up my sleeves and conquer my fear!
Gertie’s bound button hole tutorial is superb. There’s nothing I can say that she hasn’t already carefully explained. But I found I could add one or two extra pointers, as we’ll see.
The making of these button holes is so clever. So very clever! See my little button hole windows, lined with organza:
Did I mention that this process is fun, too? Once you’ve reached this stage you are meant to press the windows open so that the organza is barely noticeable from the right side of your make. This is one part of the process that I slightly struggled with. No matter what I did, I could still see the organza peeking around the edges. Can you see the right hand side button hole in the below shot? Can you see that organza?
The button hole on the left is performing better. Here are my top tips:
- Press over a tailor’s ham rather than on the flat.
- Press on the wrong side of the make and pull the organza back so that a lip of wool rolls over to the rear.
Can you see how I’m pulling the organza away from the little window here? Can you see that lip of wool fabric rolling to the rear? That’s what you want!
Press your button hole like this and you’ll have a much better ‘window’ in your fabric. Don’t worry about tearing the organza – it’s strong.
After this stage you make the ‘lips’ of your bound button hole:
Here’s my other top tip. Gertie suggests that you ‘may’ want to slip stitch around the edges of this button hole ie where the top rectangle sits against the lips pinned to the rear. I am going to replace the word ‘may’ with ‘absolutely should’. Any remaining glimpses of organza will disappear and you can be confident that your pieces are going to stay accurately in place as you do your last bits of machine sewing. Your slip stitching doesn’t even need to be that great with fabric like this – the stitches sink into the wool and disappear out of sight.
One last minute-long session at the sewing machine, and I had these:
Not bad for a first attempt! I guesstimate these two buttonholes took me an hour and a half. So for my four button holes on my coat I need a three-hour window. That’s a nice morning or afternoon’s work.
I honestly found these far less stressful than the machined button holes I’ve made on my Beignet skirts. With a machine-bound button hole you can be such a victim to the vagaries of your machine and its mood! I felt very in control of this make all the way along.
Yet again, I have Gertie to thank for making a new process painless and I feel slightly less scared about ploughing on with my coat. And, as always, remember – if an idiot like me can do this, so can you!
Now, all I need to do is duplicate this work on the coat itself. Oh, dear. I’m feeling ill again…