Pyjama Party 5 – False Fly & Buttonholes

First, we’re going to sew down our false fly extension. Press the extension to one side and baste across the top edge.

False Fly Extension Pinned

We’re then told to top stitch the fly down with two rows of stitching. I found this a tiny bit fiddly and I’ve detailed my process in the four-photo collage below.

  • I chalked the bottom of my sewing line through the dot we marked with a tailor’s tack.
  • I sewed the first line of top stitching from the reverse. (You’ll want to be confident of your bobbin tension if you’re going to do the same – you don’t want wonky bobbin stitches showing on the right side of your make.)
  • After that, I sewed the second line of top stitching from the right side, using my first line of top stitching as a guide.
  • The fourth photo below shows you the top stitching from the reverse – it was impossible to photograph from the right side! It’s not the best stitching I’ve ever done, but hey – who’s gonna be staring at my crotch!

False Fly Collage

One false fly extension completed!

Next, adding buttonholes to the waistband. The pattern instructions suggest adding patches of interfacing to the rear of your buttonholes and I strongly endorse this step. It makes a big difference to the quality and longevity of your buttonholes.

My other top tip is to practise your buttonholes before starting work on your waistband. See below – there’s a significant difference between my first test buttonhole (left) and my second (right). You’re not just testing your machine’s efficiency, you’re easing yourself into the process. Please, please do this!

Test Buttonholes

Then I marked my buttonhole placement on my waistband, and added patches of interfacing. If you pink the edges of your patches – that zig zag pattern – it helps prevent a severe demarkation showing through on the right side of your fabric when those patches are pressed.

Patches of interfacing

The only step left is to make your buttonholes and open them up. I use my seam ripper in two or three steps across the length of the buttonhole. How do you open yours up?

Opening Up Buttonhole

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13 Responses to Pyjama Party 5 – False Fly & Buttonholes

  1. Lynn says:

    I use a buttonhole cutter. It leaves smooth even cuts without any jaggedness to the slit. I used to hate the loose threads and tatty appearance from buttonholes cut with scissors or a ripper, so now I only use the buttonhole cutter.

  2. Karen says:

    Years ago I was taught by someone to hold the button hole vertically and put a pin across the lower end of the top overstitched end ‘bar’ and then push the seam ripper from bottom to top. If your seam ripper slips you do not slash into the bar and unravel everything. Has saved many a buttonhole!

  3. Wendyp says:

    I always practice my buttonholes before making them for real… Such an important step. It gives the chance to see how the fabric behaves and the chance to change any settings on your machine… As to open up the buttonholes, I use my seam ripper too. But I first make a small cut on one side, and then I go over to the other side to slice it open completely. That way, if my seam ripper slips, the chance of destroying that buttonhole is much less likely.

  4. CGCouture says:

    I can’t recommend one of those buttonhole chisels enough, those things are AMAZING!! Seriously, go get one! 🙂

  5. rachelinred says:

    Yeah, I always do it with a seam-ripper, but lately i come across so many horror stories about ripping your entire buttonhole, that I’m kind of wondering if i should get one of those buttonhole cutters to try and prevent an approaching disaster. Aargh!

  6. Sharon says:

    A buttonhole cutter is the way to go, it is a must in everyone’s sewing room!

  7. LinB says:

    I use the seam ripper to poke a tiny hole in fabric — or a steel crochet hook, if that’s what falls into my hand — then insert the tips of embroidery scissors to more precisely cut the buttonhole open. Ramming the seam ripper through the slot runs the very real risk of plunging straight through the end of the buttonhole and on up the rest of the garment. Unless you are going for a deconstructed, or punk, look, not the best option.

  8. For those who don’t have the buttonhole chisel, and use either a seam ripper or Xacto blade to open the buttonhole: I like to put a straight pin across the far end of the buttonhole (just inside the sitting) as insurance. The seam ripper or blade will hit the pin and stop, keeping you from bursting through the end of the buttonhole.

  9. nice. your writing is warm and encouraging. off to read The Guardian!

  10. Sarah says:

    I am not wandering off into the realm of gynaecology here but ….. does anyone else have an inexplicable hole at the distal (nearer the leg than the waist) end of the crotch?

    Also, have leapt ahead and bunged some elastic in hurriedly, not sewn down or anything, just safety pinned in, and I am desperately depressed about the fit. They are HUUUUGE and I cut a very daring size 8 all round when I am a high street UK 12. Yes – the lady in Village Hab measured me and told me this was what I needed to do. I hope they turn out all right in the end.

    Can’t wait for the next lesson. I haven’t a clue what “stitch in the ditch” means. (It sounds filthy.)

    Finally, the brand new overlocker is so much fun! Tiny disaster though – went a bit fast and got a piece of wanted garment chopped right through at one stage so I have an unwanted hole at the back too!

  11. Pingback: Pyjama Party with Karen @ Did You Make That? | enchantedbybooks

  12. Erin B says:

    I started garment sewing after many years in the upholstery business so I usually have a plain razor blade handy for ripping seams (except on very delicate fabric – for those I actually use a seam ripper). I place a pin through the bar end of the button hole then place my garment over a cardboard box or similar surface and cut the opening with the razor blade. Beautiful buttonholes every time.

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