Button Band Tip

how to sew a button band

I am currently sewing a blouse that asks you to attach a button band to a pre-hemmed front pattern piece. Above, you can see where the base of the button band meets the hem of the blouse front.

Whenever you have a junction like this, you want the two sections to meet up closely and accurately, so that there’s no ‘jump’ in the hem’s line.

Over the years, I’ve discovered a trick when attaching two sections like this – I end my row of stitching just short of the finish line. Can you see below, the little gape?

button band detail

sewing a button band

That little bit of leverage allows you to adjust and tweak the way the fabric sits, when you flip the rear of the button band over and sew it down. This, in turn allows you a smooth and accurate meeting point along the hem. Job done.

Sometimes, sewing is about knowing when not to sew. Sometimes, it’s the empty spaces that count! Do you have any tips like this, learnt from trial and error?

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18 Responses to Button Band Tip

  1. liz n. says:

    Clever tip! Thank you!

  2. Jacq says:

    Top tip!

  3. That’s brilliant! Thank you.

  4. JenL says:

    Those precise details on blouses and shirts can be so difficult to manage sometimes. I tend to discard separate button bands and redraft the shirt front with an extension instead – but it is tricky when pattern matching is involved.

  5. kssews says:

    “knowing what not to…” is a great point! I am working on a skirt with button band and as I clipped and trimmed, I made a mental note to stress that sometimes, ‘less is more’ when trimming and grading seams. It’s so easy to believe if you trim A LOT it’ll help A LOT. And sometimes you need that extra bit of fabric for reinforcement/stability.

    Very nice junction there 🙂

    • didyoumakethat says:

      Yes, that’s a really good point re trimming.

    • indigorchid says:

      Oh, I agree so much! I find a lot of pattern instructions has you trim away a triangle from the corner of the waistband for example, but I think the corners are easier to manage and get neat by having the fabric in the full seam allowance to fold back on itself.

  6. Robin says:

    Lately I have learned to see a hand hem as the preferred finish for knits. There are a few reasons for this conclusion – lofty knits don’t get crushed (my machine’s pressure foot is not adjustable), mistakes are MUCH easier to unpick, I have much finer control over the end product, to name a few. As with your example, a hand hem as a solution is much less, but the result can be much more, depending on the fiber content. It may take a little longer, but not if any unpicking is necessary, especially of the machine stitch you have used is a wobble, zigzag or “lightening” stitch. Also, when doing a hand hem on a knit, you should do it in a fashion that is looser and less intensive than you might think, because a knit has a lot of give and take on the body, and the stitches in the hand hemming should also allow for this give and take. So long, light and loose overcast stitches will be just right!

    • didyoumakethat says:

      I love a loose stitch when it comes to hand hemming, but I have yet to hand hem a knit – must try it, thank you!

  7. Robin says:

    Just thought of another one. Don’t try to make collar points too pointy. One technique to avoid excessive or unmatched points is to make one stitch at the very point on a 45 degree angle, rather than a 90 degree angle, creating a very small round, rather than a sharp point. Sharp points are the mark of superior skill, however, they can also be a bear if your skills just aren’t up to the task. The problem is not in the stitches themselves, but in turning the point, which is where things can easily get hairy. A 90% solution is usually just as good as 100%, most of the time, in my opinion.

    • didyoumakethat says:

      Great tip!

      • Beverly Falk says:

        I have learned this collar point tip also. I was told it actually makes the point more pointy, as the seam allowance inside the turned point does not stay inverted. This is hard to explain well, but the end result is a sharper point than if you did not take that extra stitch at an angle.

  8. LinB says:

    Grading seams is SO much easier when you let your shears do the work for you. Most shears’ blades have beveled edges (scissors blades usually are not beveled). To grade all your seam allowance layers in one cut, you have merely to twist your hand a bit to the side when trimming a seam. The bevel of the blades will automatically make each layer a tiny bit different in width, so that the whole shebang lies nice and flat for you.

  9. Lee Ann says:

    Unrelated to your post but wanted to thank you for your Walthamstow market guide. My daughter & I came down to London this weekend, off the train at 9, in the market by 10 with me rabbiting on about TMOS. Sadly he wasn’t there, probably off on his hols but we bought lots at Saeed fabrics,got samosas from Seth (he insisted we didn’t pay as we’d waited a while) and then finished it off with a cocktail at mirth, marvel & maud. We had a great time & will return to hopefully meet the elusive TMOS 😃.
    Thanks again x

    • didyoumakethat says:

      Wow, that sounds like the perfect day out! Yes, TMOS has been MIA for a few weeks now – trying not to panic!

  10. quantumbetty says:

    That’s a good tip! I will be sewing my first blouse soon and I am sure this will be useful! Thank you!

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