Last week’s challenge on Sew Weekly was based on a Buttonhole/Button theme, so I thought what better time than to try my hand (officially) on sewing some buttonholes. By hand of course!
I decided to sew the Violet blouse from Colette Patterns for the challenge. I have very few basic white shirts (one springtime blouse and one casual knit T), neither of which are good for layering in the winter nor good for work. So I took to my stash and picked out a drapey, 100% cotton fabric to help boost my wardrobe and fill the huge gap that could only be filled by a white blouse.
Since I have no idea how to take good quality indoor photos yet, I went outside and suffered through the cold and snow to get semi-decent shots of this blouse. What I wasn’t counting on was how washed out some of my images ended up being due to the bright sun and white snow; all the light was being reflected off of my violet blouse as a result. Yikes! (You should know even these images have been Photoshopped so that you could some details on my blouse).
I’ve heard others complain that this blouse pattern is too boxy for their tastes. I think I really lucked out with the same fate since my fabric was quite drapey and it’s good to know for next time. One alteration I would do for next time would be to shorten the armscye; my blouse is pulling a bit across the bust when I stretch my arms out. I didn’t wasn’t up for making a muslin on this blouse, so I’ll just live with it for now.
I added a little ruffle around the collar to add *a little something* to my basic white top also. I added it to the sleeve hems but later decided to remove it; I ended up looking a bit *froo froo* which Felix also agreed on.
Let’s talk Buttonholes!
You all may recall my first attempt at the buttonhole stitch. This time went a bit better…. Kinda. I started by following along with Sunni’s Tutorial on hand worked buttonholes which was very good. In her tutorial she uses a silk buttonhole twist along with some buttonhole gimp underneath to stitch her buttonholes. Back in December I had ordered myself some white, silk YLI buttonhole twist but it hadn’t arrived in time. I know you can’t use embroidery floss so I went and used some pearlized cotton that Sunni recommends as my backup.
Per her directions you stitch your buttonholes over the buttonhole gimp which I did on my first buttonhole (at the bottom of the blouse). It looked bad! My pearlized cotton thread felt really thick so I unplied it and used just one of the strands instead, which was my first mistake. Secondly you could see the buttonhole gimp through my actual buttonhole stitches which also was not good.
Here’s my first, sad-looking buttonhole:
It’s not horrendous, but it certainly isn’t pretty.
After running back and forth from my computer to my sewing table, I went and got out one of my old sewing reference books and also found some great buttonhole directions and worked forward from there.
Here’s the page on buttonholes I thought you would all like to see:
Isn’t this a lovely image of buttonholes?!
Here’s the corresponding text:
I went back to using the whole strand of pearlized cotton, which was super thick, and omitted the buttonhole gimp since my thread was already too thick (ie additional reinforcement was necessary) and got into my buttonhole grove.
Here’s my second buttonhole:
My stitches are quite even, but you can see that the fabric seems to be pulling a bit around my stitching (mostly on the top). I’m thinking this is due to my thick thread. And you can also see space between each of my buttonhole stitches… This is also due to the fact that my thread was too thick; the purl stitches right along the inside are right next to each other and I couldn’t get my stitches closer together without making everything else look bad.
All of my other buttonhole stitches ended up looking exactly like my second one; no improvement but I didn’t get any worse, either. I consider that a win. :) I’m thinking I can only improve once I get the proper tools (ie silk thread). I should state, if I were ever working on a garment that has a heavier weight fabric, I wouldn’t hesitate to make buttonholes with the cotton. My blouse is just way too thin and drapey for the thickness of the thread I used.
Here’s my buttonholes in action:
Not too terrible…. I’m probably going to be the only person who even notices my buttonholes are very thick, well, me and my mother who apparently is the master-buttonhole-maker. :)
I nearly forgot to tell you….With making my first hand stitched buttonholes I finally got to use my grandmother’s buttonhole scissors!
How they work is that you twist the screw at the inside which forces the scissors to not be able to close all of the way. As they’re shown above, the screw is halfway up and I have the scissors closed as far as they will go. And you can see my cut-buttonhole on the middle of the right hand side, just below the scissors. Neat huh!! They produce the cleanest cut without monkeying around with the seam-ripper.
Two days after finishing up my blouse for the SewWeekly theme, guess what came in the mail!!! You got it! My SILK buttonhole thread. heh
If you’d like to read more or see other images here’s my post on the SewWeekly site.