Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Episode in Which our Intrepid Heroine Is Defeated By a Buttonhole

Four awesome leather buttons from my new favorite button shop

Four buttons: that is all that is standing in the way of completing my Karl Lagerfeld skirt. (Insert angry grumbling sound here.)

Back in October when I was contemplating upgrading myself to a PR "Intermediate" sewist, I mentioned that I was not all that experienced with button holes. Little did I realize that I was foreshadowing my own demise! (Is that overly dramatic to say? Mea culpa, peeps.)

I did several test runs on scraps of the fabric, which is a thick, but loosely woven wool. But when I went to sew the actual button holes there were problems. The waistband is not too wide, so my button hole foot is hanging off the edge of the waistband or sitting unevenly because part of it is sitting on a seam. So, I'm having problems with the feed dogs moving the fabric. It keeps getting stuck and making a bobbin nest rather than smoothly feeding. Last night, after very carefully ripping out my second failed button hole, I quietly backed myself out of the Craft Lounge.

I could try using my Granny's machine. I've never tried a button hole on it and am not sure how to do it, but it's a very sturdy and reliable machine, once you figure it out. Or I could march myself over to Jonathan Embroidery where I can pay them to make the button holes for me. Although that smacks of defeat, I think. 

So, before I head back to the Craft Lounge for round 2 of button holes, please share any tips or words of wisdom. Many many thanks!

14 comments:

annie said...

How about stabilizer on the back side, the kind that dissolves?

Clio said...

Good suggestion, Annie! I'll give it a try. I think I have some in my stash.

Tanit-Isis said...

If the hanging-off of the foot is the problem, you can fold up some other fabric and wedge it under to fill in the space.

I have to admit, in these circumstances, I tend to resort to hand-stitched buttonholes. Or really ugly zig-sagged messes. Or both. Good luck! ;)

puu said...

considering that jonathan's only charge 50 cents per buttonhole, i am not sure how that is defeat :-) i'd say start marching! every buttonhole on my self-made garments was finished at jonathan's. no shame.

Clio said...

@ Tanit-Isis - A hand-sewn button hole? That's just crazy talk. hee hee

@ puu - Hmmm, you make a compelling argument...

puu said...

if it makes you feel any better, even kenneth king agreed with me that it was silly to make buttonholes on your home machine when jonathan's would do it properly for practically nothing...

Faye Lewis said...

I've had that happen to me too. I know you won't be defeated though.

SEWN said...

If Jonathan's buttonholes are good enough for Lindsay T then they're good enough for me! ;)

Karin said...

I find button holes difficult too. And I have a top of the line embroidery machine, so it should be *easy.* I still have a lot of problems. I think I'd rather insert a zipper!

Tia Dia said...

Well, I was going to suggest hand-worked buttonholes (they're really not that difficult!), but if Jonathan's will do them for you, go for that!

Lindsay T said...

No, no, no, no. It is not defeat to get your buttonholes made at Jonathan. Darling, anyone who is anyone gets their buttonholes done there! Do not obsess one more minute over buttonholes and get yourself over to W. 38th Street pronto.

Lindsay T said...

BTW, you should see the beautiful keyhole buttonholes Jonathan just made on my new raincoat. A thing of beauty. Go first thing in the morning before work, if you can. Less likely you'll have a wait. Saturday mornings are slow there too.

K.Line said...

Buttonholes torment me. I seriously need to work on this one - but I'm too freaked out by them to take the next step. I've had a many bad machine buttonhole experiences since I've been sewing. Note: I think it's the machine.

Clio said...

It's the machine, K. I think even good home machines are just not great at buttonholes. And there really are so many good hardware alternatives, like hook and eye hardware, snaps, bars...