The Red Trench - Part Seven
I am making progress on the trench, really, I am! I just have to attach the bottom ruffle, finish the hem and then finish the buttons/buttonholes. If everything goes according to plan (how rare is that?) then the trench should be finished tomorrow night and I'll show it to you on Saturday.
Today I'd like to show you how I made the bound buttonholes. Tany made some fabulous triangular bound buttonholes on her red trench, but I decided to make the regular rectangular version. I also decided to try out a new technique for forming the lips of the buttonhole. I really think that the getting the lips just right and perfectly even is the hardest and most frustrating part of bound buttonholes. I was doing a little research on bound buttonholes and came upon a method in the good old Reader's Digest Guide to Sewing that I thought would be good to try. They described it as a good method for beginners, but let me tell you, any method that will give me good and accurate results, I'll use!
I followed their directions, with a few modifications to make it even easier. Here's how:
Step 1: Prepare the garment and the patch. Mark both the fabric and the patch for the length, width and center of the buttonhole. Mark both sides of the fashion fabric - this is an additional step, but will be useful.
Step 2: Place the patch on the right side of the fashion fabric and line up the markings. Baste on the center line of stitching and then 1/4" on either side of the center line. You can see from the photo below that I've marked the patch exactly where I need to baste.
Step 3: This is the step where you start to form the lips, so accurate stitching is important. On the right side, fold down the top edge of the patch, along the basted line and press. Now, flip the entire piece over to the wrong side keeping that patch edge folded down. Using a small stitch length, stitch a line between the center line and line you just folded the edge of the patch over. (Stitching from the wrong side is different from the book.) I found it helpful to mark a line exactly where I needed to stitch on the wrong side of the fabric, and you can see that in the third picture below. When finished with one side, fold the patch up and out of the way, fold up the bottom portion of the patch along the basting line (second photo below), flip over and stitch another line the same as the first. In the third picture you can see what it looks like from the wrong side, with the three basting lines and two lines of stitching in between them. The last picture shows what the buttonhole looks like from the right side at this point.
Step Four: Remove all basting stitches. From the wrong side, cut down the center of all layers and diagonally to the corners of two rows of remaining stitches. Turn work over and from the right side, clip only through the ends of the patch to the points of the triangles, see the second photo below. If you don't do this, you won't be able to pull the lips through!
Step Five: Pull each half of the patch through the opening to the wrong side of the fabric making sure the triangles get turned to the wrong side as well. Notice that the lips are already formed! There will be no folding on the wrong side or fiddling around try to get the lips symmetrical and even. On the wrong side, baste the edges of the lips together in the buttonhole area and slip stitch the edges together on either side of the hole.
Step Six: From the right side, fold back the fashion fabric to reveal the triangle and lips of the buttonhole. Using a small stitch and stitching close to (but not on) the fold, stitch several times from the top edge of the lips, through the base of the triangle and down to the bottom. This will secure the ends. Repeat on the other side.
Step Seven: Enjoy - from the front and from the back:
I am extremely pleased with the results! I've always liked the look of bound buttonholes and now that I've found what works for me, I will probably do all my bound buttonholes this way from now on. If you haven't tried a bound buttonhole, grab some scrap fabric and try one. The results are worth any investment of your time.
Speaking of investing time into your sewing, what techniques do you use that might be a little time consuming, but are worth it in the end? You know, those things that make sewing easier or add that perfect finishing touch.
Parting Shot: The Old Man and I. My husband was taking pictures on Thanksgiving Day and took this one of Max and me. Max is now officially 17 years old, and his health isn't the greatest, but he still is such a sweetheart.