Bound Buttonholes - Finishing the Facing
What to do with the back or facings of bound buttonholes seems to be a topic that is little discussed. There are many good tutorials on the internet on how to make the buttonhole. Finishing the facing is very important, too. One blog reader asked about this topic, so I've decided to show you how they are done.
The are three basic ways that the facing is finshed:
Method 1: Slash the facing, turn under the edges and slipstitch the edges in place.
I don't use this method. I hesistate to cut into any fabric in a situation like this without staystitch or reinforcing in some way. I wouldn't want to put all the time into a garment that would have bound buttonholes to have that opening in the facing shred or unravel.
Method 2: Similar to Method 1, but the opening is staystitched, then slashed and slipstitched in place.
This is much better as the staystitch will help to prevent unwanted raveling of the fabric. I don't use this method, either, because to me it seems odd to have an oval opening on the other side of a rectangular buttonhole. Sorry, but that's just a quirk of mine.
Methods 1 and 2 do have an advantage in that the facing opening will be exactly where the buttonhole is with no extra measuring or guessing. Not so with Method 3, as you'll see in a moment.
Method 3: This is sometimes known as the patch method. It is also the most labor intensive of all three. For this method, the facing is marked with the exact position of the buttonhole. A piece of fabric is placed on the facing, right sides together and the two are stitched together with a very short stitch on the outline of the buttonhole. The rectangle is slashed, clipped, turned through the opening to the wrong side and pressed. The entire unit is then slipstitched in place over the buttonhole.
This is the method I use. It is not easy! You must make sure that the facing lines up perfectly with the buttonhole and that the opening you're making in the facing is the exact size of the buttonhole. I recommend marking for the buttonholes and for the facing openings at the same time - when you're tracing and cutting out the fabric before any sewing begins. Recheck positions after the buttonholes are made and the garment is assembled before making the facing openings.
Here is the facing of my red trenchcoat and the finished bound buttonholes:
So why do I use Method 3 if it is harder? I like the way it looks and I like the satisfaction of getting everything lined up just right. It is a challenge for me, and I like challenges!
Parting Shot: Elegance, 1967. I got the pattern from Mary, as a prize on her blog (everyone was a winner!). I think the right fabric choice would really important when making this pattern - I can imagine brocade, jacquard or something textured. Note that the dress has inseam pockets in the front princess seams!