The “Bad to Better Buttonholes” Blouse
Fabric: 1 1/2 yards of a white, drapey cotton shirting material.
Pattern: Colette’s Violet Blouse
Year: c. 2011
Notions: 7 buttons and a bit of ruffle trim
Time to Complete: 2-3 hours (minus the buttonhole sewing)
First Worn: January 2012
Wear Again: You bet! This will be one of the staples in my wardrobe.
Total Price: $12
I love the theme for this week’s challenge, Buttonholes, since it was the perfect opportunity for me to try my hand at handworked buttonholes. And boy are they tricky! Who would ever have thought that such a basic little stitch could be so challenging to master?!
In preparation of the challenge, I ordered some white YLI silk buttonhole twist, like Sunni suggested in her handworked buttonhole tutorial. But come Saturday night, mine hadn’t arrived in the mail yet. Mega Drats! Luckily I had a backup, some DMC pearlized cotton that proved…. interesting to sew with.
For my prep, I did as Ms. Sunni instructed:
- Waxed all of my DMC cotton thread
- Stitched 1/8th of an inch all around my marked buttonholes, on the machine
- Cut the buttonholes with my grandmother’s awesome buttonhole scissors
- Applied some fraycheck to the holes (1st time using fraycheck too!)
- Tacked down my buttonhole gimp
This is a lot of prep work for the little buttonholes and I really didn’t want to ‘waste’ more time by sewing up a practice buttonhole. So I just dove right in! It can’t be too hard…
Well peeps, here is my first buttonhole:
It’s not horrible, but it’s not so great either. Since my thread was so thick, I decided to separate the two strands of the thread and work with one ply at a time. This was a mistake! The thread lost a lot of it’s strength and was floppy-like; not at all what normal thread should be like.
Then there’s the issue with the buttonhole gimp. You can see it between my stitches when you look really close.
And then there’s my stitching… it’s mehh.
After learning from this first buttonhole (which is the bottom-most buttonhole) this is my second-better buttonhole:
Due to the thickness of the thread, there are gaps between each of the buttonhole stitches whereas the purls are right next to each other on the lips of the buttonholes. (I should mention, this thread would be the perfect thickness for a wool coat or on heavier, non-blousey fabrics.)
My handy stitch-work looks a bit more even on this guy, don’t you think?
The trick I found was to use the 1/8 of reinforcement stitching around my buttonhole as my guide for placing each of the hand-worked buttonhole stitches. The rest of the buttonholes all looks just like my second one, no real improvements, but I also didn’t regress back to the sorry state of the first buttonhole. heh I’m thinking that my buttonholes will only really be able to improve once I get my hands on some of the fancy, silk buttonhole twist thread.
I choose to make Colette’s Violet Blouse since I love peter-pan style collars. Additionally, I needed a basic white blouse in my wardrobe. Can you believe I only have one other 1 top in my closet?! this blouse is definitely going to be one of my workhorse shirts from now on since it will match with everything. *hip hip*
I added a bit of white ruffle trim to the edges of the collar to add a bit more flair and I used some clear buttons from my stash.
I am sooo cold!
It was a mistake to take photos in open-toed shoes…. I know that now. :)
I hope you all do try your hand at handworked buttonholes. Once you get past the first one or two, it should be smooth sailing.