The “Great Big Threatening Button” Shirt

The Facts

Fabric: Fabric left over from previous projects – black cotton sheeting and pink/black skully solid cotton
Pattern: McCalls M6035 View C
Year: Contemporary
Notions: 8 regular buttons 80c, 2 great big threatening buttons 50c
Time to complete: 8 hours
First worn: 15th January 2012
Wear again? Yes!
Total price: $1.30

The challenge: “Buttoned Up: Making up something that calls for buttons (regular or special buttons). It’s a technique challenge (button-holes).”

 

I’d never used a sewing machine to make buttonholes before this project. To be honest I think I’ve only sewn one ‘working’ button on a garment before this – I’m a velcro, hook & eye and zip girl.

The way I’m thinking about the Sew Weekly Challenges generally this year are there are going to be some garments/outfits that I really, really want to make to join the rest of my wardrobe and there will be some projects that I’ll make to teach me new skills and help me practice how to tailor clothes to my ‘Christmas tree’ shaped figure (forget apple or pear shaped, I’m the ‘proud’ owner of a Christmas tree silhouette). And IF the latter ‘learning’ projects happen to turn into happy accidents ie. clothes that actually work and bring a smile to my face when wearing, then all the better.

My ‘Great Big Threatening Buttons’ Shirt was a happy accident.

Some of you who’ve seen my blog Fanbloomingtastic and my profile page here on the Sew Weekly community might just recognise the pink and black skully/Day of the Dead fabric from a dress I made last year. It’s more than that, the skirt I’m wearing in that photo above is the skirt from last year’s dress. The dress just didn’t work for me. It suited my dressform better than it did me. It was also a little too dressy (well a dress would be, wouldn’t it Tempest?) for it to get much wear out…..so I unpicked the skirt from the bodice and drafted a waist band and made a big happy circle skirt that I actually wear quite a bit now.

So this week I looked in my fabric stash for some scraps of material I could make a buttoned shirt from to teach myself:

  • how to make buttonholes with my new lovely Singer Stylist sewing machine,
  • practice sewing curves in preparation for tailoring future garments later this year,
  • practice sewing sleeves on/in….living in Arizona most of my clothes are sleeveless,
  • get into the habit of doing things properly: pressing pieces in between sewing, finishing seams properly etc.

I also made a rash decision to make the shirt EXACTLY to the pattern to a standard size 22……I was going to focus on improving sewing skills rather than faffing about adapting a pattern to my actual body shape, and I’d see what would happen. I was fully prepared to be showing you photos of me not being able to fit into said shirt.

But look! The shirt almost works!

What? You doubt that the row of buttons down the front actually work? How dare you doubt me!

(Breathes in, sucks in gut)

There look! Nearly all of the buttons are buttoned! Taa-dah. Happy Tempest :)

The McCalls pattern was pretty easy to understand and I’m very happy with the way the shirt turned out. Sewing buttonholes with sewing machine one step buttonholing thingy is absolute magic! I loved how easy it was. Here’s a video about how it works on a Brother electronic machine but it was exactly the same on my Singer. Magic I tell you!

Did this ‘apprentice piece’ shirt turn out perfectly? Nope.

I don’t know quite how I did it but you’ll see if you look closely at the sleeves turn-up, the tab secured by a ‘great big threatening button’ doesn’t have a pointy top that you might expect (or is shown on the M6035 pattern packet’s illustrations). Yep, I sewed the tab on the wrong side of the shirt sleeves. If this had been a garment that I was passionately making to wear for a certain occasion I would have unpicked them and re-sewn them on the right side. But I’d decided to sew the ‘great big threatening buttons’ on the sleeve tabs anyway, and they sort of cover the mistake.

And why’s the shirt called the ‘great big threatening button’ shirt? Well, other than if features two over-sized buttons on the sleeves….what makes them so threatening? Well, it’s because I’m a huge nerd really. When I see this pink skully fabric I don’t see so much Day of Dead…..I see Sycorax. And what’s my favourite line from the Doctor Who episode, The Christmas Invasion featuring the Sycorax? Why it’s all about a great big threatening button.

Nerd.

Yep, guilty as charged.

But ‘appy :)

Author

tempestdevyne

Tempest Devyne started sewing about 3 years ago in order to make her own burlesque costumes. She'd now like to make pretty clothes for herself that don't rely on velcro and poppers to stay on. She's self-taught with help from the internet and lots of books from the library.

17 Comments

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  1. Hi Tempest, can you share where you bought this fabric, I would love to get a few yards for my stash. Thanks.

  2. Hi Krista,

    I got it in a sale at my local quilting shop in 2009 (I think) but if it helps looking online it’s by Luis Fitch for Robert Kaufman in the Viva! range and comes in pink, white or red with the black sugar skulls on it….here’s a listing on Etsy to help the search: http://www.etsy.com/listing/79807443/viva-red-black-skull-robert-kaufman

    If I see any more in the pink I’ll post a link here in the comments for you.

    Good luck!

  3. Hi Krista,

    I got it in a sale at my local quilting shop in 2009 (I think) but if it helps looking online it’s by Luis Fitch for Robert Kaufman in the Viva! range and comes in pink, white or red with the black sugar skulls on it. I just tried posting a comment with a link to it but the site put my reply into spam, so you’ll have to google it I’m afraid.

    Good luck!

  4. I’m a new Dr. Who fan (just finished watching Season 1 on Netflix) and actually recognized your Sycorax reference! Great job on the shirt and congratulations on tackling machine button holes.

  5. Hi Krista,

    I got it reduced at my local quilting shop in 2009 (I think) but if it’s by Luis Fitch for Robert Kaufman in the Viva! range and comes in pink, white or red with the black sugar skulls on it. I just tried posting a comment with a link to it but the site put my reply into spam, so you’ll have to google it I’m afraid.

    Good luck!

  6. oops sorry everyone (and Mena) for the multiple replies….they weren’t appearing so I kept trying different wording.

  7. I hate button holes, mostly because my machine is so ghetto I have to pretty much do it with a zigzag stitch. So… I stay free of them. But congrats on conquering the button hole! I think it deserves a celebration.

  8. Haha I love the fabric you used! And I think the shirt looks really nice open :)

  9. So cute! I love the big threatening buttons and the turn-ups. Fun shirt!

  10. such gorgeously bright fabric – I like the black contrast and the great big threatening buttons

  11. That fabric is so amazing, I have never seen anything like it before. I love the contrast with the black.

  12. Thank you so much everyone. I like to get fabric from quilting shops when I can because it’s so much more exciting and fun than traditional cotton designed for fashion. I’ve got more crazy fabrics in my stash that I’m hoping to make into one-of-a-kinds during this Sew Weekly Challenge year….so watch this space I suppose.

  13. I’ve enjoyed skimming your blog and now I’m happy to be reading one of your posts! I like how detailed you’ve been in explaining your process. I also love skulls!