The “Just Keep Smiling” Top
Fabric: Two fabrics that have been in my stash for years – black polycotton with a bit of stretch and just 1/2 metre of ‘Summer of Love’ cotton to eke out.
Pattern: Simplicity 2406
Year: About 2009
Notions: Lip-shaped buttons! Who knew?
Time to complete: 6 hours (so many mistakes…)
First worn: January 2012
Wear again? Yes.
Total price: £4 (for the buttons)
Having spent years studiously avoiding button-holes, after one hideous needle-snapping attempt a long time ago, there are probably better ways to start off learning this technique. Strike 1 was deciding to draft and sew my own pattern in one week for this challenge, on top of the learning process. I’ve had the idea kicking around for a while (I think it was inspired by a Toast catalogue) for adapting a raglan sleeve so that it buttons up along one armhole seam, and this seemed the perfect opportunity to try it… except for the time shortage. I hit enough glitches to shelve the drafting and pull out my tried and tested Simplicity 2406.
Strike 2 was thinking I could figure out the process from the symbols on the machine and a quick bit of googling. Oh dear, no. Turns out (after finally finding, reading and re-reading the manual) my machine has an automatic button-hole foot, and I’d spent half an hour trying to sew it in four steps. Doh. And strike 3 was getting carried away by the cute little lipstick buttons. They’re so fun, and totally click with the print, but as a complete button novice I really should have started with something round and simple.
And, after all that, I had the uneasy feeling that I could’ve just made up the top according to the pattern, sewed the buttons on as a decorative feature, and it would’ve looked exactly the same. So much so that I had to take this picture just to prove there are real button-holes underneath, promise!
But: once I got past all the design problems, the button-holes themselves were surprisingly quick and easy to sew; I really like the top; and I’d probably always have lusted about those buttons if I hadn’t bought them. So that’s actually a genuine smile in the photos. More button-hole projects coming right up!