Hot! The “Just Keep Smiling” Top

The Facts

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!



Amy has been sewing since she was a teenager, but 'got serious' about making her own clothes at the end of 2010. She is starting to learn about balancing sewing and blogging with the rest of her life.


Comments are closed.

  1. I like the buttons, definitely put a smile on your face.

  2. Cute top! Love the buttons!!! :)

  3. The contrast sleeves are great and I like the button placement very much. (yay for doing it properly)

  4. Very fun top! The buttons and their placement make it interestingly unique.

  5. I love the combo of the buttons and the fabric you picked!

  6. Seriously love this top! *scurrying away into the ‘must sew one day” folder in my brain*

  7. This is really nifty! I love the button up effect and kudos for you working the crazy shaped buttons this early into your button stitching journey!

  8. Very cute. I like novelty buttons as well.

  9. Great top! The fabric and buttons are so cool, I would not have been able to resist them either and doing it properly always looks better in the end.

  10. I like the contrasting fabric and the buttons cute. Nice job!

  11. I really like it, and I’m glad to know I’m not the only one struggling! Keep smiling is right.

  12. Love those sleeves, well done!

  13. I love it! Your contrast sleeves make it a truly fabulous piece.

  14. Those contrast sleeves are fantastic!

  15. Very pretty! The buttons fit perfectly to the little red hearts.

  16. So cute! Immediately think of the Stones’ logo :P

  17. Thanks for your wonderful encouraging comments everyone! You’re right – I do feel it was worth going with those buttons and the process…not taking the easiest route is how we learn, right? x