Hot! The “Never, Ever Again” Blouse


The Facts:

Fabric: Liberty of London Tana Lawn “Gold Delfi”
Pattern: McCall 6336
Year: c.1940s
Notions: four 7/8″ buttons, pre-made bias tape (stash)
Time to Complete: 7 hours
First Worn: January 19, 2012
Wear Again: I think so…
Total Price: ~$35
Challenge Theme: “Buttons”

Just a few words on this one: this is why I go to Jonathan’s, people! I know that, as someone striving to increase my skill set, I should embrace buttonholes, see them as an additional opportunity to bring quality to my garments, and take pride in my willingness and ability to make a bound buttonhole.

I. Do. Not.

I was always wary of bound buttonholes, but now I pretty much hate them. They (more than) doubled the amount of work necessary to complete a basic 40s-era blouse to over 7 hours. The 4 hours I spent making the basic blouse back and adding the buttonholes were long and miserable and left me with an aching back, strained eyes, and a suspicious smell I am convinced came from over-use of the iron. I was actually unable to do much more for the rest of the day beyond lay on the couch, flat on my back, waiting for it to relax again.

I will give myself this much credit, though: I was able to do them. No major mistakes, no major issues, they are not perfect but they are perfectly serviceable. I used Summerset’s bound buttonhole method, and she was basically correct in her assurances that with proper marking and preparation, the actually sewing is both minimal and minimally difficult. I marked the buttonholes two ways, using tracing paper and a pricking wheel and also thread tracing.

That was overkill. One of my subsequent issues was pulling out all of the thread tracing. I did not succeed.

So at the end of the day, all I can say is thanks, Mena, for forcing me to stop putting off a bound-buttonhole garment. And thanks for reminding me why I am so grateful that Jonathan Embroidery is only 15 blocks from my front door!  Fifty cents a buttonhole is worth a little sanity and a functioning spine, right?



Devra is a New York-based photographer and sewer who tries to find time to do her day job in between bouts of crazed sewing.


Comments are closed.

  1. Well, for all of that work, you look marvelous Darling! Seriously, this buttonhole challenge was a bit of a butt kicker, you’ve checked the bound buttonhole box and you can move on!

  2. you said it, nettie! moving on is definitely next on my agenda :-)

  3. I wish I had such a service available! Still, you’ve done a great job and wow on the fabric. It’s gorgeous. I do like the cut-out details of the neckline.

  4. But it’s so lovely!

  5. thanks, ladies. i admit it was cute and comfortable to wear today, so it wasn’t a total loss :-)

  6. I don’t think I want to try bound button-holes anytime soon. Sounds so hard! Your final product is excellent though. I love the buttons up the back!

  7. I love the look of your finished blouse, especially the sleeves. I wish I had a buttonhole person near me!

  8. I didn’t know there were “buttonhole doers” one could hire. What an awesome thing to outsource! Lovely blouse. Exhausting-one-hit-wonder-button holes and all ;-).

  9. It looks so lovely! I love the fabric you chose and the style of the shirt. Bravo for conquering bound buttonholes!!

  10. you all are making me feel much better about life. thank you!!

  11. That’s a buttonhole I haven’t tried. My lower back is really bad so I may stay away a little longer! Great top!

  12. I love the fabric and the top is great

  13. i should probably mention, gina, that i also have a bad back and i make it worse with poor posture. :-) so i can’t say the buttonholes caused it, exactly…

  14. I had never even known of the existence of bound buttonholes until I started sewing, but it was impressive to see so many people doing them for this challenge (and handworked buttonholes too). Looks great, and beautiful fabric.

    (BTW, do you have a left handed sewing machine, or did you reverse the photo?)

  15. They look fantastic! Lucky duck that you have such a service nearby (I’ve never heard of a place like that… ah, NYC). I kinda love hand work, but I feel your pain, rather I feel pinched nerves in my shoulders!