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What is your sewing nemisis? You know…the one part in a pattern or tutorial that makes you cringe, want to throw in the towel or go rouge and alter the construction? I see time and time again that sewists are scared of sewing garments made with buttons because they hate sewing buttonholes. Can you relate??? I hope to help you conquer that fear with a few handy tools and some tips to guide you to sewing perfect, easy buttonholes.
First let’s talk about my favorite tools for sewing button closures (affiliate links):
This expanding sewing gauge will help you evenly space the buttons/holes without headache!
Fray check will keep your buttonholes looking neat and tidy!
Frixion erasable pens are perfect for marking on fabric. A little heat (such an a warm iron) will erase the pen marks from fabric with no trouble!
Now let’s look at how these tools will help you sew buttonholes without having to hold your breath!
Prep your bodice, skirt placket, etc. with lightweight fusible interfacing. I’ve applied the interfacing to the wrong side of the main bodice. This will help stabilize the buttonholes and buttons and make it much easier for your sewing machine to manage.
First thing’s first- you need to decide how many buttonholes are needed. In my example, I’ll be sewing 4 buttonholes. I’ll start by sliding open the expanding sewing gauge to have 4 points on my garment.
If you are attaching a skirt (like in this example) or have any restrictions on where the button/buttonholes can be placed, be sure to keep that in mind. In my example, I want to be sure the button is at least 1/2″ away from the top and 1 1/2″ away from the bottom of my bodice. I slide the sewing gauge until I had 4 points along my bodice with 1/2″ from the top and 1 1/2″ from the bottom.
I like to lay out the buttons I’ve chosen to be sure the spacing looks good. I also mark where the buttons will be sewn so that can cross check with the buttonhole spacing.
I love using my sewing machine buttonhole foot to sew the buttonholes. I especially love this one since it has a metal bottom and really grips nicely to my fabric. I find the size of the buttonhole will be by placing the button in the spot in the back (button guide). Then I double check that the buttonhole (shown by the pressure foot scale or the space between the two points that the automatic buttonhole arm travels) will fit.
I use that space to mark where the buttonholes will begin and end on the left side of my bodice. Using a frixion erasable pen, I mark on the left bodice where the buttonholes should begin and end.
After a quick run through the machine, I am ready to open up the seams. I place a pin at the end of the buttonhole so that the seam ripper doesn’t take off and rip through more.
Lastly, you’ll want to apply a thin line of fray check along the buttonholes once seam ripped to keep them looking neat after wash and wear.
Once your buttonholes are sewn and finished, overlap the bodices/plackets and double check that the buttons should be sewn in the same markings previously made. If all is good to go, use your sewing machine and sew the buttons to the other side of the bodice/placket. If you aren’t familiar with using your sewing machine to sew buttons, hop over to this great tutorial.
Well there you have it! Button closures made easy!!! I hope that gives you a little more confidence to tackle those cute patterns with button closures. Happy sewing!
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2 thoughts on “Tips & Tricks on Tuesday: Sewing Button Closures”
Cassie, did you use the expanding button hole gague to make your buttonholes horizontal or vertical? Which is the best way?
I did these buttons vertically because it’s for the front bodice, like a shirt placket. If I was sewing a back bodice with buttons I would sew them horizontally.