Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bound Buttonholes: 5 Methods


making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to
Recently, I was looking through some of my vintage sewing books on the subject of bound buttonholes. I have made bound buttonholes before but it has always been part of the pattern so I would just follow the pattern instructions. I found that there are quite a few methods for making bound buttonholes. I was surprised because all of the modern patterns (or modern reproductions), as well as modern sewing books and all the tutorials I have ever seen online have pretty much been the same method. I decided to test some of the different methods to see which I like the best.

The Patch Method

This is the method I am used to seeing in patterns and tutorials. Maybe I'm too much of a perfectionist but it always bugs me that I can never get the two sides of my buttonhole to be completely even and parallel to each other.

To mark the buttonhole make a line on the wrong side with chalk or pencil the length of the buttonhole. Mark the ends of the buttonhole with short perpendicular lines. Then baste-stitch through the center line to mark the buttonhole on the right side.
making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to

Cut a straight grain patch of fabric 2" wide and 1" longer than the buttonhole. Fold the patch in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and lay the folded edge along the baste-marking on the right side of the fabric to line up the center with the buttonhole marking. Then unfold and hand-baste the patch in place.

making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to

With a regulation stitch length, start stitching in center of one side 1/8" from buttonhole. Stitch to the corner and pivot, across end, along other side and end, and back to center. Overlap the last few stitches with the first few stitches you made. Make sure to leave a thread tail, at least 3", on either end.

making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to
Wrong side
Thread the tails through a needle on the right side and draw them through to the wrong side. Tie them together. Clip threads.
making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to
Right side
Cut buttonhole through both layers of fabric, from the center to about 1/4" from each end. Clip diagonally to corners, all the way to, but not through, the stitching.

making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to

Turn the patch to the inside through the slash. Press seams outward and make an inverted pleat, with the edges touching in the center of button hole. Press.

making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to

On wrong side, tack the edges of the pleat together at each end of the buttonhole.

making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to

Final thoughts: I think this is the preferred method in patterns and online tutorials because it has the least amount of steps and is probably easiest to explain. I don't think this method gets the best results, however. As I mentioned, there is no way to make the sides of the welt completely even and parallel. I realize it is a minor imperfection and nobody would ever notice the edges of my bound buttonhole are almost even, but it still bugs me.

 

Piped method

In the interest of time I used a packaged piping. You could certainly make your own piping out of your garment fabric or a nice contrasting fabric. The Colette Patterns blog has a very good tutorial here.

Mark your buttonhole as described above.

Cut two strips of piping, each 1" longer than your buttonhole. Trim the seam allowance of the piping to 1/8".  Lay them on machine with raw edges together. Stitch across ends at the length of the buttonhole.

Pin the strips in place on the right side of the fabric, having the raw edges of the piping on the buttonhole line, and the stitching at the ends of the buttonhole. 

Stitch 1/8" from the raw edges the exact length of the buttonhole, directly over the previous stitching. Back stitch at each end. Leave at least a three inch thread tail.

Draw the threads, with a needle, from the right side to the wrong side and tie them together, clip.

Slash the buttonhole, cutting diagonally to each corner as in the patch method.

Pull strips through the opening, matching corded edges at center. Press.

making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to

 Place garment right side up on machine and fold fabric back so the end of the strips and the triangular slashed piece can be put under needle (see the picture below). Stitch and back-stitch a few times over the very base of the triangle.
making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to

 Here's what the finished buttonhole looks like on the wrong side

making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to

Final thoughts: This method would be perfect for a heavier-weight fabric. This is definitely a sturdy buttonhole, and looks very neat and perfect. The fabric scrap I was practicing on is too lightweight, causing the wavy-ness you see. If I make a wool coat or tweed jacket or something this will definitely be the buttonhole I will use.

 

Two-Piece Method

This method is almost exactly like the piped method, only without the cording.

Cut two strips of fabric 1/2" wide and 1/2" longer than the length of the buttonhole. With wrong sides together, fold each strip in half lengthwise. Stitch close to the raw edge.
making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to

Pin the strips to the right side of the garment with the raw edges touching the basting stitches marking the center of the buttonhole, and centered so 1/4" extends to either side of the buttonhole end.
making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to
 
 Mark the ends of your buttonhole on the strips.

Stitch 1/8" from one raw edge starting and ending at the buttonhole ends you just marked. Back stitch at each end. Repeat on the other strip. Leave a thread tail and pull the threads through to the wrong side with a needle, tie and clip.
making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to

Slash from center of buttonhole and diagonally to each corner, as described in the patch method. Pull strips through opening to wrong side of garment, matching folded edges in the center. Press.

making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to


Stitch triangles to end of each strip.
making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to Here's what the finished buttonhole looks like on the wrong side.
making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to

Final Thoughts: I really like this method. The resulting buttonhole looks perfect and neat and this is fairly quick with few steps. The only question I have about it is how well will this withstand use and abuse on a garment? 

 

Tucked Method

Cut a strip of fabric 1 1/2" wide and 1" longer than your buttonhole.

Baste stitch 1/2" from the top and bottom of the strip. 
making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to

Fold strip to wrong side on stitched lines. Press. Baste 1/8" from folds, making two tucks on either lengthwise edge. Remove the basting stitches along the fold.
making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to

With right sides together, place strip centered over buttonhole. Transfer the buttonhole end markings to the strip. Stitch through each fold, the exact length of the buttonhole, directly over the previous stitching. Leave a thread tail at each end. 
making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to

Pull the threads to the wrong side and tie. Slash through the center of the two tucks. Proceed as in patch method - Clip diagonally to corners, turn strip to inside through slash, pull the ends to straighten, match folded edges in center. Press. Stitch triangles to strip.

making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to

Here's the wrong side of the finished buttonhole.
making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to

Final thoughts: The resulting buttonhole looks good. It does seem a little redundant to stitch the tuck and then stitch over that stitching to attach the strip. Which is why I prefer the next method.

 

 Baste and Tuck Method

Cut a straight grain strip of fabric 1" longer than buttonhole and 2" wide. Right sides together, pin strip to garment, centering over buttonhole.
making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to

Stitch on wrong side through center of buttonhole.

Baste stitch a line 1/4" on either side of the buttonhole, extending 1/2" past buttonhole to the end of the strip. Make sure these lines are exactly parallel with the buttonhole line.

making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to

Halfway between the buttonhole and basted lines, 1/8" from the buttonhole line,  mark a line exactly parallel toand the exact length of the buttonhole.

On right side of garment, fold one edge of fabric strip back over the basting toward the buttonhole. Press and repeat for other edge.

making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to


On the wrong side, stitch on the lines you just marked, stitching through the fold of the strip. Back stitch at ends and leave thread tails.

making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to
Wrong side

making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to
Right side.
Pull threads through to wrong side and tie. Remove the basting. Proceed as above: Slash, pull strip through to wrong side, stitch ends and fabric triangle.
making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to

making sewing bound buttonhole tutorial how-to
Wrong side of finished buttonhole.

Final thoughts: This one is probably my favorite. It has quite a few steps but the resulting buttonhole really neat and perfect. The most important thing is to make sure all those lines are parallel or you will end up with the two sides crooked. Also, this one by far looks the neatest on the inside.

4 comments:

  1. Most excellent tutorial. Thank you!

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  2. Thanks so much for posting this! While I'm familiar with most of these, and also prefer the baste & tuck method, I'd never heard of the piped one before. I'm hoping to do a couple of winter coats this upcoming season and will definitely be trying out the piped method for them. Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you use pre-made piping it is pretty quick to do, too.

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