Monday, October 25, 2010

Buttonholes and the Excess

I quickly want to cover the buttonhole issue today. I had never made a bound buttonhole until Saturday, and I found, using Gertie's tutorial, that there is really nothing hard about them. The question then becomes, from a design standpoint, do I want to use them.

The practice buttonhole:
Technically speaking, I think it looks pretty good. The opening is maybe a little tall, but I'm just not thrilled with the look with the thicker wool. I made some other buttonholes:
I had to use the flash so you could get a better look. After looking at some of my RTW coats, they mostly had the keyhole version. I like the one using buttonhole twist thread to make a corded buttonhole. Bottom line though? I've decided to use those awesome giant snaps. I'll always be wearing the tie belt, and the button will be covered up anyway. And if I change my mind, I can go back and put in regular buttonholes.

One of the commenters on the previous post asked why I thought I had so much fabric left over. There are a couple of reasons. The first is simply that I bought too much fabric. According to the pattern, for a size 10, I would need 4-1/4 yards of 60" fabric. Gorgeous Fabrics sells in whole yards only, so I decided to err on the side of too much, and bought 5 yards.

Reason #2 has to do with the pattern itself. The range of yardages given for all the sizes goes from 4-1/8 to 4-1/3. That's not that big of a difference really, and clearly a size 0 will need less fabric than a size 18. In my experience, many pattern makers waste a lot of fabric with their layouts "just in case", and with careful positioning, a sewist can come up with a more efficient pattern layout herself.

Which brings me to reason #3. My mom was notorious for bringing home remnants from the fabric store she worked at, and making patterns fit on seemingly too little yardage. I seemed to have picked up on that ability, and can "squish" a pattern onto the fabric, managing to waste as little as  possible. I did make some alterations, but none that really would have affected the yardage significantly.

Basically, I like to use the given pattern layouts as a suggestion, and as a way to make sure I've cut out all the necessary pieces, checking them off as I go. I do make sure to follow grainlines, and nap if there is any, as well, which is important for a successful project.

Ironically, I thought I had enough hair canvas, and have had to order some more. It will arrive in a couple of days. Oops.


  1. I agree with your pattern layout ideas. I don't even look at the pattern sheet anymore. I just lay out the fabric and then start working the pattern around. Sometimes I can then squeeze in something for my daughter too.

  2. Have you considered doing the bound buttonhole in a satin or charmeuse? My former dressmaker did that on a suit for me and it looked gorgeous.



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