Friday, September 10, 2010

Coat: Bound Buttonholes and interlining (pic heavy)

To sew bound buttonholes, I used the strip method.  Claire Shaeffer explains it beautifully in High Fashion Sewing Secrets.  First you cut a strip of fabric - mine is 2 inches wide.  After some experimentation, I decided to apply fusible interfacing to the buttonhole strips, and to the bodice front.  I used Pro-Sheer Elegance to reduce fraying without adding bulk.  Fold the long strip in half, then stitch 1/8" from the edge. 
Now cut the strips down.  I rely on a rotary cutter for neat results:
I remind myself every time:  That is a sharp blade, so be careful!  You want to keep all of your fingertips!
The strip is pretty narrow once it's cut:
In order to sew buttonholes accurately, careful marking is essential.  After experimentation, I decided to sew lines, but first I marked the lines on the back with chalk and the ruler.  Then it was easy to sew right on top of the chalk lines with orange thread and a long stitch.  I liked that because it gave good markings to both the front and the back of the garment.

The clear ruler is my favorite notion (after the seam ripper, of course :) 

The 3 vertical seams represent the center front line, and the outer edges of the buttonholes.  Then I sewed a horizontal line for each buttonhole.   This made it easy to align the strips.  The strips are sewn with the cut edge along the horizontal marking line.  The top and the bottom strips are butted up against each other, as snug as possible.  I used a short stitch length (1.5) for strength.  The stitch must start and stop at the exact edge of the marked line (the orange basting stitch).
After this step, turn it over and carefully cut a slit for each button hole. 

While I'm at it, let me show you how the interfacing works:
(click on any image to see it better)
Hmmm, I don't seem to have a very clear picture of a buttonhole to show you how they turned out.  I took all these photos last weekend and just slapped together this post in the last half hour.
Well, I'll include more pictures next time.  You know I am not finished chronicling this project!

The best part is the fit. I love what Kenneth did to the shoulder line.  The shoulder seam is a curved line that follows the slope going up towards my neck.  I think it actually helps my shoulders look a little more square.  It feels wonderful on me, too.  Clothes that fit well always feel so much better!

There is still a lot of work left to do, but no rush... 
It was not easy to start this project on a hot & humid day, but I am so glad I did.  It has been a pleasure to work on something that I don't desperately need finished immediately.
Have a great weekend and sew like the wind, my friends!
Thanks for stopping by and sharing the journey.


  1. Wow! The internal construction is pretty amazing. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to seeing the finished garment.

  2. Thanks for sharing the ongoing construction. Once Kenneth helps you perfect the fitting you cannot go wrong.

  3. Brilliant tutorial - thanks for sharing!

  4. I too am amazed by the internal construction - I have never seen anything like it - that is going to be one beautifully finished garment.

  5. Thanksfor sharing the buttonhole tutorial and the tip about curving the shoulder seam...the fit looks perfect!

  6. Looks perfect Robin, the inside is as beautiful finished as the outside will be. These are projects not to make in a hurry, taking your time is important.

  7. i just bookmarked the buttonhole tutorial - since I've never made them, they're on my current list of things to try! the pictures you took look really clear :)

  8. Beautiful work, Robin! The strip method is my favorite as well. I look forward to following your progress on the coat!

  9. Thanks for the tutorial. Pictures and Photoshop are so helpful! That is going to be an amazing coat.

  10. Looks great! Yes, the fit is the amazing part and you'll have a wonderful coat when you're done.

  11. Wow. Just wow. Look at all the details just on the interfacing! I'm impressed.

  12. Great post, Robin. I love lots of pictures. ;-) You have my attention.

  13. Enjoyed the detail of this post. I may glean just a little something from it.

  14. Everything looks so perfectly done.
    You put a lot of work into your posts and the information is great.

  15. It really looks amazing, and your construction is superb! Did you match up your underlining to your coat to locate the placement buttonhole "windows", or did you mark ahead of time and it just worked?

  16. thank you Meredith! Wow, you know what? I am struggling to remember! ... I marked the underlining. Yes, I marked everything on the underlining with tailor's marking paper and a tracing wheel.


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