I’ve never been a big fan of machine-made buttonholes, and given the time and choice, I would rather do something with a better finish, like a bound buttonhole. I’ve had a garment go bad one too many times at the buttonhole stage, and it’s not an experience I relish after putting hours into a garment. Recently, I was finishing up a final project for a patternmaking class and time didn’t allow for anything but a machine-made buttonhole..
My final project is done!
I dragged out my sewing machine manual and buttonhole foot and set out to make several test buttonholes on the fabric. When I was satisified that I could repeat a successful outcome, I carefully marked the buttonhole placement on the jacket, and set about to oh-so-carefully stitch the jacket.
I had chosen some vintage wooden buttons from my step-mother’s mom’s collection. (I am the recipient of all vintage sewing supplies in my family, but that’s another story.)
Yet again, I discovered why I don’t like machine-made buttonholes. As I carefully slipped the seam ripper in to cut the buttonhole open, I discovered that the weft of the denim was white and ready to unravel at a touch. There would have been a time when I would have thrown my hands up in despair. That was before I learned that buttonholes were hand-stitched, long before someone figured out how to make a machine make them. Hence, the buttonhole stitch.
Rather than just abandoning myself to a buttonhole with frayed white threads, I took up my needle and thread and set to patiently snipping stray threads and sewing a new buttonhole stitch around the perimeter of the buttonhole. Soon I had a neat blue buttonhole that wasn’t frayed around the edges.
This is yet another reason why I love hand-sewing. There is nothing you can do on a machine that you can’t do with a needle and thread. Granted, some things are more expedient on a machine, but with a needle and thread you have more control over the result.
For some great projects where you can try out your hand-sewing skills, check out the Craft Tree Teacher Gifts, just in time to make an end-of-the-year present for "Teach."
Do you have projects where you like to jump in with a needle and thread and do some hand-sewing? I would love to know.