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threadWEAR 301

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The Cottage Sew Along Part Six: Buttons and Buttonholes


Welcome back to the final post of the Cottage Sew Along! Today we will finish off the garment with tips about making perfect buttons and buttonholes. When you finish your Cottage, be sure to send us photos, we would love to see it! 

​To create your buttonholes, start by drawing a chalk line down the middle of the center front hem. Then, transfer the button placement lines by drawing chalk lines horizontally across the center front hem and the top of the buttonhole.

Before you start stitching the buttonholes, use a scrap piece of fabric to test the buttonhole length. Replicate the same conditions as the garment, such as three layers of fabric, interfaced or not. To help keep the buttonhole flat and prevent the ends of the buttonhole from drawing up and puckering, place a scrap of pattern tissue paper under each buttonhole placement and stitch through all layers. Stitch your buttonhole as you would normally. This will adhere the tissue to your garment, which is easily be ripped off when you are finished.

​Using a seam ripper or scissors to cut open buttonholes can be dangerous – so often we lose control and clip through the stitching. We recommend using a buttonhole cutting kit. It is a much more precise and professional way to cut open the buttonholes without cutting through your stitching. Cut open your test buttonhole and insert your button just to be sure it fits.

Once you are satisfied with your buttonhole length and stitching, you can start to stitch on the garment. Sometimes the top buttonhole is tricky to sew because you might be sewing over a seam allowance of the collar. This added bulk can make your buttonhole foot unlevel which will affect the size of your buttonhole. To remedy this, stitch this buttonhole from bottom to top. The foot will slide over the added bulk easier, creating the right size buttonhole.

Align the right front edge at the stitching line on the left front. To mark the button placement, place a pin in each buttonhole slightly above center.

Fold the right front back to expose the pin insertion point. Place another pin on the left front to make the exact button placement. 

Sew-Through Button: Chalk mark the pin marking. Take one stitch through the right side of the fabric. Insert the needle through one hole in the button. Place a toothpick or matchstick on top of the button between the holes. Take the needle down through the other hole and take another stitch in the fabric. Repeat for several stitches ending with the thread under the button.

Remove the toothpick and raise the button to the top of the stitches. Wind the thread tightly under the button to form a shank. Secure the thread on the right side with several smalls stitches close to the shank.

Shank Button: Secure the thread on the right side of the fabric with several small stitches. Sew through fabric and the shank and fasten off with several more small stitches.

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