Saturday, October 20, 2012

Corded Buttonholes

I've been sewing for over 42 years and I think I've tried every sewing technique at least a time or two.  Back in the '90s, when I wore alot of jackets and skirts or jacket/dress combinations, I made a lot of corded buttonholes.  So I'd gotten pretty good at them...

Well that expertise has worn off, I guess the old adage that if you don't use it, you lose it, is true!  This is what I ended up with as I attempted to make some corded buttonholes on the Butterick 6002 jacket...a hot mess!



To fix this mess...I realized a couple of things...

1.  I was making the corded buttonholes the way I use to make them on my old Viking sewing machine and I needed to figure out the correct way to make them on my Janome.  Enter my trusty sewing machine manual.

2.  I went through my sewing library to read about how to make a corded buttonhole so I thought I would share some of that information with you as well.  I mean it's great to see a technique on a finished garment, but it's even better to get some knowledge on how to make one, right?!

First a definition of a corded buttonhole from the Threads Sewing Guide (page 241):



"For a professional looking buttonhole, and to strengthen and enhance its appearance, add pearl cotton or buttonhole twist under the stitching"

To make this buttonhole, the Threads Sewing Guide recommends that you

a. Placce the cording under the presser foot, and cover it with buttonhole side stitches as you sew.  

b. After you've stitched, pull the cord tails to hide the loop.

c.  Thread the tails into a hand needle with a large eye (use a needle threader), take them to the underside, and knot them together.  Bury a small amount on the wrong side and cut off the excess.

So armed with better instructions and the correct way to thread the embroidery floss that I was using as my cording/filler for the buttonholes, I carefully ripped out two of the three "hot mess buttonholes", marked my fabric better and remade the buttonholes.  This is what the jacket front looks like now...

Buttonholes and buttons on jacket front

Jacket with pants

The Butterick 6002 jacket was a quick sew until I decided that I needed to make the buttonholes distinctive so that they would stand out against the fabric better. Even though at one point I screamed bloody murder at them and wanted to throw my sewing machine against the wall, it was a journey worth taking because it adds the perfect touch to the jacket.

So have you ever made a corded buttonhole?  And if so, when and where have you used it?  I don't remember seeing a lot of these on garments on sewing blogs, so I was wondering if it's an unused technique or just forgotten.  

I'm moving onto a TNT dress pattern now...cause I need some sewing peace! Relearning old techniques is challenging...I'm gonna have to do these a couple more times on some more pieces so that they come natural to me again.

...as always more later!






24 comments:

  1. The only button hole I have ever done was in a sewing lesson learning my machine. I have yet to put it to use.

    Now please don't take this the wrong way - I mean it with all due respect - it is great to hear that an experienced sewist like yourself has days when they want to throw the machine at the wall. I have that most sewing days!

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  2. Every time I have tried to make corded buttonholes, the cord wiggles out and the buttonhole stitched don't cover it. On knits, I have found that it is easier to double interface on the wrong side to get better buttonholes. I fuse patches of interfacing where the buttonholes will be and I use the interfacing in the opposite direction if the fabric or facing is already interfaced. I suppose I should learn to do corded correctly. Maybe I just need to find non-wiggly cording!

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  3. Buttonholes always result in sewing machine slinging in my house. And I bought this expensive Viking b/c a well-known sewing teacher sang its praises. It's just one of the unpleasant parts of my sewing life.

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  4. I could never understand why people had problems with buttonholes (not that I've ever done corded buttonholes) until I tried them on my newest machine - horrible. The old Janome my grandmother gave me decades ago is much better and more precise, it's four step but that's fine, at least I know where it will sew etc.

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  5. Great post. I stick with the basic buttonholes not too much to think about.

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  6. I have heard of corded buttonholes, but never tried one myself. Actually, the other day I did a machine buttonhole, but I used extra-strong thread through the needle, and regular thread on the bobbin, and I thought the result was really nice! I haven't had a lot of luck using topstitch thread on my machine, but the extra-strong is a nice medium weight thread, and it gives a beefier look to the buttonhole without fiddling with the coord. The only problem is the limited color range. And I feel like I may want to try a corded buttonhole in the future, just to experiment with technique. A hand-worked buttonhole is on my list of things to try as well...

    Your jacket is looking really nice by the way!

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  7. What a great post, thank you so much for the info. I always tried to avoid buttonholes on anything I made - until I bought my new Bernina. This machine can make beautiful buttonholes and your post is encouraging me to experiment with corded ones in a knit. How great would it be to master that!!!!

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  8. I have done corded buttonholes before, but like you it's been a long time! My foot holds the cording in place. Today fabric is driving me crazy! It's taken me more than 90 minutes and I still don't have a dress cut out!! UGH. g

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  9. I have made corded buttonholes. It has been a long though since I made them. Nice refresher.

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  10. Your jacket is beautiful.. SOrry the corded buttonholes gave you so much trouble. I have never done corded buttonholes..and I don't think I want to.lol
    Look forward to seeing your dress.

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  11. I've never mastered corded buttonholes and I've wanted to use them so many times. Maybe I just need to sit down and practice! I really like your jacket, it will be a very versatile piece over winter.

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  12. I've never made a corded buttonhole, but I'd like to learn how. You've encouraged me to include them in my Fall/Winter wardrobe plans. First, I will tie my sewing machine to the table (just in case they become a frustrating challenge). The buttonholes make a difference in your gorgeous jacket. It's a perfect coordinate for your pants.

    You are an amazing, talented, and generous sewist. I'm following and sewing along with you. My wardrobe is similar but different in some ways. I am 5' tall, petite, and have a very different lifestyle. Yet, I use many of your ideas with success. Isn't that incredible? I hope that you find copying as the best form of flattery.

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  13. haha! You did it! They look amazing of course. You just needed a small break to dig through dusty old pattern boxes for me. ;)

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  14. Carolyn, thanks for this timely post! I too have a Janome that I use exclusively for all the buttonholes sewn on the shirts made for my clients BUT...it's been a long time since I've done a corded one...thanks again for the tips!

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  15. oh my gosh ripping out machine buttonholes, the very worst task of all. but a great finish to those buttonholes accomplished. I think they often make or break the garment so great you persevered.

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  16. I've never tried making them. Yours do look nice. They add a crispness to the button holes and stand out just a touch more.

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  17. I use corded buttonholes, made on my Viking, for knit cardigans. I've never used them for woven fabrics.

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  18. I don't think I've ever seen corded buttonholes before! These look so professional!

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  19. Nearly all my machine buttonholes are corded. They just look so much nicer, IMO. I have a Pfaff and loop Pearl Cotton around the buttonhole foot and once completed pull the threads to tighten the buttonhole and then pull them to the back and tie off. Not hard at all and looks so much more professional.

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  20. Interesting, whenever I make a buttonhole I make it a corded buttonhole, I just prefer the way they look.

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  21. Christine Jonson recommends using corded buttonholes, but that has never gotten me to do it! I can't visualize what to use for the cording. I do have to say the corded buttonholes look SOOOOO nice.

    RE: the fabric on this cardi...I find that everytime I try to search Mood online I don't find the wonderful things you find in the store. I really like this fabric!

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  22. In all my years, I have never done corded buttonholes ....must try!

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  23. I have never tried a corded buttonhole - it looks scarier than hand stitched or bound buttonholes. I wish there was an option on your blog to zoom in on the photos to get a good detailed look at your work. I'm so glad you could salvage your initial mess - the finished result looks really nice.

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  24. Wow! This is a really great post! I am def going to try corded buttonholes on an upcoming project.

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