15 February 2013

Add Buttons and Buttonholes

Mathilde blouse - add buttons and buttonholes

Now comes a particularly monumental stage of making the Mathilde blouse – sewing on the buttonholes and buttons! You’ll be able to do the blouse up, y’all!

Mathilde blouse - add buttons and buttonholes

Before you start stitching, double check the placement of the buttonholes. The buttonholes go on the right back opening and the buttons go on the left back opening. (My pattern cutting teacher once told me the mnemonic, "Women’s clothing does up right over left, because women are always right." Totally sexist, admittedly, but I remembered it!)

If the buttonhole markings have rubbed off your fabric, get your pattern out and mark them on again. Line up the edge of the opening with the "fold line" marked on the pattern, and position the top edge of the pattern 15mm (5/8in) above the neckline to account for seam allowance.

Right, now let's get stitching...

Mathilde blouse - add buttons and buttonholes

Stitch the buttonholes on the right back opening. Depending on what sewing machine you have, you'll probably do either a four-step buttonhole if it's manual, or a one-step automatic wizzy one if it's computerised. Read about sewing one-step buttonholes, or take our Sew Your Own Shirt or Shirt Dress workshop if you'd like to watch the process for both in videos and get lots of helpful tips and tricks :)

Open up the buttonholes carefully with a seam ripper. To avoid ripping right through them, make an incision in one end, gently rip towards the centre, then do the same in the other direction.

Place the right back opening over the left one as if you were doing the blouse up, then pin in place. Push the tip of a chalk pencil or washable pen through the buttonhole to mark on the button position, 3mm (1/8in) down from the top, to mark the button positions on the left back opening with a little dot. It's best to mark the buttons here rather than in the centre of the buttonhole, as buttons will naturally want to pull towards the top of vertical buttonholes.

Mathilde blouse - add buttons and buttonholes

Sew the buttons on by hand, centring them over the little dots you just marked. Tip: If you find yourself frustrated by your thread knotting up, invest in some thread wax which will keep things gliding along more smoothly.

Et voila! It's starting to look like a blouse now!

Catch up on the rest of the Mathilde blouse sewalong.

PS. Want some more help sewing buttonholes? Sign up to our online workshop, Sew Your Own Shirt or Shirt Dress, to watch up-close-and-personal sewing videos with tons of tips and tricks!