Thursday, 19 March 2015

Buttonhole challenge

I briefly mentioned in my post re DH's jeans that I had lots of trouble with the but to hole. I put it down to the thickness of fabric and the fact that the jean side was much thicker than the the waistband top.  I couldn't try my little machine in class because it didn't do the kind of buttonhole you get in jeans ( the keyhole type). I took the waistband topstitching out, opened up, further trimmed the seams and generally smoothed out the overlap portion of the waistband. 

Then I tested some more buttonholes. Not without problems - I had to thread and rethread a few times as the machine wasn't playing ball! Then onto the real fabric  - and more failure! Now I reckoned this was because maybe the fabric wasn't flowing freely as the bulk was to the right with the way my machine stitches buttonholes.

However, long story short, I found the needle had a barb (a new needle). When I changed the needle, I was able to stitch the buttonhole. A lot of work with an ultimately simple (and very annoying) solution!

Question - can anyone tell me how you get really nice insides to buttonholes rather than the slightly raggy look I get?

Sorry - these photos have disappeared from blog and computer so have put photos of jeans in. No close up of button etc, sorry.


  1. I'm not sure how todeal with the ragged edge as far as "proper"methods are concerned. I sometimes trim my more obvious threads away with a pair of embroidery scissors. Very carefully. I think some people use fraycheck along the buttonhole edges. I've found that the variety we have here washes out, even though it is not supposed to.

    1. Thank you. That's what I did too. The end result isn't wonderful, though. One of my fellow students incredibly kindly offered to do me a handstitched buttonhole because of my problems. I decided to persevere - but is handstitching the way to get better results?

  2. On my older Bernina it is adviced to thread the bobbin differently for buttonholes. Did you pull the bobbin thread through the hole in the metal loop (sorry, don't know the correct English term)? As for the trouble with an uneven underground when there's more fabric on one side of the pressure foot, you can even that out by folding a scrap of fabric and putting it under the other side. You get better results when the sole of the foot stays in horizontal position all the time.

    1. Thank you. I'm using a modern Bernina and there was no instruction to thread differently so perhaps that's changed. I certainly thought it was due to uneven fabric at first and maybe should have tried your tip before deconstructing and reducing and evening the bulk! I now think all my problems were to do with the needle I had inserted just before I started practising the button holes. I'm not sure if I damaged it or if it was damaged before I used it. I need to remember to buy more denim needles as I have no new ones left. Oh and test each needle as I put in.

  3. Re buttonholes – if you make them so the rows of zigzag stitches are only two fabric threads apart you can cut between them, then remove the two threads. The farther apart the rows are the more fraying and shagginess you’ll get in the middle. For heavier fabrics such as used in slacks you might want to make some samples zigzagging over pieces of pearl cotton or light cording. I recently made buttonholes with a wash away product similar to non-woven interfacing covering the top of the fabric. The fabric was stretch cotton chambray. They came out beautifully smooth as compared to if I’d stitched directly onto the fabric. Changing upper and/or lower tensions can make a huge difference in the final results of buttonholes, as can the type of thread.

    pants are hard to diagnose without full views. If a man doesn’t find pants comfortable he won’t wear them except for an occasion or big event.

    Cheerio and best wishes with your RTW fast.

    1. Thank you. I suppose having a narrower gap makes sense, now that you've described it. I need to practice quite a bit more to get a finish I'm happy with.
      DH finds the jeans comfortable - it's me that sees the fit problems. I see these jeans as a pretty good wearable muslin but will tweak fit for the next pair.
      I'm managing the RTW fast well - I haven't bought a single thing! I used to go shopping quite a bit so have probably saved a fortune and it doesn't matter that I'm a slow sewer as I had excess to start with!
      I'm sorry I don't know who you are - just listed as anonymous.


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