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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

Other  favorite frock postings  
Romancing the Dress Part 1: Dainty

Romancing the Dress Part 2: California Romantic asks do skirts really fit into her active and arty modern life?

Romancing The Dress Part 3: The Dress Comes to Life

Do modern children play Button Button Who's Got the Button? We sure did. It's one of those simple large group activities where the kid who's It, has three guesses trying to read faces and hope that the face of their little chum who's got the elusive trinket, can't keep from giving away the secret of their prize. We still played it in our youth, probably because most households still had a button box or jar. Nowadays- not so much.

Faced with a desire for a nice crisp column of simple black buttons I envisioned marching antlike down the front of my recently sewn Vogue v8810 dress (Read more about it in my piece, Romancing the Dress: Part 3 ), I started looking for all the recent perfect buttonhole articles I'd been saving off. What happens to those guys? I could have sworn the Threads newsletter had a juicy one by Sandra Betzina sometime this year. Plus I was also pretty durn sure I had the same writeup in one of her books. Could I find either?

Not on your life. nor the probably ten other articles, both paper and digital, that I've saved somewhere. New rule for self, just read the gol durned techniques and think about the skill next time instead of squirreling it away for a rainy  day. Although, I'm pretty sure the squirrels lose just as many acorns as I do vital articles.

Here's what I did that was new and different for me, using common sense and a couple of things I actually remembered reading.

First off I looked at where the pattern piece indicated the center of the buttonholes ought  to go (I admit there have been times I eyeballed that step and was really sorry later). After I marked the line with a lovely strip of super narrow postit tape*, I ran a line of basting down the front to mark the center of the buttonholes. Of course I made a sample strip the same thickness as my buttonhole edging to use for my test buttonholes. I just drew a center line on that with a marking pen, because it will not be going out on the town.

I remembered that more than one of those missing buttonhole articles talked about using stabilizer and it sounded like the same kind I use as a second layer when I do machine embroidery on my artistic tee shirts. I quickly learned, however, that although I put the wash-away stabalizer that looks like saran wrap ON TOP when I do machine embroidery, I definitely want to put it underneath when I stitch  buttonholes. (Do you hear the faint refrain of gummed up machine noises at this point?) Thank goodness for my test strip. My  several year old machine has several different buttonholes and I tried all of them that looked right, until I found one that worked pretty well.

I measured off and marked each potential hole with two pins. I am a little ashamed to admit that I can't figure out how to program repeated buttonholes on this machine. ** Still I was pretty happy with the results. I also machine stitched the standard four hole buttons down. Are you still tempted to hand sew them? I am, but I reminded myself I had two spares in case I messed up and broke one. Hummmm that reminds me that I didn't sew the spare buttons into the pockets. Where did I leave those girls? Machine sewing standard buttons sure saves a ton of time.

I was pretty happy with the results, though one hole is messed up. Think I'm gonna tell you which one? Not on the soul of my Great Aunt Mabel! That nice little black button pretty much covers up the extra long stitches on the goofy one. What's really important is how much I've been enjoying wearing my new dress, whether or not every buttonhole stitched out exactly so.

* I learned to use a couple of different sizes of postit tape in chorus. We use it to temporarily alter the lyrics. The tape has transitioned into the sewing room. I will have to do another posting on the marvels of that stuff.

**I could pull off programming repeated buttonholes on my old one machine but not on my newer one. Yup I do have the manual for the new gal! Yup I have turned to the appropriate page! I also can't figure out how to do things like getting my husband's name to stitch out. I bought this machine used and the dealer has since closed up shop. Oh well, another rainy day activity.

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