Buttonholes, Not So Bad

April 27th, 2012

Have I mentioned how much I detest making buttonholes? However, I think I finally mastered the buttonhole function on my sewing machine. (I’ve had the machine for 15 years…which just goes to show how rarely I give in to the dreaded buttonhole.)


In the course of converting old bedsheets into new shower curtains, I had occasion to sew 24 buttonholes. I took the opportunity to fine tune the settings on my machine. Turns out I need to set the stitch length differently for each leg of the buttonhole. Who knew? I wonder if it was in the machine manual I never bothered to read…

I guess I won’t be so hesitant to include buttonholes in my upcoming projects.


May 24th, 2011

Turns out I didn’t need all 5 buttons…though I am reserving the right to add another one in the middle if the back gapes!


The dress pattern I am working from in Janet Arnold’s book is a stomacher front, so it closes in the front. But there’s another dress on the same page that seems to be more similar in some aspects of construction to my inspiration painting. The second dress is back closing, like the painting dress, and this is how its buttons are arranged.

Bust My Buttons

May 23rd, 2011

Tonight I finished putting together the bodice of my Empire dress fairly early. I didn’t quite have the energy to cut out the skirt and waistband though, so I decided to cover a set of five buttons for the center back closure.

From what I can discover online, there were three main types of buttons used on clothing at the turn of the 18th century: metal, fabric-covered, and thread (metal rings wrapped in thread to create intricate designs). Somehow metal seems incongruous on a delicate white frock, and I’ve gotten the impression that the thread buttons (of which Dorset seems to be a classification) are mostly used on undergarments, or things that need to be washed vigorously. So I opted for fabric-covered.

The question then arose as to what I should use for my button forms, and how to attach the covers. Since my time is limited, I decided to use modern buttons from my button box and cover them by gathering tiny circles of fabric around them and sewing it closed. I’ve made a mental note to dig deeper into this topic at a later date.


I made five buttons, which seems like more than sufficient to close the center back of my emerging dress. They’re rather thickish though, so I think I shall make thread loops instead of buttonholes. Even with three layers in the buttonstand, my dress fabric is far too fragile to withstand much strain.