Monday, December 12, 2011

Close Worked Buttonholes

Okay, I lied. A small side-trip before the back pleat returns.

The pocket flaps need four decorative buttonholes. I did some experiments to see how the coat material handles tight stitches. It seems to hold together, but care is required. This is the essence of drunk tailoring: meticulous sewing on sleazy material.

I find worked buttonholes fun, soothing work. Done properly, they look much better than regular ones. I start by marking their location and length with chalk. Period tailors would often put in some long stitches as well (and leave them in, since the buttonhole is decorative anyway.)

Next, take two long stitches on either side of the marking stitches with some heavy thread or cord. Open worked buttonholes are similar, except they have to be outlined with stitches and cut before the long stitches go in. The functional buttonholes on this coat will be open half way--just enough for the buttons.

The buttonholes are two inches long, so I cut two arm lengths of buttonhole twist. The buttonhole stitches are made over the cord, parallel to the "hole," catching some of the material beneath. With the loose weave of the cloth, I had to pull slowly and kind of sideways. 

These close worked buttonholes will come in handy when it's time to hide the big ugly seams above the center back pleats.


  1. Nicely done. Buttonholing on loose-weave material like that is a challenge.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Excuse me, could you let me know how to twist cords for button hole stitchs?

  4. The cord itself is just heavy linen, two big stitches the length of the buttonhole. Buttonhole stitches look like this: