Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The longest project

Do you remember that coat?  (Come to think of it, that was almost 2 months ago... do you remember The Sewing Lawyer?)

It isn't a hard pattern.  The body went together really quickly, once I got past all those buttonholes (6 down the front, 2 on the collar, 2 on the pocket flaps).

And then I decided to do 3 on each sleeve, because I am a glutton for punishment.  And I was on a roll.  If you are counting, that's a total of 18 bound buttonholes.

They will not all be working buttonholes.  When you get to a certain state of peevish sewing perfectionism, the wobbliness of shank buttons that sit up top on the fashion fabric with nothing to do, compared to the sturdy firm seating of a button doing the work of holding layers of coat together starts to bug you...

The non-working cuff buttonholes will allow the shanks of the buttons to sink in so they are at the same depth relative to the outer coat fabric as the working buttonholes.  I decided to solve the same problem on the coat front by making tiny machine buttonholes, just big enough to contain the shanks.  Claudine recommended just sinking the shank into a hole made by an awl to avoid this pesky problem.  My "solution" is waaaay too complicated but I didn't read her post until after I'd embarked on my fool's errand.

Some of those buttonholes (8 if you are counting) need to actually work, so they needed to be faced. I used silk organza patches.

First, I sewed the long CF seam to attach the facing to the coat front.  Then I marked the location of each buttonhole (with pins and measuring tape to triple check).  Then I marked them in a contrasting colour of thread and sewed a little box (1.5mm stitch length) for each one.  As you can see (at right) I have the needle set to the left of centre and am using the marked CL of the buttonhole as a guide.

Then carefully clip open each little window.

And turn them and press.

I am hand sewing these windows over the buttonholes and pressing some more.

Luckily this wool is thick and forgiving so my stitches sink right in and are invisible.

Unluckily this wool is thick and my fingers hurt after doing a few.  One more left and then I'm finished with these.  Then I can move on to more interesting and less painful sewing tasks, like assembling the lining and interlining.

Partially assembled, not cleaned (yet)
In other news, the real reasons for my radio silence are (1) it's curling season and (2) my obsession with knitting machines has kind of taken over.  I have just acquired a new (to me) Passap Duomatic 80 and am ridiculously excited about my new baby.  I've got a busy January coming up but in February I'll have some time off work and hope to learn how to make her hum along and consume lots of my yarn stash.

The lady on the cover of the manual makes it look pretty easy...


  1. Beautiful buttonholes! Congrats on your acquisition of your new Passap. I have a knitting machine that never gets used, because I prefer to knit by hand. But it was easy to learn, and I know you'll have no problem getting going with this one!

  2. I do admire your persistence. I think I would have given up long ago. It will be beautiful when it's finished

  3. The little peek of the coat looks great so far. Looking forward to seeing the final results. So pleased to see a post!

    Thankfully, I've never heard the siren song of the knitting machine, but don't ask me about needles. With me it's just every type, style and material. Hundreds, and I love them all.

  4. I don't know, I think the lady on the cover looks as though she is puzzled! But I am sure a sewing lawyer can figure it out :) Good luck in getting the coat finished and onto more fun things :)

  5. Wow - the bound button holes are perfection. Quality over quantity is always preferably, so take your time on coat. And having a dig from sunny'll still need it in May in Canada!

  6. The Passap was my first knitting machine. I still have it but don't have the room to have set up. When I married and moved five years ago I really had to scale down my crafty spot. I miss it so much. I do have my E6000 set up. Good luck.

  7. Wow! Those are a lot of bound buttonholes! They are all beautiful though. You know what they say, "Practice Makes Perfect", so you are now an expert on bound buttonholes after having made so many. :)

  8. So Very Glad to see You Once Again! Lovely buttonholes and good luck with the machine!

  9. Well, that's a whole whack of fabric lips and windows! If practice makes perfect, the last one must be perfection itself. How's it all coming along?