February 14, 2014

Dress progress 2

Actually, I've just finished the bodice and decided to go with a half circle skirt. However, this post is about something which happened earlier. About the first step of construction in fact: the bound buttonholes.

I decided to try and match the pattern by cutting the squares for the welts at exactly the same positions on the checks as the position for the buttonholes.  So, I was going for this. I'm just really pleased with how well it turned out. Did I mention this fabric was nice to work with? I used lightweight knit fusible interfacing both to reinforce the fabric around the buttonhole and to stabilize the welts. 

And here's something which might be a useful little tip. 
In a lot of instructions for bound buttonholes, they don't tell you how to do the back. Obviously, you're going to need matching holes in the facing but somehow, in a lot of tutorials, they just assume you'll know how to do that now. When I first started making bound buttonholes, this really puzzled me.
Designer friend M taught me to use the fashion fabric to make windows in the facing. I did that only once and thought it, combined with the front of the buttonhole, caused way too much bulk in the finished garment.
After that, I would always use thinner fabrics. This works fine although you'll want to use something which is both densely woven (to avoid fraying) and presses well. I know a lot of people use silk organza for this kind of work, but I've never been able to find that (in real life, I mean. I'm sure I could find it online but I like to touch fabric before I buy it).
A little while ago, I came up with another option.

I'm sure it's not a new idea but I haven't seen it in tutorials before, so that's why I thought I'd better share it here.
Instead of fabric, I sew a square of fusible interfacing to the facing. Right sides together, as usual. You want to pick a variety with is both thin and sturdy and can't get frayed or pulled apart. Knit versions, like the one I'm using here, fit those requirements nicely.
Then, you just cut the window as normal and pull the square to the wrong side of the fabric. Carefully pull it into position and fuse. Et voila, a perfectly secured window for the back of your bound buttonhole!

I hope this is of use to you.


  1. Great tip! Must definitely try that.

  2. Where were you before I tried my first bound button hole?

    I ruined both sides with horrible fraying. The sight of fraying fabric brings back th horrible nightmare. Now, I sneak up to the fabric and fuse it before letting it know I'm going to attempt to turn it into a bound button hole. Believe me, when I see a nicely done one, I admire the person who accompanied published it.

  3. Umm... this is genius!

  4. This is exactly how I do mine! Great minds hu?? ;)

  5. I hardly ever make bound buttonholes, but that's a really great idea. I'm sure it cuts down on the bulk a lot.

  6. I haven't made bound button holes yet but this is a great tip and make perfect sense!

  7. I bow to your genius skills! I love bound buttonholes, except for the back side finishing. You have solved my problem! Thanks again and again.

  8. This is how I do the backs of my buttonholes too but you're right that not many tutorials show it this way - I'm glad you've put it out there to save more people the tears of a bad bound buttonhole!

  9. brilliant! thank you- Kimbersew