Buttons and buttonholes

I knew that this weekend, I had to finish Syd's shirt or it wouldn't be ready for her birthday.  I spent part of Saturday sorting my buttons by color, which actually was more fun than it sounds, only to discover I didn't have 9 matching black buttons.  I don't have 9 matching anything, except plain white.  So, that meant a quick trip into JoAnn's. 

I hope this shirt fits.  She brought me a shirt and said I want mine this size, plus an inch and a half in the sleeves.  And, that's what I did.  But, it seems huge.  I hope that's just an illusion.

One of the things we did this weekend was a goodwill run.  Rob and I decided to clean our closets.  I got rid of two large boxes of very nice clothes that I see in my closet when I'm looking for something to wear and I never pick.  Maybe it's the way it fits or the color or the print (I had a couple shirts that reminded me of pajama tops and they had to go!)  Anyway, I found a shirt that fit great, but had a broken button that I forgot I even had.  I didn't have another olive green button, but I took care of that on Saturday, too and replaced them all.  So, I had 9 buttons and buttonholes for Syd's shirt and 7 buttons for mine. 

I am proud to say it took just under 2 hours.  I've learned to sew buttons on using a zig-zag stitch, so they go quick.  And, I used my favorite buttonholer, which also made things quick.  There's a lot to be said about a tool you know and understand. 

That's a scary looking thing, right?  The manual was last copyrighted in 1941.  All the settings are manual, i.e. no templates that give a just right size buttonhole.  I have it set for a 3/8" buttonhole and would be hard pressed to re-set it for another button.  If I needed a different size buttonhole, I'd likely pull out different tool instead of resetting this one.  But, you can tell by that white strip of fabric that I played with it until I understood the settings, making a lot of different size buttonholes and writing down the settings with a sharpie.  Even with all that, I still always make a tester in a scrap of fabric and cut it open to make sure that the button will go through.  And, I don't cut any of my buttonholes open until I've finished making them all and am happy with where they are and how they look.  I can pick them out until the fabric is cut. 

The buttonholer allows a straight stitch machine to make a zig zag stitch.  The metal plate in front of it covers the feed dogs so that the grips on the bottom of the buttonholer can grip the fabric and move it side to side and forward and backward so it can stitch all the way around.  The small piece to the right of that is the real miracle.  It's a converter that lets me use a short shank foot on my Bernina, so I can use all my short shank feet on the Bernina machine.  That makes for the pairing of two perfect tools. 

Rob's Mom is coming this week, so we've had a flurry of cleaning.  We did the traffic path in Syd's room again with the carpet cleaner and I've been playing in the dining room, making it pretty for fall.  And, I spent a scary amount of time yesterday cooking.  I made a roast and cookies and a shepherd's pie and a pot of soup.  And, then we did dishes forever. 

Well, it's a new week.  I guess I better get up and get started.  Everybody have a great Monday. 



Sew Lady Sew! said...

I have the same buttonholer and it's a marvel. I've only used it on old straight-stitch Singers and had no idea it could go on a Bernina with the adaptor foot. Thanks for that interesting tidbit.

To change the buttonhole length, I have a cheat sheet I made, listing the settings for the 5/8" and 3/8" buttonholes, the two I use most often. It's not that hard to switch if you know where to put the knobs.

Sally Langston Warren said...

Just one word of advice when you give the beautiful shirt to Syd: Do NOT say 'It looks huge' .....Lol.

I have a Singer buttonholer attachment in a green metal box that I have never used. I need to get it out and experiment with it. Thanks for the encouragement!

Peter Lappin said...

I too have that buttonholer. The only time I use the newer (vintage 50's) Singer buttonholer with the metal templates is when I want a keyhole shape. The older one is a marvel!

Donna T said...

The shirt looks great, especially putting her name inside! I'm with Sally, do not say the shirt looks huge!!!! Have fun with Rob's mom! You always go all out with the cooking and cleaning!

Rebecca Grace said...

Syd's shirt looks fantastic! I think that having the patience to test buttonholes first is well worth the trouble and the extra time. My mom hates buttonholes and tells horror stories about nearly finished garments being RUINED at the buttonhole stage -- but I have sewn with her and I know that she never wants to test ANYTHING; she just wants to dive in and get done. That's great for down and dirty sewing like slipcovers or Halloween costumes, but not for something like a blouse. Anyway, I think your daughter will love her blouse. Hope we get to see a pic of her wearing it!

Michael C said...

I have that buttonholer. I use with an old 158 series Kenmore. I just drop the feed dogs and away I go. Love it