Apparently, writing enough times that I have blown off finishing a project that I don’t want to deal with makes me, ahem, finish the project. I did not realize how much buttonholes frustrate me until having to do four of them in a winter coat. I have three sewing machines in my sewing room, and unfortunately, my buttonhole foot is missing from my main machine, an Elna 2130. I have the Singer buttonhole attachment for the Singer 201A I inherited from my paternal grandmother, but the tension is all wonky and I think it would benefit from servicing. However, I haven’t done that yet, making the Singer not a viable candidate for this task. Lastly, I have a Bernina 830, mid 1980s edition, and I have made it work straight stitch only; but I don’t have a manual, do have a bazillion attachments that my kids have kindly trotted all over the house, and no idea how to make it do anything other than the aforementioned straight stitch. (Un)fortunately, the Elna’s foot has been missing for quite a while now ::cough::2 years::cough:: so at least I know that the zigzag foot works in a pinch. My machine does a one step buttonhole, so with the stitch selected, I have to manually bump the lever that lets the machine do the last side of the stitch. I know I should have done bound buttonholes for this project.
These are pretty much the worst buttonholes ever…
I ended up having to do the buttonhole at the waistline seam twice and I was ready to hurt myself with the seam ripper halfway through ripping out the first attempt since I kept snagging the satin of the lining. The right side of two of the buttonholes ended up with a uber-short straight stitch, don’t ask me how, so I ran a line of zigzag hoping to match the buttonhole stitching. I half succeeded, and decided that Fray-check will be this coat’s best friend. Then commenced my afternoon of hand sewing. I should learn to embrace the zen of hand sewing, but I don’t like it. I had to tack the sleeve cuff to the lining, and while I’m sure there was a better solution that could have been done by machine, this wins the good enough award. Actually, this entire project is an exercise in good enough. I’m not proud. After that, eight buttons, whee! Well, I sewed buttons ten times, since I used red thread to start, which with black buttons, I’m not sure where I misplaced my brain when I started. I switched to black thread and remembered that I have button thread, which I love for being so sturdy feeling. The buttons on the left side have thread shanks and the ones on the right side of the coat are as close to the fabric as I could manage so they should look even when the coat is worn. The top left button had to be repositioned as in this picture it’s too low relative to the buttonhole. Did I properly thread trace or mark the front pieces when I cut everything out? No, and I’m kicking myself for it. I spent too long today trying to guess where the buttons and buttonholes were supposed to go.
However, it’s all worth it when my daughter is happy with her new coat and it’s even supposed to be below freezing tomorrow morning, so she will get to use it this spring. I’m still not entirely happy about the collar, and I wonder if there is a better way to shape it, but I don’t know how. I want it to roll over further up the neck but it wants to do so at the seamline. Would padstitching be the right answer? I know that this style was a problem when I tried it for myself, but for what it is billed as an easy child’s coat, I’m not making the effort.