Saturday, 12 March 2011

Kimono Sleeved Jacket...Buttonhole Nightmare

What a nightmare it was to do these buttonholes! I'm going to stay clear of pattern requiring lots of buttonholes for a some time, since last night I almost lost the plot doing these.
I started at the bottom and my machine had no problems doing the first three buttonholes. But then it changed the buttonhole size completely. The difference wasn't huge so I continued but the remaining two were disastrous. One of the other things it did was to complete the buttonhole programme stitch without having stitched the hole thing. Have you ever tried to unpick a black machine sewn buttonhole on black corduroy? No, not possible. I tried but ended up ruining a bit of the lining inside. 

I fudged it and managed to have a finish garment that is usable.
I can honestly say I'm a bit traumatised with buttonholes and would rather insert invisible zippers for future projects. But button looks so lovely and I definitely don't want to go off them, just because I had a bit of trouble.

So what is your experience with buttonholes/ buttons? Have you had any problems? Do you have any techniques, tips or hints that help make it easy? I look forward reading them.


  1. Well these look marvellous, but I can understand the trauma of getting there! My machine will do two buttonholes fine then inexplicably refuse to go on - why?

    If you chose a zip in future, there's nothing to stop you adding buttons as decoration - these look so pretty. I love the cape! :)

  2. I've had the same thing happen to me: the machine will stop sewing before it has completed the buttonhole. I ruined a pair of drawstring pants trying to unpick the buttonhole. I hope that someone responds with a solution! I'm now terrified of buttonholes.

  3. The jacket looks lovely! I've had the same experience with my buttonholes with the machine stopping mid-way! it's always a bit anxiety-ridden doing buttonholes! I must really get on the bound buttonholes bandwagon :-)

  4. This is one of many reasons I am scared to get a new sewing machine. My workhorse machine, a Singer 401A from 1963 has never given me any trouble at all. I slap the buttonholer gadget on the machine and it stitches away. I have wanted a new machine because of some of the fancier options you can do, but I'm scared because the new machines seem very tempermental. Unlike my trusty 401A which plugs away and doesn't give me any trouble.

  5. Your jacket looks fab and nobody knows about the rogue buttonholes except you (and us!) I also love buttons but hate doing buttonholes. With my Beignet skirt I did 11 perfect ones then when I got the twelfth and last one, my hand slipped with the seam ripper and it went right through the stitches, I couldn't unpick it so ended up trying to do another one on top of it and ending up with a freaky Frankenstein's monster buttonhole. I'd love to make the skirt again but the 12 buttons definitely put me off! x

  6. Oh no, the Beignet is on my list! Lots of button holes. The jacket looks wonderful - you'd never know there had been issues.

  7. I love the jacket and it looks great on you. I feel your pain at having to pick out buttonholes, especially from corduroy. *groan* My automatic buttonholer is usually really good, but every once in a while it does what yours did - randomly thinks it's finished when it's not!

  8. I've been a lurker, so I first have to say I really like you blog.

    I've hade buttonhole disasters. I've had to rip out buttonholes a number of times before. I will share two things that have helped in minimizing my buttonhole problems. The first is stabilizer. Typically when I make a button hole there are two layers of fabric and one of interfacing in the area of the buttonhole. I find that adding a couple of layers of stabilizer helps greatly. I like the wash-away kind. It is a strange plastic texture. I put it on the bottom so that it does not show at all. When I am done stitching the buttonohole, you can rip it away. Just the bit that is caught in the stitches stays. You can get that out by dabbing a bit of water on the back of the buttonhole or just wait until you wash the item. Being on the back, I usually just let it wash out in the first wash. The second thing that I've found that helps my success rate is to practice on scraps. The one time that I get cocky and don't practice, I'm sure to have problems.


  9. Your jacket looks fantastic! I love the different colored buttons.
    I've heard horror stories about making buttonholes but I've never had a bad experience. I have a super basic sewing machine with a four step button hole option. I go down one side, do a little back and forth, back up the other side and a little back and forth again (I feel silly explaining it!). I feel like I have a lot of control that way rather than a one step buttonhole. That being said, I have had to rip one out before-- not fun.

  10. Sorry the process was frustrating, but the the jacket turned out very well! :)

  11. Oh, yes, I've been there too. I Definitely think doing a few practice runs on the same combination of fabrics is important.

    How about doing some adjustments and making button loops? It may not work on every garment, but as a buttonhole option. On a jacket like this one, I wonder how it would look with fewer, but much larger buttons?

    Zippers are great too if you can find the right length. I have troubles finding separating zippers in the lengths I want, but that may just be my location.

    In the end I really like your jacket and how you styled it!

  12. I know what you speak ... buttonholes are a pain sometimes., in my blog, the label "tutorials"there is something about doing buttonholes, take a look, please. Your jacket looks wonderful, perhaps an alternative is to use brackets inside and decorative buttons.

  13. Yes, I have been looking at bound buttonholes tutorials and might try some soon.@Debi

  14. Thank you all for your comments. Happy I'm not alone in buttonhole hell, lol. I will not give up though, and have a jacket planned for soon that will need 12 buttonholes.

  15. Hello Suzy,

    I do not sew well and probably not venture into this too far, but I landed on this page and I love your effort and how you appear in the kimono-sleeved jacket - marvelous look.

    You mention the pain of making the button holes - I thought it may be practical, albeit not very orthodox, to use velcro strip to close the jacket and have the buttons sewn on top, just for the look and style....
    Ottawa ON Canada



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