Decorative Machine Buttonholes

Decorative Machine Buttonholes
Buttonholes, and of course buttons, may be among the simplest ways to secure two overlapping finished edges of garments. They seem to have become widely used in garments sometime in the 13th century replacing garment closures that were tied or held together with ribbon, cording, pin-clasped or belting.

Buttonholes are deliberate cuts in fabric just large enough to have a button pass through. The cut edges can be hand or machine edged with thread or in the case of a bound buttonhole, finished with the raw edges shuttered by pieces of fabric forming lips through with the button can be passed through.

The mostly pedestrian slotted openings can be become a design feature when decorative machine stitches are added to any of the finished edges of the buttonhole. Experiment with an ornamental decorative stitch design by first creating a finished test buttonhole. An open or clear quilting machine presser foot is optional when adding any ornamental stitch but allows for the best view as stitches are created. Select a simple filigree-like machine stitch - a leaf, feather, swirl, daisy or other tracery stitch that the machine can produce.

Sew as close as possible to the stitched buttonhole edges, either on top and bottom of a horizontal stitched buttonhole or on either side of the edges of the buttonhole bar tacks. Since the buttonhole is likely to be close to the finished garment edges, stitches on either side of horizontal bar tacks will be short but still visible as a design element.

Vertical slotted buttonholes or keyhole buttonholes can also have decorative stiches applied as well. The ornamental stitches can blend well with the buttonhole stitches if the stitches just touch or overlap slightly with the threads of the finished buttonhole.

The subtle design accents of bound buttonholes cannot be understated. They are the hallmark of couture sewing. The Internet abounds with extensive tutorials on how to create the traditional bound buttonhole essentially a finished open rectangular slot (can be a triangle too!) with two strips of fabric that peak through forming the fabric lips (also called welts) that the button will pass through. Learning how to sew bound buttonholes is an indispensable sewing technique worth the time to master.

How to Sew a Bound Buttonhole From Threads magazine May 26, 2015

Sew happy, sew inspired.

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