There’s an art to a hand worked buttonhole and it’s something I’ve far from mastered. Like every discipline, it has it’s own language and tools – all of which I neglected at my peril. Gimp, wax and a bit of twist – who needs them?
I first saw Kelly a few months back on a Sunday afternoon indie pattern trawl. Whilst I loved the shape, with it’s high waist and glorious pleats, I was unconvinced with the centre front buttonholing and treated myself to a Brumby instead. The lastest issue of Love Sewing – with the opportunity to try out a Megan Nielson pattern for free – gave me cause to re-consider. And not for the first time, I’ve eaten my words and done a complete 360. Without a hint of hyperbole, I ADORE THIS PATTERN. It’s an absolute dream to construct and I followed the clear instructions to the letter without a hitch. That is until I came to the pattern’s swansong – buttonholes – where I swiftly began to unravel.
I’d engaged in some scant sampling before launching into the seven buttonholes smack bang down the centre front but I have to concede I was ill-prepared. Whilst my placement is not too shabby, the zig zags produced from each poorly executed four step must have been too close. Every slash was accompanied by stitch casualties and my buttonholes fell apart in less time than they took to construct. Unpicking my unhandiwork revealed fraying edges galore and whilst Google provided me with a remedy, the damage was already done. I hastily set to work with some heavy duty thread but was unable to salvage the carnage of my butchery – the results are nothing short of Frankensteinian.
The Bad and the Ugly refer to my buttonhole debacle but what about the Good? Whilst my mind is quick to discount the positives – with it’s predilection to meditate upon fault – there’s is much to laud. I picked up the denim at Sheffield’s Direct Fabric Warehouse for a tenner and it’s a joy to work with – beautifully soft and virtually crease free. The vintage buttons were another e-bay steal and a perfect accompaniment in both hue and form. But most importantly, this pattern’s arrival coincided with an event in my calendar worthy of note – Maude’s debut.
I discovered Maude over a year ago, just before I embarked on an evening course in Fashion and Dressmaking. As soon as I clapped eyes on her, I knew she was destined for a wider platform. Whilst the appeal of a dismembered vintage doll may be niche, in my head the fringes are full of wrong doll afficianados. I knew immediately I wanted to transfer her image onto fabric but hadn’t a clue how. A few months later I happened upon Spoonflower and mentally edged a step closer to realising my dream. Fast forward another six months and some underwhelming experiments with applique before I discovered a world of double sided fusibles, courtesy of The Cotton Patch.
So, quite by chance I’ve discovered my dream pattern, accompanied by my sewing nemesis. After the inevitable meltdown which followed desecrating my finest craftwomanship to date, I’ve formulated a plan. I’m scheduling a lock in until I’ve fathomed a foolproof way of producing a four step buttonhole from my steed. But for my second Kelly, I’m taking no chances – I’m determined to master the skill so beautifully depicted in this excellent post.