Monday, May 2, 2011

Embroidered Buttonhole Tutorial

I'm not sure I've mentioned it yet, maybe just in passing, but I embroider most of my buttonholes on the garments I make.  I love my sewing machines (Babylock) but I don't think the sewn buttonhole is as nice looking as the embroidered one.  In my Sleeveless Blouse class, I'm teaching the embroidered buttonhole so I thought I would show it to you all too.  The silk blouse I'm making is complete except for the buttonholes and buttons.  I need more silk floss from Silvia (Delicate Stitches) to hand embroider bullion rose buds in attaching the buttons.  Can you believe I used a whopping 5.5 yards of floss to do the pulled-thread replacement on just the collars, one front band and the pocket?  LOL. 

Here are a couple of things to take into consideration when embroidering buttonholes:
  • The size & thickness of the button - buttonholes need to be at least 1/8" larger than the button
  • What type thread you'll be using - I typically use the same thread for buttonholes that I use in construction of the garment - this could change depending on what effect you're trying to create
  • Orientation - horizontal or vertical buttonhole
    First thing you do is figure out where and how many buttonholes you need on your shirt.  Mark them somehow.  Since this blouse is black, I'm using a neat product from Clover, called Fine White Marking Pen.  This is pretty unique in the fact it shows up on dark fabrics and it irons off.  Pretty cool, right?  LOL.  I have 2 different versions; the fine and another by Miracle Chalk called the Chubby Crayon.  Both pictured below.

    If you are talented and have the software, you can digitize your own buttonhole.  Alas, that's not me.  LOL.  So I purchased one from Embroidery Library.  Just do a search on buttonholes and up they'll come.  I believe I only spent a dollar on mine.  And you should only need one.  I chose the 5/8" and have the software to re-size the buttonhole to suit my needs. Now I'm not going to get into re-sizing; everyone has different software and I'm only familiar with Designer's Gallery.   Once you have your buttonhole, size it larger than your buttonhole.  Load it on your stick and get ready to run a test of the size.

    I use a light tearaway stabilizer for buttonholes.  In this case, I'll be using black.  Make sure you're button will go through the test buttonhole easily.  There's nothing more exasperating than to make buttonholes where you have to struggle to get them fastened.

    Now for the real thing!  LOL.  Using a 5X7 hoop, I can embroider 3 to 4 buttonholes in one hooping.  Draw a line on the stabilizer a little off center.  This line is where you will position the edge of your blouse to embroider.   The nice thing about it is that I can carefully remove the blouse from the tearaway and reposition the blouse on the same piece of stabilizer to finish the rest of the buttonholes.  

    Here is a pic of the hoop with the line drawn.

    Now a pic of the hoop with the blouse front band lined up with the drawn line and pinned in place.  Now all you have to do is embroider the buttonhole then move to the next spot; repeat until they are all done.

    All of the buttonholes are complete and here's a look at the completed buttonholes.

    Nice looking, eh?  LOL.  Next is a pic of the front of the blouse.

    I had to lighten the pictures in a major way to get this to show up.  Only the buttons left to go.  I'll post pictures of the completed blouse later in the week.


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