I’m nearing the finish line (… & the deadline!) for my 3 piece suit – my Nephews wedding is just days away.
If you’ve been following along, thank you SO much 🤗 hugs all-round. If you’d like to catch up, check out these links…
Next stop was a trip to DMBUTTONS to get my buttonholes done. Based in London’s soho, down a back street, in a basement, it’s true – but in the heart of it all; barely a stones throw from Kleins, The Cloth House, Maculloch & Wallis, Berwick St and all the surrounding fabric shops. This is like Diagon Alley for sewists.
I can imagine there are incredibly busy periods where you might have long waiting times or to leave your garments to pick up at a later date – I’m prepared for this but have been lucky enough on my few visits to have my buttonholes done while I wait.
Preparation is key before offering your virgin garments up to be buttonholed.
A good clear mark showing the line of the hole and the start point is enough if you have your buttons with you (which I always have). Otherwise I expect you’ll have to mark the end point too. Use chalk or iron/wash away pen.
… you don’t have to write on it, just the buttonhole marking will do!
For rectangular buttonholes mark on the outside of your garment.
For keyhole buttonholes mark on the inside of your garment.
Do not make the mistake of turning up with pins as markers or pointing at where you’d like your buttonholes. I’ve witnessed this during a visit, and what with starting to feel somewhat of a seasoned client, I couldn’t help but join in with a bit of clandestine-eye-rolling!
It’s worth a trip to get to watch these amazing machines being used. I should ask if I can take a video next time… but I didn’t want to appear too gauche.
If you’re not in London, have a look online to see if there’s a place like this near you… if it’s hidden away like DMButtons is, you’ll likely never stumble upon it by chance!
With the buttonholes done I put my head down and sewed on all the buttons… the finish line! I taped them down and used the zigzag stitch (with lowest/ zero stitch length) and button foot, with a pin to provide a bit of shank.
I put it all on, stood before MrA and he sang:
‘Woah-o big buttons – bam a lam!
Woah-o big buttons – bam a lam!’
(… SO supportive!)
It’s true though, I wasn’t paying attention and used the same size buttons on the waistcoat as the jacket, rather than the smaller ones. I looked like a 7 year old going to a wedding!
They got changed and I put a stitch in each of those glorious buttonholes to keep myself done up.
During this time I also took up the trousers and sleeves of my dads suit for the wedding. I chose not to unpick the jacket and shorten it from the inside. Instead I;
- Took off the buttons.
- Cut the sleeve in one go, 3cm on from the desired length.
- Fold & press the outer at 3cm.
- Fold & press the lining at 2cm.
- With the jacket inside out pin then hand sew the lining to the outer seam allowance.
- Sew the buttons back on.
A million rules broken, but job-done and more importantly no-dramas.
And blind stitched hems on the machine.
Then I realised I needed a tie. After all this effort I couldn’t finish it off by knotting a bit of ready-to-wear around my neck, could I ..?! So I went online and found THIS tutorial which included the dimensions on the video. There are plenty of free tie patterns online that you can print off at home, or you can make a pattern from an old tie. I have no printer but plenty of baking paper, so drafting one was a good option for me.
As it’s cut on the bias, I made a diagonal seam in the pattern about a third of the way up from the narrow end, to save fabric. I used the same dupion as the suit lining, some butterfly-leftovers from MrA’s shirt and two strips of cotton for the interlinings.
- Sew the two outer pieces together.
- Sew the lining triangles to the outside ends.
- Fold and sew across the point.
- Open out the point (the pin is just so I could photograph it).
- Turn and press.
- Sew the two pieces of interlining together. Press open.
- Pin the half-piece of extra interlining on top. I put quite a bit of starch on these pieces.
- Poke the interlining into the points at each end.
- Fold and press up one side.
- Press 1cm over on the other side then press that over.
- Pin it in place.
Then I took a deep breath and sat down to hand sew the thing together. I took two stitches just through the back of the tie, every third stitch I tried to catch the interlining too – checking each time that I wasn’t coming through the front. I got into it about halfway through and I think it’s my neatest handsewing to date!
I feel massively relieved now that I’ve really, really finished! I like to take any project like this (… or a coat etc…) to the dry cleaners for a professional steam and press. I left the basting on the jacket collar for this just to be sure and it came back in the right place.
Maybe I’ll get the coat done in the future ( … maybe I won’t…!!) but thanks for sticking with me! I’ll get some pictures from the wedding and post a catch up next week. For now, I’d better practice my reading for the church!
Notes to self: