Hand-tailored buttonholes are a thing of beauty, and in the hands of a skilled tailor, can make a coat stand out amongst others. Properly sewn, they will add a level of detail that you can be proud of, yet at the same time will sit unassumingly against the background of the coat. On the other hand, a badly-done buttonhole will absolutely ruin the look of a coat, so we will be practicing on some smaller scraps of fabric meant to imitate the front of a coat or waistcoat.
To the right is an example of an 1860s buttonhole found on a cotton waistcoat, pretty much unchanged from more modern buttonholes. With a bit of care and good instruction, there’s no reason why you can’t sew a comparable one on even your first try.
|Module 1||The Art of the Buttonhole|
|Unit 3||Gimp and Four-cord|
|Unit 4||The Buttonhole Stitch|
- Tape Measure or Quilting Ruler
- Seam Gauge
- Small embroidery-type scissors
- Tailor’s Chalk
- 1/8″ Hollow Hole Punch (usually available at hardware stores).
- 1/2″ Chisel
- Flat Board (scraps are fine, you could go as small as a couple of inches square, used to punch open the buttonholes).
- **Buttonhole Punch (As an alternative to the hollow punch and chisel. Only worth it if you are making hundreds of buttonholes on a professional basis).
- Gutermann Silk Buttonhole Twist (available in 10 yard and 437 yard spools depending on the shop. Estimate 1 to 1.5 yards per buttonhole).
- **Gutermann Buttonhole Gimp (Gives a superior buttonhole, but you can make and use four-cord instead, which is probably the better option if you’re only making a few buttonholes).
- Sewing Thread (Something on the thin/fine side I like silk thread but cotton will work too).
- Two equally sized pieces of fabric, approximately 4 – 6″ by 10 – 12″. These will be sewn together to mimic a coat front for practice. Wool, linen, and silk are all good options.
- Linen (One piece to match the size of your fabric to act as a canvas).