Sunday, March 11, 2007

Corn Field Ready For The Farm

In between loads of cleaning, worrying, fretting, and other all around frantic activities, I found the time to finish Corn Field. By doing so, I also found a little peace of mind. Strange how when life is upside down, doing just one regular, normal, pleasurable thing can give you so much joy.

Well, Corn Field needs buttons. Eleven of them--so let's get started. Here's my method for sewing on buttons. And no, I don't do it by machine, and at the end I'll explain why.

First I mark the spot where I need a button. I use a plain old pencil. I pin the item to the ironing board so it won't move and lap the buttonhole part over it. Then I just mark through the cut buttonhole opening. I find that a slightly dull pencil works best and even if you can't see it clearly, if you tilt the fabric the graphite is shiny and shows up on just about any fabric.

Assemble the necessary ingredients. Thread, a sewing needle with a large eye, a big humongous needle, a button, and the sewing glasses.

Caution--do not confuse the sewing glasses with the reading glasses, the smocking glasses, or the embroidery glasses. Other people keep their ducks in a row, but with me, it's keeping up with the glasses.

I think the big humongous needle I use is probably for needlepointing rugs or something--I've had it 25 years, at least. It's not sharp at all, so I don't get stuck.
Cut a piece of thread a yard and a half long. Double it. Lick the cut ends and put them both through the needle. Cut off the licked part and tie a double knot. Here's my needle, snaking across the ironing board:

See the pencil mark at the point? This marks the spot. All I have to do is keep the edge of each button equally distant from the folded edge.

Bring the needle up from the back and through the first hole. Now put the huge needle/whatever on top and go back down into the second hole.

You are sewing with four thicknesses of thread. Go up/down each set of holes three times. Now it looks like this:

Come up between the button and the top of the fabric and wrap the thread around two times. This forms a shank. I'm wrapping now.

Go to the inside and finish off as usual. I turned this sideways and took a photo for you:

See how those buttons sit up off the fabric all perky like? That's what I want. That little bit of shank gives room for the buttonholed part to sit flat without puckering. That's the secret of sewing on buttons that look wonderful every time.
And the reason I don't do it by machine? Number one, the button usually moves. Number two, I break a needle. Number three, you don't get a wrapped shank. Wrapping that shank is what keeps the actual sewed on/holding on button threads from breaking. Here's a shot of the finished left side, buttons and all:

Isn't that nice? I love this pattern! A close up of the buttoned left shoulder:

A close up of the back--notice the belt loop!

The finished dress front (click to zoom):

And the back:


CandlebyNight said...

It is lovely. I love the piping, the shoulder flap and the buttons down the side.
When you wrap the button to shank it, is that why you sew the button on over the big needle? so that you have thread underneath to shank? Could you explain that please?

Juliane said...

Yes. After I finish sewing through the holes, I pull out the big needle. Now the threads are sort of slack, so I wrap them. Sorry for the confusion!