Sew, What's New?

Curating sewing and quilting talent, techniques, and tutorials, since 1997.

Sewing Tips - Sewing Non-Ripply Buttonholes In Knits

By Marian Lewis The sewing machine buttonhole stitches stretch the crosswise threads in a knit when it makes the buttonhole and you end up with ugly, wavy or rippled looking buttonhole lips. That shouts "homemade" really loud and clear! Avoid the homemade look and end sewing frustration of sewing buttonholes in knits. Here is a little sewing tip to help prevent those "warped lips" when machine sewing buttonholes down the front of your knit shirt. In fact, this sewing tip is good for sewing buttonholes in any fabric that stretches crosswise. To help keep the crosswise threads from stretching and causing rippled buttonholes, place one hand above and the other hand below the buttonhole area pressing down on the fabric and holding or pulling it taut, "lengthwise" as you stitch your buttonhole. It's magic. No more ripply buttonholes in knits. The pressure of your hands holding the lengthwise grain taut keeps the crosswise from stretching.
It also helps to interface and stabilize the buttonhole area with a strip of organza. Place the lengthwise grain of the organza the length of the buttonhole lips. Organza doesn't add bulk. Trim away the excess after you make the buttonhole.
Cord buttonhole lips For even more stable lips, make your buttonhole stitches over a piece of heavier thread. Tie the ends before you cut off the thread tails. To "fix" rippled lips on old buttonholes, thread a needle with heavier thread and run it through the buttonhole stitches up through one lip and back through the other lip. Pull the thread to make the lips lay flat and tie the ends to keep lips from stretching again.
More sewing tips: Place a dab of "Fray Check" on the buttonhole and let it dry before you cut it open. Also, place a pin across both ends just inside the bartack of the buttonhole before you cut it to avoid the catastrophe of cutting too far. It just makes sense!
©2009 Marian Lewis - All Rights Reserved 1st Step To Sewing Success

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