3 tools to help sew flawless buttonholes
A few handy sewing room accessories can help reduce your stress and improve the durability of your buttonholes.
A buttonhole chisel. These miniature chisels are available in different sizes and some come with small cutting boards or mats included. The tapered sides reduce the risk of accidentally cutting your buttonhole stitching and the sharp blade makes quick work of opening buttonholes.
If your buttonhole is large you’ll need to make a couple of side by side presses to cut the fabric open but it’s must less stressful than using an unpicker or scissors!
Fray Check or Fray Stop. There’s several brands of this clever product. It prevents stressed areas – such as buttonholes, seams, shirt collars, and cuffs – from fraying by reinforcing the fibres with glue. It’s also perfect to secure thread ends on seams and overlocked edges. Some people also use it on the edges of homemade appliques and motifs.
If you like to get a long life out of your garments with many wears and washes, Fray Check can provide extra peace of mind. It’s a colourless liquid that works on most fabric types without leaving a visible stain and has a easy to use nozzle so you don’t apply too much.
Simflex. This buttonhole gauge simplifies positioning and measuring of buttonholes. You can also use it to evenly space pleats on skirts or anything else you need to distance equally. All of our patterns indicate button spacing for the suggested button size. But if you want to change your button size it can help to also adjust the spacing. Similarly, you may prefer more buttons than we recommend, and as always you are in control!
The simflex will mark where the centre of the buttonhole/button should go. Place the top guide in position at the first button point (at the neckline or upper chest depending on the garment) and then expand the guage until you achieve the spacing you want. Remember, it’s crucial a button should sit in the centre of your bust and just above a waist seam to avoid gaping. Mark the spacing and then create buttonholes in the correct locations.