Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Confession


My method of opening buttonholes has gone through several changes over the years. At first, (exhibiting more enthusiasm than common sense) I just plunged in and applied a seam ripper with gusto!

You can imagine (or, perhaps, remember!) what that led to - and I'm not just referring to the cursing... ;)

After a few of those experiences, I started taking a moment to insert straight pins at each end of the buttonhole before using my seam ripper, to prevent those accidental rip-throughs.

Now I poke a hole in the middle of the buttonhole with my seam ripper, but then use my snips to open the buttonhole with precision and control.

How about you? How do you open your buttonholes? Any special tricks that you would like to pass on? Any classic "disaster" stories (or close calls) to share?

16 comments:

Lori said...

I use a buttonhole cutter.

gwensews said...

I also use a buttonhole cutter (basically it's a small chisel on a stick). But--before cutting, I put FrayCheck on the head of a pin and apply it inside the buttonhole, front and back. Let it dry. That helps the fraying that might occur. Also, I have colored fabric markers that I use to color inside the cut area IF the interfacing shows.

Cindy said...

I use a seam ripper to start and small nips to finish. I know of the buttonhole cutter, just never used one. Maybe my next tool LOL.

I also use fray check but never did it with the head of the pin. I'll have to try that because sometimes it comes out messy. I also like the idea of color markers for the interfacing. Thanks Gwen - and Gwen :)
Stay warm this weekend! Enjoy your sewing moments.

CarlaF-in Atlanta said...

Seam ripper and taking my time. Gee, that taking my time seams to be the key to successful sewing all the way around for me.

CarlaF-in Atlanta wishing the snow and ice would go away. Far, far away.

Julie said...

I use a retractable razor blade (little round piece where you can slide out the razor point) OR I use a razor sharp seam ripper (the ones that look like surgical tools). I have a curved one and a flat-edge one that is perfect for buttonholes. Once I practiced the technique a few times, I've never needed to protect the ends of the buttonhole with pins. Haven't ripped a buttonhole yet.

Petra said...

I do use a seam ripper. I insert it at one end of the button hole, then push the tip through/back up in the middle of the button hole, as you carefully would with a safety pin. Then I push the seam ripper so half the button hole is opened. Then I do the same from the other end. It has never gone wrong. I could do with some fraycheck, though to make them neat! Thanks for the tip!

patsijean said...

I used to use a seam ripper, but for several years now I have used the chisel after applying Fray Check. If the shirt is cotton etc., I will use lots of Fray Check so it stands up in the wash.

Webfrau said...

I use my tiny needlework scissors. I usually fold the buttonhole in half and snip to get started then cut carefully into each end from the middle.

I love Gwen's ideas about the fraycheck and coloured fabric markers. I must remember those tricks.

Alison said...

I do what Gwensews does but I use a cotton bud (what do you guys call them....q tips??) instead of a pin. I also fray check the wrong side where I've sewn on the button.

Faye Lewis said...

I ALWAYS sew the buttonholes twice. I've gotten really good looking buttonholes by doing this. Then I open with either a buttonhole cutter or an exacto knife. I cut from center to end, and then from center to the other end. Every now and then I cut through my end - egad! I then hand stitch my mistake. I have fray check but never use it. I might start using it now that I know about the pin trick.

marysews said...

My buttonhole cutter is from NancysNotions (several years ago), but it looks like this: http://www.clotilde.com/detail.html?prod_id=207

gaylen said...

I use either the button hold cutter or the my tiny snips, fold the buttonhole in half and gently snip and the carefully go toward the ends.

Love the Fray Check tips. Will try to remember to use that. g

meredithp said...

Ditto on the buttonhole cutter (or chisel). No horrible accidents since this notion came home. I also lightly paint the cut edges with Fray Check (usually using a straight pin). I also dab Fray Check on button threads (again with pin). Have never lost a button that *I* sewed on. I use a straight pin to apply Fray Check. Never, ever apply Fray Check directly from the bottle, as Cindy suggested. Ask me why ;-)

Summerset said...

I use either a buttonhole cutter or snips. It's pretty rare I use a seam ripper and it is too risky to get the buttonhole opened up just right without ruining it.

Claire S. said...

buttonhole chisel - CAREFULLY - LOL !

sanhan said...

I use an x-acto knife. Sharp and, well, exact. I haven't had a slip yet (although the very act of writing that probably doomed my next buttonhole). :-)