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Even Intermediate Sewers Fail

Last week I asked how all of you were and some of you posted that you felt stalled. I don't think there could be a more perfect description for how the mid-point of this challenge feels. The weather can't make up it's mind....Sneak peaks of warmer weather have chased away my motivation to create some of the longer sleeved tops I had planned, yet it's not nearly warm enough to start pumping out the sleeveless goodies flooding my brain....Fabric issues have completely halted my Fari Coat progress... And I have lost days, a week...a WEEK OF DAYS to four tiny button holes on my Marigold Blouse.

I won't retell the whole buttonhole saga here. (If somehow you managed to miss it, pop over to the FB group and search buttonholes.) Despite considering myself an intermediate sewer, I must admit that in all my years, I've never successfully pulled off traditional machine stitched button holes. I can create a zip fly and zippered welt pockets, hidden hooded rain jackets and thumb hole cuffs, but I can't sew button holes.


I spent tons of time making samples, like you are supposed to do, to determine the right stitch width and length as well as where on my markings to start my needle so that the hole is positioned correctly on the placket. My samples all looked great, but as soon as I turned to my actual top, I got satin stitched messes. I lost track of how many times I unpicked bad stitching, but I can tell you I lost about 3 days to it. The ladies in the FB group gave me tons of good suggestions and encouragement to keep trying, but in the end, I had to give up. A fellow Sew Along-er who has the same machine says she has the same problem, so maybe it's the machine and not me? I like to think so.



 At this stage of the game, everyone suggested I move forward with snaps. I considered that for a bit, but I'm really stuck on the tan horn look of the buttons I'd purchased and couldn't find any snaps that had a similar look. I felt metallic would be too heavy for the linen look fabric and white pearl snaps were just too....white.

So, yesterday, after hours of driving and finally kicking my sinus headache, (around, oh....7pm) I decided to slice open all 4 holes and hand stitch them. BTW, I've never hand stitched a button hole before. Naturally, I don't have "proper" supplies, but I had just the right green embroidery floss. My first attempt (front/back) is at the top of this photo. Kind of a mess. I pulled it out and started over, shown in the bottom left. For the weight of the fabric, it's too many stitches and too thick of thread. Also, if your eyes are super savvy, you'll notice I was working it from the wrong side of the placket. OOPS.
Finally, in the bottom right shot, I used just a single waxed strand and feel like it was looking pretty good. Good enough, anyway. But when I got to the top, I just couldn't figure out how to get around the corner smoothly. Then once on the other side, the purls kept twisting. After about 4 hours of effort, I gave up on this too.




So, there I was, at 11pm at night, having given 4 days of my sewing time to these stupid button holes, having nothing to show for it but frustration, heart ache and 4 fraying holes in my fabric. That's when it hit me, literally at the 11th hour, that I don't even NEED functional buttons. I'd placed the button holes in such a way that I can slip the thing over my head just fine. Have you seen the tag line at the top of my blog header? Just another way I'm Overthinking It Every Day. I took my top back to the sewing machine after unpicking everything. Found the right stitch width and zig-zagged right over everything. It took three passes to get a decent stitch density, but there it is. The buttons get hand stitched right on top, all the way through and BAM. Done. The buttons I want with a faux button hole look. No one will know, or care, least of all me.



I'm so happy this top is finished! I can't wait to wear it with the Skinny jeans I sewed in February and some spring sandals.



Next up is a quick stash-bust of the remaining green fabric, then I'm going to work on another dress and a Salamanca jacket.

Join the conversation at our Group's Facebook Page, Sew Alongs & Sewing Contests, and share what you are working on this week! 

Did you miss a previous Seasonal Sew Wardrobe Post? Catch up here:

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