The Carnaby Cape Tutorial - Day Six

Day 5 - Sewing the shoulder buttonholes by machine or hand

You will need a copy of The Carnaby Cape pattern

I recommend you practice sewing these buttonholes at least once on some scrap fabric before sewing on your cape.

Automatic buttonhole on the machine


All modern sewing machines have a built in buttonhole feature. The way they work varies from machine to machine but they all require the use of a buttonhole foot like the one you see above.

The machine I've used is quite simple and requires me to change the dial to create each step but others will do everything for you with the touch of a button. Check your manual for details.

First of all you need to know how wide your button is. On some machines you can fit the button into the back of the foot which automatically shows the machine how big to make the hole. On others you may need to measure the button and mark it on the fabric or use the measurement guides on the foot.

You will start sewing in a small zig zag stitch in one direction until you reach the desired length, then a wider zig zag at the end before heading back to the beginning and ending in another wide zig zag.

I like how these buttonholes turned out, they're uniform and neat.


Manual buttonholes on the machine

manual buttonhole

If your sewing machine doesn't have an automatic buttonhole feature there is still a way to make them on your machine!

Mark the length of your buttonhole on your fabric and centre the mark under the foot (top left photo). With a fine stitch length and medium stitch width sew up the left hand side of the chalk mark with a zig zag stitch.

Lower the needle into the fabric on the chalk mark. Raise the foot and turn the fabric to face the opposite direction (see top right photo).Turn the wheel one stitch to bring the needle to the outer edge of the buttonhole. Change your stitch length to 0 and your width to the widest and sew 5 or 6 stitches.

Change your stitch length back to fine and the width back to medium. Sew back along the buttonhole on the left hand side with a zig zag stitch until you reach the other end.

Again, change your stitch length to 0 and your width to the widest and sew 5 or 6 stitches and you're done!

This is a great way to create neat buttonholes and can be very useful for over sized buttons. Most automatic buttonhole features can only make buttonholes up to 3cm long.


Hand worked buttonholes

 hand worked buttonholes

Hand worked buttonholes are great if you where you want your buttonhole is tricky and won't fit under the foot of your sewing machine.

First, sew a rectangle the length of you button, this can be done with a machine or by hand. 

Cut down the length of your rectangle and overcast the edges of the fabric using a matching thread.

Working from right to left with the needle pointing towards you insert the needle from underneath at the corner of the rectangle. Form a small knot with each stitch by looping the thread from the previous stitch as you can see in the middle bottom photo. 

Sew each stitch close together until the entire buttonhole is covered creating either a curve at one end or long stitches at either end.

I'm not such a big fan of this buttonhole as it can end up looking messy if you don't take your time but it has it's uses!

So, which buttonholes will you be sewing on your Carnaby Cape?


Tomorrow Button is all about button placement and attachment.