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Tag Archives: Buttonholes

1940s Vintage Suit, Post Four

We left off with sleeves set into the jacket using an awesome trick by Gertie. Today, I had to finish the facing behind the bound buttonholes so my buttons could reach the front. I did this by the age-old “finagle” method. I cut the lips of the bound buttonholes open, cut a slit in the facing and whipped the edges under as best I could. The directions said to baste around the buttonhole, slash facing and hem the edge to the buttonhole. I wasn’t sure what they meant, so I interpreted it my own way. Of course, I later realized that Gertie’s subsequent “Lady Grey” post covered how exactly to finish the buttonholes, which would have been helpful.

I only opened the facing at the four “real” buttonholes. For the other four buttonholes, the “fake” ones, I sewed the button to the inside of the facing and pushed it through the exterior buttonhole so it looked as real as possible with all 8 buttons in place.

Facing inside

Buttons in place

Nearly finished front

At this point, I did a test fitting to make sure the buttons were not too difficult to button. It was no problem, but I noticed the back of the peplum hung a bit limply.


I unpicked the catch stitch holding the facing in place and added a 2″ horse hair braid along the bottom edge to give it a little more body. Again, this is a trick I learned from Gertie’s awesome blog! I basted the bottom edge of the braid in place, tightened the drawstring and then used a catch stitch to hold the top edge in place. Then I redid the catch stitch holding the facing in place.

Facing & horsehair braid


All that is left for the jacket is the sleeves, so I washed and dried my fabric for the sleeves, then spray starched it heavily so it wouldn’t be so darn slippery. In the end, because the fabric was so slippery and thin, I decided to interface it, which made everything much easier.


The directions were pretty clear about assembly, so I just zipped up the seams as directed, sewed in a few buttonholes, stitched the buttons onto the wrists, and BAM! the jacket was finished!

Finished jacket

Next up, the skirt. How do you like it so far?

1940s Vintage Suit

Today, I’m going to try something different. I’ve been blogging as I finish a post and get good pictures, but for this next project, I’m going to try updating as I go along. It’s not quite a tutorial, but more like useful tricks that you may not know.

The pattern I’m using is Simplicity 8242. I did a mockup in size 14, for my 36″ bust, but after I had cut all the pieces, I found that the pattern envelope indicated that the ease is 3.5″(!), and the finished bust measurement of size 14 is 39.5″. I finished my mockup anyway, and it was huge. The finished bust of size 10 is 36″, which should fit over my longline bra, slimming camisole, and blouse (35″ bust).

Simplicity 8242

I’m using what I believe is a tweed, of unknown origin. I’m assuming it’s some sort of synthetic because of the shine, which is lovely. To start tracing my pattern pieces, I first drew a line on my pattern 1″ above the waistline markings to shorten the waist for my height. Then I traced a weft thread across the cross grain on the back side of the fabric with my favorite Pilot Frixion heat eraseable pen.

Lining up the pattern

I traced and cut the first piece, then flipped it over and lined the waist line up again to cut the other side. After this, I immediately sewed an overcast stitch around the entire piece because fabrics like this tend to fray with even slight handling, I’ve learned.


After the overcasting, I began the bound buttonholes. The pattern calls for 4 bound buttonholes down the center front with faux buttons to the outside, but I decided to do 8 bound buttonholes and thus, 8 buttons, instead. I practiced on muslin using the pattern instructions and the result wasn’t great.

Test #1

Then I remembered seeing a tutorial for bound buttonholes by Gertie on her (old) blog. This method was much better, but alas, I didn’t have matching organza, so I used white voile for similar effect. Unless someone is getting up close to my buttons, no one should notice.

Test #2

I applied interfacing to the back side of my buttonholes, and quickly realized that the heat eraseable pens, so convenient elsewhere, were not appropriate for these markings. I traced over the lines onto the interfacing with a disappearing ink pen, then steamed the interfacing to the fashion fabric.

Initial markings

Markings on interface

I sewed the first buttonhole according to Gertie’s instructions, and it came out ok. Fortunately, it’s the bottom most buttonhole, so again, no one should notice.

Buttonhole #1

After my initial buttonhole, I decided to group like tasks for expediency (as I’ve recently learned from The Modern Maker’s books on 16th-17th century tailoring). Instead of completing each buttonhole then the next, I stitched all of the voile down, then assembled the lips of the buttonhole.

Buttonhole “lips”

I pulled the voile through and pressed exuberantly. I positioned the lips in place trying various methods of pinning them straight and even. The top most buttonhole came out relatively even, progressing from bottom to top.

Buttonhole #4

Then I had to do it all again for the center front row of buttonholes. These turned out better, overall, but once more, no one is ever going to notice! 🙂 Now I’m feeling a bit sad to have worked so hard on them, but at least I have gained +1 in bound buttonholes.

Finished buttonholes

Best buttonholes from top left

Have you made bound buttonholes? What method did you use? Was it easier or make better looking buttonholes than mine? Also, is this fabric, in fact, tweed? I always think of tweed as the old professor jacket with the leather patches….