crafts · Sewing


I’ve sewn a lot of buttonholes and buttons into knitwear.  I’ve repaired my share of coats with missing buttons.  But it never before occurred to me how you make the actual hole the button goes into.  My machine has an automatic buttonholer, which is great – program the length and it does all the work!    However, it isn’t as easy as that sounds.  First I ran out of thread, so I bought a spool of matching machine embroidery thread – I love the pretty sheen it gives the buttonholes.  Then I realized my buttons were slightly too big, so I had to adjust the size and spacing.  Finally I faced the biggest problem… opening the holes.  I don’t have embroidery scissors sharp enough, so I started with a seam ripper.  I made 6 test holes, and didn’t manage a single one without grabbing a thread I didn’t mean to on the sides.  I searched online, not wanting to screw up my skirt, and found my solution!

This is a plain 1/2 inch wood chisel, bought new today at the hardware store down the street.  You can actually get buttonhole chisels, but this was both cheaper and half a block away (and Joanns informed me they don’t exist…  I hate Joanns.)

See that perfectly cut hole?  Here’s how you do it.  Lay the fabric on a block of wood (I’m using a tiny cutting board that I don’t find useful otherwise.)  Position the chisel pointing down, with the blade exactly where you want the slit to be cut.  Whack it with a hammer or mallet.  Move down a little, repeat until you have a perfect buttonhole!

Seriously, this looks so much better than the cut holes (I won’t show them… I are embarrassed.)  It’s so easy, but apparently not widespread anymore, so there you go… a sewing tip!

Now I need to sew on the buttons (below) tack down the beltloops, and possibly redo the hem by hand.   I used my blind hem foot, and it didn’t catch the skirt as often as it should have.

I love finding tools at weird stores – I also buy my makeup brushes at the art supply store!