Inserting Buttonholes & Attaching Buttons (or other closures) - The Willa Wrap Coat Sew Along

Monday, February 22, 2021

Willa is designed to be a wrap coat tied with a belt at the waist, so you absolutely don't have to add any closures into Willa if you don't want too. If you want the option of the cosy funnel neck though, you will need to add some sort of fastening there. 

The waist button was added for extra security, since the waist does get quite a bit of additional strain put on it during wear and if you want to, you can add in an additional button between the two current ones for more security across the bust.

Fastening Options

You don't have to use buttons as a closure on Willa - especially if your machine will struggle with inserting button holes (mine only just put up with it!). You can use toggles, coat snap fasteners or for a completely clean look, use coat hooks and eyes so that the fastenings aren't seen at all.

I opted to go with copper coloured metal shank buttons for my Sew Along Coat. The shank in the button means there is plenty of room underneath the button for my thick fabric to sit under. This leaves a smooth finish to the outer coat, rather than if I had chosen to use a flat button - which would have lifted above the thickness of my coat fabric, leaving an indent and meaning that my closure wasn't as secure. It would also have out a lot of additional strain on the thread holding my button on.

I also recommend using an anti-fray glue on your button holes for extra strength and durability, even if you are using a fabric that doesn't fray easily like mine. It just means that you're making sure your coat will last you many years of frequent wear, and buttonholes are prime areas for early degradation of garments. If you're spending this much time and effort making a coat, then this is well worth the investment.

Inserting Buttonholes

1. Try your coat on and make sure you're happy with the fastening placements indicated on the coat pattern. You are able to move these up or down, or back and forth to suit your individual body. I choose to mark my buttonholes with Tailor's tacks. Once they're snipped to open out your pattern though, I do like to go back in and mark them. This is because, depending on how long your buttonhole needs to be (depending on your button size) you can use the tack as a guide to get straight buttonholes!

It's very easy to get a little wonky when sewing in your buttonholes, but using the tack as a guide, you'll never have wonky buttonholes again.

Pre-adding new Tailor's Tacks.

Adding new Tailor's Tacks over the top of the original markings.

2. Following your sewing machine instruction manual, sew in your buttonholes. Follow up with fray glue and leave overnight to dry before opening up carefully with embroidery scissors or a seam ripper.

Attaching Buttons

1. If you followed the instructions, you would have already interfaced your button placement (unless you were planning to move them...). I didn't, because I got carried away with not interfacing all the things

So, if you're like me, place some squares of interfacing on the wrong side of the outer coat, where your buttons will be. This provides a bit of additional strength on the fabric, under the button, since there is only one layer of fabric your buttons are attached too.

2. Much like when re-doing your tailor's tacks, I like to mark my button placement pretty firmly, this is usually with something like a ballpoint pen. I don't recommend this if you think you might move your button placement, but it works for me. Just add in a small dot where your button will go.

3. Take a needle and thread (knotted at the end) and sew your button on. You can sew directly through your lining, but I like my coat to be as clean as possible on the inside, so choose to sew them on through just the outer coat instead (your back bottom lining is still open at this stage, so you're able to do this easily).

Today's post is pretty straight forward, but I know that sewing in buttonholes can be frustrating for some - me included with this fabric!! I nearly cried several times, but had already sewn one buttonhole in and was determined to add the second one (and once I had decided on these buttons, it was them or nothing!).

My advice is, like always, to take your time. Practice sewing in buttonholes on your coat fabric scraps, that way, you can then make sure your buttons will fit and can play around with any machine settings to make your buttonhole thread more or less dense depending on your fabric choice.

I'll see you tomorrow where I'll be showing you how to make a chain thread!

You can purchase your Willa Wrap Coat pattern here.

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