I love bound button holes. They’re beautiful beasties. The problem is, I don’t like fat bound button holes with a smaller button. Many bound button holes are half inch, top to bottom. To my eye, that’s too much for a polite jacket. I prefer 1/4″. If you are similarly persnickety, this is the bound button hole for you. This is not the infamous turnsy-foldsy bound button hole you see in a lot of sewing books, which is difficult to do in some fabrics (like leather). This one is for those of us who are better at sewing than ironing. It is what I remember from a tailoring class, which may or may not be what was actually taught in the class. It does work out well, though.
Con: Takes Time
Making bias tape is shockingly easy. Sure, it’s a little tedious, but it’s really easy. The question is, why would you make bias tape when the fabric store sells it? Maybe you want bias made out of something other than a poly-cotton blend. (Honestly, once you see real silk bias binding, there’s no going back.) Or maybe you found yourself in some sort of silly situation that requires 20 or more yards of bias tape, and payng 3.59$ for every 3 yards of the stuff just failed to look like a good idea. Whatever your reason, here’s how you do it….
Felled seams are sturdy and utilitarian. We’re mostly familiar with them as the re-inforced seams on our jeans, but felling is a very old technique. It was a handworked finish for seams centuries before sewing machines were invented, and was often seen in traditionally home-made items like shirts and chemises. A seam allowance can be felled after the fact. It’s a good finish for both hand and machine sewn seams, and, properly done, is completely invisible from the outside of the garment.
According to my handy-dandy stitch dictionary, this is also called the “open chain stitch” or “Roman chain stitch”. This is a nice, relatively simple, geometric decoration. Because it has a straight edge, you can work it right on top of a machined hem to hide the machine stitches. (I believe in cheating.)
Sometimes, you have to finish a seam allowance so it won’t fray. (Or, possibly, you’re like me and compulsively finish seams, whether they need it or not.) There are times when you can’t use a french seam, or you are working in an area too tight for a felled seam, and you want something nicer than an overcast edge. This method of finishing a seam allowance by hand will prevent them from fraying, and lightly reinforce the seam.
This is a really nice looking edge finish. It’s decorative and fully sealed. It shows up all throughout the ages – sixteenth century ruffs, smocks and chemises of all eras, even on modern blankets (of all things). It’s also a great utility stitch – milliners use it to whip wire down to buckram hat brims.
Sometimes, fabrics don’t play nice. Like, you have a wonderfully soft, light weight, breathable, utterly perfect fabric you want to use for a chemise, or you found the perfect silk chiffon for a veil, and it’s all wonderful-roses-happy-puppies-GLORIOUS… Until you try to cut it, and shifts all over the blasted place and you can’t get a straight line. Oh, bother… Time to pull a thread. I find this the most tediously annoying process in the entire history of ever*, but there are times when it is the only way you’re going to cut a straight line.
This is the ultra-thin version of the French Seam. It’s very useful if you’re making fine linen pieces (like coifs), or if you’re working with dolls and cannot divorce yourself from the idea of fully finished seams….
The French Seam is my favorite seam of all time. It’s fully encased and leaves no visible stitching on the right side of the garment. Any time I have to make an unlined garment, you can bet I’m using french seams (or some variant thereof).