Last night I thread-traced all the markings for the buttonholes (truthfully, there’s no other way to mark the mohair!). This morning I got up early and put in all five buttonholes, with very little effort (except on the first one where I accidentally sewed the buttonhole on the wrong side of the fabric!).
I don’t know why bound buttonholes are supposed to be difficult. It’s admittedly a little more complicated than simply zigzagging around the edges and cutting a slit open for a machine buttonhole, but as long as you remember the steps it’s not hard. I’m amused by a Threads article in my “Jackets, Coats, and Suits” book that recommends having a professional tailor put in your bound buttonholes. It’s not that hard!
(Sometimes I think 90% of being able to do the unusual is simply not realizing (or refusing to believe) that it’s difficult. I remember that as a 13-year-old I started up an underground newsletter for a summer program I had been to…I had 68 subscribers to the magazine, which was printed on pink ditto-masters and titled “The Scarlet Newsletter” or some such. I had friends writing articles for it, even a little fundraising drive – and I managed to do all that because my parents never told me this was difficult. They helped me find pink ditto-masters and figure out one or two problems along the way, but other than that they acted like it was a perfectly normal thing for a 13-year-old to do. And because they didn’t say anything, I never realized how unusual it was to be doing that! My parents had their foibles, but they were dead right on how to encourage me in my little adventures.)
The buttonholes aren’t perfect – there’s a tiny bit of gapping in the middle, maybe 1/16 of an inch in some places, but they look pretty good. More to the point, from the first one to the fifth one there’s a noticeable improvement in quality, which makes me pretty happy. I could conceivably have gotten better results by basting the lips together before sewing down the triangles on the end, but since I’m working with suede, basting would have been quite difficult, and would have left marks. Suede is more forgiving than smooth leather, but not by much.
I think my next set of buttonholes will be better, so it’s good that I’m doing the practice coat.