I tried the “diamond shaped buttonhole” idea yesterday night, sewing a square patch of leather to the Celtic braid fabric and then binding the buttonhole with black China silk. It worked OK, but I didn’t like the look of the machine-stitched patch, so tried sewing on by hand.
Behold the reason I prefer hand-stitching for anything that will show:
The top one is hand stitched to the fabric (I haven’t put the buttonhole in yet); the bottom is machine stitched. See how much flatter and more attractive the edges look in the handstitched version?
In the process of doing my samples I did discover something encouraging: my sewing machine handles the leather just fine! Since very few home sewing machines will do leather, I’m very pleased. My machine is a Bernette 740E that I bought back in 1994. I had been interested in “trading up” for a Bernina 730 or 830 Record (the last of the all-metal mechanical machines), but if this one will do leather then I’m all for keeping it. It’s been a faithful and basically reliable machine for almost 20 years, and I see no reason to switch. Unless, of course, I get some fancy-pants, $1000+ newfangled sewing machine, which seems sort of pointless since the only thing I really want to do with it is straight stitch, zigzag, and (optional) an occasional overcasting stitch. I like the mechanical, all-metal machines – so much more reliable and sturdy. (Mine isn’t 100% metal – one or two pieces are plastic – but it’s close.) You just can’t buy them like that anymore, alas.
Anyway, I am pleased with this patch/buttonhole sample. The only thing that concerns me is the size. For aesthetic reasons, I’d prefer to keep the patch the size it currently is (7/8″ on a side), which means the max size buttonhole I can make is 7/8″, a little larger than the one in the photo. The buttons I’ve ordered are 3/4″, which would probably be OK, except that they are also highly domed, meaning they’ll need a larger buttonhole. The only thing to do is wait for the buttons to arrive, and see if I can get them through. If not, I’m back to a smaller button…probably a round button in black suede.
Off to play a few more rounds of Design Poker! Sharon and I are meeting up this morning to go see the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DeYoung Museum, and I want to bounce my Phoenix Rising design ideas off her. It should be lots of fun! (And I am looking forward to the exhibit – Jean Paul Gaultier is my favorite couturier, now that Alexander McQueen has passed on. I expect to come away with lots of new ideas!)