Handmade Buttonholes.

Handmade buttonholes. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Handmade buttonholes. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Buttonholes are doing me in.

I’ve got one shirt completely finished…except for the buttonholes.

Now, you would think that was a relatively simple thing to get a machine to do. Just flick a switch and ta da!


My machine is very old and so one has to fudge a buttonhole by changing settings each time you stitch a different part of the buttonhole. I kind of got it to work…but it was pretty rough.

My Mum’s machine, a fandangle quilting machine, promised the world. Just set the program to buttonhole and…a big pile of stitches on top of each other!

My Aunt’s sewing machine lives halfway between these two. Not ancient, not too flashy. Maybe it held the secret…to chewing up the fabric and spitting it out!

I think, one of the challenges, is that the fabric is very fine, and I haven’t used an interfacing to bulk it up. So, the machines just can’t get a grip on it.

At the start of all this I decided to use a machine to do the buttonholes so that I could speed things up. I actually did one trial one by hand, it was about 100 times better than anything a machine has produced so far…

I’m just going to finish the buttonholes off by hand, which is what I probably should have done in the first place.

As I do this shirt making project I keep coming back again and again to the deep enjoyment I get from solving things by hand (rather than by machine). I enjoyed making the shirt on the machine much less than I did the one a I completed by hand.

If I am trying to finish the shirt quickly by using a machine…well why not just speed things up even more and go and buy a shirt? Much faster.

Taking the time to construct the shirt by hand is the entire point.

Handmade buttonholes it is.



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Day 845