Thursday, September 27, 2012

Buttons, buttons...buttons

When I began making my latest shirt, I must admit that buttons were the farthest thing from my mind. I picked the pattern, I dug the fabric out of my stash, and I chose a nice red thread for the assembly. But nope, never did I even consider what buttons I would use.

I usually stick with the plain and simple white, opalescent buttons. They match just about everything and all of my store-bought shirts have come with extras, so I've amassed quite a collection. So, now that the shirt is assembled (I stayed up way too late last night finishing it), I have to make a button choice. I pulled out my stash of buttons (we all have them, I think we secretly hoard them), and I just stared. I narrowed it down to four.

The top is the opalescent standby. This shirt makes a statement, so I'm not certain I want plain Jane buttons. The second button is a milky, variegated  almost translucent white. I like it and it stands out against the red of the fabric. The red button was actually my first color choice. It disappears into the red of the fabric, but really stands out against the white flowers. The last one is almost and off-white, but it doesn't show well in the photo. That button blends the best with the flowers and their internal coloring. I'm really leaning towards that one, with the red as a very close second.

With either of those two buttons, there will be a certain amount of high contrast, depending on where the button holes fall on the placket. And, because I've chosen to use the same red thread used in assembly and the top-stitching for the buttonholes. Therefore, my buttonholes better look perfect. And they will look perfect, because I'll be using my grandmother's 401 and the Singer Professional Buttonholer. That little gizmo makes better buttonholes than any modern machine that I've seen. (Hope I didn't just jinx myself.)

Also, I need to decide if I want to put buttons on the collar, to hold the collar crisply to the shirt, like a typical oxford. When I tried the shirt on last night (and it fits GREAT!), I couldn't decide if I liked the collar falling wherever, or if I liked it better tacked down. I'm leaning towards the tacked down version, even though the pattern doesn't call for it. I'll need to find two smaller buttons in the same color and style as the rest. That task may just make the decision for me.

As soon as this shirt is done, I need to start tearing down and cleaning the Singer 66-1 and cut the fabric for my Halloween costume. It's a boring Roman senator/Caesar pattern, that I hope to jazz up a bit with some fancy stitchery using either the 401 or the modern L-500. The L-500 makes a horrible straight stitch, but its decorative stitches are beautiful. I had to pull out the Featherweight to top-stitch the sleeve cuffs on my shirt; the L-500 just balked at the multiple layers of fabric and interfacing. It's a good thing I bought it used for a third of its retail cost and that it quilts beautifully; otherwise I'd have thrown it out the window.

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