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Mar 22, 2014

On Buttonholes, Blue Shirts, and Vintage Shoe Shine Kits



Let's talk buttonholes for a bit, shall we?

I think Jonathan Embroidery is a great resource, especially for garments that are tricky to fit under a standard vintage Singer or Greist buttonhole attachment, or for a garment you're afraid you'll ruin for one reason or another.



Every buttonhole is going to have some stray threads that will need to be trimmed -- it's a combination of the thread from the shirting and the interfacing.  Over time, these threads disappear.

Up top is the buttonhole I had made at Jonathan Embroidery.  Below are buttonholes I've made with my Singer buttonholer(s).  As you can see, they're slightly oval.  If your machine does a buttonhole anchored by satin stitches at either end, your buttonhole may look more like the one from Jonathan Embroidery, i.e, rectangular.  







I think for a cotton shirt, a home buttonholer is all you need.  (I demonstrate my favorite vintage Singer buttonholer here.)

Here's Michael in the completed blue cotton/poly shirt I made on Thursday.  He wore it to the opera last night.  I stayed home and watched a creepy Sixties Japanese film, The Face of Another.  If you liked Eyes Without a Face, this film is for you.





And here I am.  Not my favorite shirt but it's a good color for us both.







It felt like spring at the flea market this morning.  (You start seeing more sewing machines when the weather improves for some reason.)





I got seven CD's for a dollar each -- a songbird treasure trove!



I also picked up this old shoe shine kit.  I needed new shoelaces for my desert boots, and the perfect ones were inside the box.  I ended up buying the whole thing.





I love my Clark's desert boots, but the laces wore out in a month -- pathetic.







Do they even make shoelaces in the USA anymore?







So much other fun stuff in this box!









I almost always come home from the flea market feeling like 90% of the stuff manufactured today is crap.  (Actually, the feeling is rage.)  But what can you do -- other than frequent flea markets?

Sew.

Have a great day, everybody, and keep on sewing!

Some things HAVE gotten better -- hot chocolate this morning!

27 comments:

  1. SeamsterEast (at) aol.comMarch 22, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    Ahhhhhhh, Meltonian, the best shoe polish made. Good score. Nylon stockings, the best shoeshine cloth made. Every three or four wearings, some Meltonian, let it dry, brush, then buff and shoes GLISTEN. A boss once said to me, "Ex-Marines always know how to shine their shoes."

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  2. It's funny, I went to a bunch of estate sales yesterday and came away with the same feeling. Things aren't built to last the way they were in the past, and the level of detail and care isn't there either.

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  3. Your blog is the best. Awesome!

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  4. Peter,

    Your muslin turned up a great classic shirt. Nothing on the top of fashion, but one always need some classic pieces in the wardrobe, right?

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  5. When I teach my sewing class, a beginner's class where we create a straight skirt, I never have the students attempt a buttonhole with their own machines. We skip buttonholes and use a skirt hook.
    For some of the students this is their first time sewing and nothing like a botched bottnhole to ruin the look of a garment.

    I suspect your prof is of the same mind and is trying to prevent disappointment in the last stage of the garment creation.

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  6. You look absolutely stunning in that blue shirt. Actually you both do.

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  7. They do make shoelaces in the USA! Check out the blue lace project...

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  8. Very nice shirt. Two very handsome men wearing it. I never noticed the shape of buttonholes till you mentioned it and sure enuff.

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  9. Hi Peter. Nice shirt. Very nice models! Can you use a Singer buttonholer only on a Singer machine? Treadle or electric? Cheers, Anne-Marie

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    Replies
    1. Only if the machine can use Singer feet. I've never tried treadling with it.

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    2. I found my buttonholers work best on my Singer 201 (treadle only). The instructions on the buttonholer say not to go too fast. With the treadle that is not a major problem. I've tried them on some other machines, and they didn't work as smoothly. Not very well on the Featherweight either. But that just might be my particular buttonholers.

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    3. Oh, and that looks like an old Singer 237 at the flea market. That is supposed to be a real nice basic mode. I'm glad I wasn't there. :))

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  10. I have found that many new sewing machines make perfect buttonholes that would rival Jonathan Embroidery. My Husqvarna Sapphire 850 made gorgeous, perfect, square buttonholes every time.

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  11. Your blog is made in the USA and it is a high quality product.

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  12. My grandfather had a shoeshine kit just like that one in the early 60s. And looking at those buttonholes makes me think I should get over my phobia and try making them on the 2011 Bernette 20 I recently scored on Ebay.

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  13. Notice the shoelaces, made in Pawtucket R.I., in the good ole' USA. That is the home of Rhode Island Textiles, manufacturer of narrow fabrics. You might have sewn with their ribbons and twill tapes as well as secured your shoes with their laces. So Peter, some excellent products are still made in the US of A!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Glad to hear they're still around!

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    2. You could also try to sew your own. I have seen some on pinterest made with a bias binding maker, sewn up along the edge - not cut on the bias though obviously - you don't want shoelaces with stretch! Admittedly they were kids ones, but why not use your scraps and have matching shoelaces for your outfits!

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  14. Yes they still make shoelaces in the USA: http://www.thebluelaceproject.com

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  15. Y'all are both such babes! That color is so great for both of you.

    Question: did you use interfacing and all that jazz for this muslin? And if so, do you always, or just when you anticipate it being a wearable muslin? I bought some nice interfacing recently, and I'm loathe to use it up in stuff I won't wear, but then sometimes interfacing is probably the difference between a muslin being wearable or not haha =/

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    Replies
    1. Yes, interfacing one ply of cuffs, collar, collar stand, and front plackets. But I knew this was going to be a wearable muslin. If not, no, I wouldn't have bothered.

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  16. You and Michael both look very handsome in that blue shirt. It's a lovely shade of blue.

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  17. Loving your blog. Speaking of interfacing, can you tell if what is proper? Should the interfaced collar piece be the upper collar or should it be the lower collar? It is never clear in my pattern instructions.

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    Replies
    1. Here's what they teach at FIT:

      1) Interface the front left and right button plackets. 3" of interfacing for a 1 1/2"-wide placket, folded under 2x.

      2) Interface the outward-facing cuff of the cuffs.

      3) Interface the outward-facing side of the collar, and the NECK-FACING side of the collar stand.

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  18. Peter, your Kenmore 1410 makes wonderful buttonholes using the plate with the gear drive. And your shirts look just great.

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  19. Pretty color. Did you do the slope shoulder adjustment on this pattern? You've had better fit.

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