Male Pattern Boldness is proud to be the world's most popular men's sewing blog!



May 20, 2014

A Trip to Jonathan Embroidery



What's a men's cardigan sweater without buttons?

This is not a rhetorical question, readers.  I considered not bothering with buttons and buttonholes and making a belt instead.  But Michael said the sweater would look too much like a bathrobe.

I asked the same question of Suzanne today over coffee at Cafe Grumpy.  I hate the loss of fabric stores in the Garment District, but I must say that Cafe Grumpy, on 39th Street between 7th & 8th Avenues, is a nice addition to the neighborhood and an excellent independent alternative to sterile Starbucks.

Suzanne thought the cardigan would look unfinished if I didn't add buttons (and buttonholes), even if I never used them.  I trust Suzanne.  So after we had our coffee, we walked down to 38th Street to Jonathan Embroidery.

As you know, I could have made the buttonholes with my vintage Singer buttonholer attachment.  In fact, my sample buttonholes looked pretty good until I tried cutting them open.  Then they looked twisted and wonky.





Still, my Singer attachment allows me to widen the stitch line (and narrow or widen the center hole).  At Jonathan, the stitch line of the buttonhole is not adjustable.  Did you know that?

I wouldn't have minded a slightly wider stitch, but they do look good (I'd interfaced both sides of the placket).   The opening is cut perfectly.





Here are Suzanne and I at Jonathan's.  The spools against the wall are the different threads you can choose for your buttonhole.  If you don't know what you want, they'll help you decide.



The total came to $5 for five buttonholes.  Given the amount of work -- the poor woman really had to wrestle to get my fabric under the presser foot -- and the professional looking result, it was worth it.

Originally I thought I'd use plastic buttons like this:



But since I was on 38th Street, I decided to pick up something a little more special.  I headed to C&C Button (230 W. 38th St.) where they have a huge selection of buttons (and toggles).   These wooden buttons were $1.50 each, but they definitely look spiffier than the plastic ones.





And that's it.  I hope to get the pockets on later today.  Yesterday, someone asked why I'd waited till the end to put on my pockets.  I always apply patch pockets at the end.  That way, if I decide to make my hem wider than the pattern is drafted for, I'm not stuck with pockets that end up too low.  If they'd been welt pockets, I'd likely have made them at the beginning.  Does that make sense?

Have a great day, everybody!

26 comments:

  1. Good choice on the buttons, although I like both. Correct me if I'm wrong but it appears that one of your buttonholes is warp, the other weft. Is that why they behaved differently? Jonathan's did a great job and what a price!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Knits don't have a warp and weft, do they? They're knitted back and forth as a flat piece or round and round in a tube.

      Delete
    2. This is a strange knit. On the wrong side, it looks like your typical knit, with a very visible line running parallel to the selvage. But on the front, the coarse blue and beige yarn runs perpendicular to the selvage. That's what's you see from the front (like in those photos of the buttonholes I had made today).

      Delete
    3. I stand corrected and am now sitting on the clueless couch!

      Delete
  2. Nice choice of button. The new ones look rather nicer than the plastic ones. Wish we had somewhere here that did buttonholes. And so cheaply too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Toggles would've been cool also. Maybe natural leather with rope loops.

    I always have trouble deciding where to put cargo pockets on pants or shorts til I see them, but then its annoying to sew when they're already pant legs.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your machine makes nice buttonholes. Jonathan's makes great buttonholes, buttonholes that look like rtw. How do you mark the buttonholes for them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I knew they needed to be dead center lengthwise along the 2"-wide placket and 4" from top to top, so I stuck a colored pin where the top of each buttonhole should be. But I know she also measured it herself, since they stitch from the bottom of the buttonhole up (I believe).

      Delete
    2. I thought I was jealous over the $1 per buttonhole, until I read how you place your buttonholes. I found to my sorrow after making a couple of blouses that the placement of buttonholes on women's blouses and sweaters can make or break the fit. I have to put on the garment, mark a buttonhole at the center bust, and go up and down from there evenly. Otherwise, if you button up the garment and move at all, it gaps at the bustline and looks sloppy. We also have to try on every single buttoned blouse or sweater to make sure they got it right. This is something to keep in mind for Cathy.

      Delete
  5. If I could pay someone $5 to do my button holes, I would never make another one for as long as I live!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'll be in NYC in a few weeks to shiop in the Garment District (and to see the Charles James exhibit).

    I think I might save a project (or two, maybe even three) to have finished at Jonathan embroidery.

    Is the a large selection of fancy buttons, e.g., with rhinestones, pearls, gems, available at C&C Button? I'll be making a Colette Zinnia from purple four-ply silk crepe and a Sewaholic Gabriola from a red silk-cotton blend. I want something to do them justice.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great post, Peter! Yes, they will help you out by marking and measuring for you, but I would always suggest to anyone to mark accurately for themselves, since Jonathan does not take responsibility for incorrect markings (not that they should!). That was very nice of them!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh, what I'd give for this sort of service! Those buttonholes look great and I LOVE the buttons. Such a great choice that's totally going to elevate the look of the cardi.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am so envious of your stores. And $5 for 5 buttonholes?! Wow. Although, I really enjoy making them myself.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Those buttonholes really look great. They blend so well.
    The cardi looks like it's going to really be cozy. I wonder how many would be more prolific sewers with that buttonhole service available, then again we wouldn't see so many creative altenatives.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Your button holes for that type of fabric came out absolutely perfect. You did a really nice job. Nice touch with the wooden buttons.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Fabulous buttonholes and I really like the buttons you selected. I am so envious of this service.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Urgh, those plastic buttons! AW-ful! Thank gawd you went for something more INTERESTING!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Beautiful buttonholes! Has anyone tried one of those buttonhole cutter tools that looks like a chisel with a really sharp blade? They look like they'd give a cleaner end result than a seam ripper but I wonder about sizing (would you need several for different size holes?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I received a buttonhole chisel for Christmas one year; it came with a little wooden "cutting board" to do the cutting on - the first time I used it, I split the cutting board in two! The chisel itself is about 1/2" wide, so I assume for larger buttonholes one would just move it over and pound. It works dandy. I use a buttonhole scissor for smaller buttonholes.

      Delete
  15. I was looking forward to seeing how you would tackle buttonholes because I've never had very good results doing buttonholes on cardigans, and I was hoping you would come up with a great solution to do at home. Jonathan embroidery is not an option for me. Lucky you! your buttonholes look great.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I really like your new buttons. Very 1970's.

    And about those pockets... It looks like they end (almost) at the side seam. If it were me sewing this, I would sewing them on from the inside, before sewing the sides, thereby eliminating the need for edge stitching. (I've blogged about how to do that here: http://petitmainsauvage.blogspot.nl/2014/04/a-pocket-tutorial.html)
    Of course, I know not everybody dislikes topstitching as much as I do. And obviously, between all your recent practice and your collection of sewing machines, you certainly have what it takes to make topstitching look great, even in a fluffy fabric like this.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow, it never occurred to me that it was possible to hire out your buttonholes. What an awesome service!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Some buttonhole sewing tips:
    Open the hole with a 1/2" chisel blade made by Xacto, don't buy the cheap metal version, the blades are very soft. For a block I use a small polyethylene cutting board. For fabrics that tend to unravel, you can use a few drops of Fray Check before cutting the hole.

    For those of you who don't live in NYC, a way to get industrial type buttonholes is to locate and befriend a local sewing contractor that has a buttonhole machine. You'll have to do some sweet talking and maybe bribery to get them to help you.

    ReplyDelete
  19. You made the right choices - especially wooden over clear plastic buttons

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails