Spring Break 2017

Happy Springtime to all!  I will be taking a break until mid-May.  It’s the time of year I love to go on long walks, take photos and catch-up on my projects.  By spending less time on-line it is possible to really sharpen awareness of the seasons, their changes and the subtle differences in how we perceive the world around us.

I’m coming into the home stretch–at last–of the 1930s Sew-along with Norma.  Completion has been stalled due to work obligations and a family history project but nonetheless, it has been a rich learning experience.  Another thing I have learned is that half-ball buttons with a shank, like the ones I just covered with fabric, need buttonholes or button loops to remain in a standing position.  I had thought I could just sew them onto the vertical dart and create the look of a mock closure but that did not work out.  I now have 10 pretty buttons for a future project and learned how to deal with shiny fabrics in this process.

I will work on the belt during Spring Break using instructions from Reader’s Digest Guide to Sewing.  I plan to take step-by-step photos to share when I return.  I think actually seeing how the instructions from a book work out is always a good way to share what I learn.  Photos show more than line drawings from a book.

I leave you with these pretty photos and a poem about Spring. …

“First Signs Of Spring”
by Emile Pinet

I woke to the tinkling of melting snow,
flowing from my roof to the ground below.

And a robin’s chirp, in a near by tree,
sounded like he was serenading me.

The rising sun was wearing a warm smile,
that made my getting up seem all worthwhile.

I opened my window to sniff the air,
and sure enough it smelled like spring out there.

My yard was dabbled with patches of green,
and my snowman had all but fled the scene.

Tulips and daffodils poked through the ground,
and soon there floral beauty will abound.

A tepid, gentle wind, caressed my skin,
and I felt the shift in seasons begin.

 

———–

Public Domain Photos

Lambs in a meadow
http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=85160&picture=animal

Lilacs and Peruvian Lillies
http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=2744&picture=lilacs-and-peruvian-lilies

Poem

“First Signs of Spring”
by Emile Pinet
PoetrySoup
https://www.poetrysoup.com/poem/first_signs_of_spring_890290

1930s Sew-along with Norma: Covered and Underlined Buttons

Introduction

I’m now at the part I love about dressmaking–considering and making the finishing touches.  For my dress created during the 1930s Sew-along with Norma those finishing touches will be a belt and fabric covered buttons.  The green fabric I chose works well with the floral print of the dress and provides just the right contrast.  I started with the buttons first and will share what I learned in the form of a tutorial.

Planning for the buttons

Fabric covered buttons are made using a brass top and bottom designed to grip, hold and cover the fabric that is shaped around the top of the button.  On the inside of the top portion of the button are little teeth against which you mold and press the fabric so that the teeth grip and hold it securely.  When that is finished the bottom portion is snapped into place.

The fabric I am using is very lightweight and has a slight sheen.  As a result, the metallic gleam of the button shows through the fabric making it even more shiny.  I needed to underline the button fabric, so to speak, to prevent the shine from happening.  It is very important that the buttons have a matte look about them so that they stay in keeping with the dress fabric.

At first I thought a poly-china silk would work but it proved of no use in hiding the shine from the brass of the button top.  So I next tried a very lightweight cotton interfacing.  This solved the problem very well.  I was now ready to cover the buttons.

Fabric Covered Buttons with Underlining

1.  The underlining and button cover fabric is trued and steam pressed.  To keep things simple I pinned the fabric together at regular intervals so that it would not move when marked and cut.

2.   Here is a close-up of the button tops and bottoms.

3.   On the back of the package is a round button pattern.  This is to be cut out for use in marking the fabric that will cover your buttons.

4.   Another close-up of the buttons.  On the top at the left is the inside of the button top and to the upper right is the inside view of the cover.  In the front to the left is the right side of the top of the button and to the right is the outer part of the bottom of the button.

5.   I was interrupted when tracing the pattern onto the fabric so I will explain how I obtained what you see in the photo above.

a.   The fabric was pinned as shown in Step 1.

b.   I used a very sharp piece of new Tailor’s Chalk that I broke in half so that it would be very easy to handle.

c.   The cardboard circle (Button Pattern) was carefully held in place while I used the piece of chalk to trace the shape.

d.   A very sharp straight pin was used to hold the underlining and cover fabric together.  I continued in this manner until I had 10 pinned circles ready to cut.

e.   I used a small Fiskars Craft Scissors to cut out the circles.

6.   Since I could not cover the buttons at this point I put all the cut circles into a little box along with the button tops and bottoms.  I removed the pins so as not to have marks left in the fabric.

 

7.  When I was ready to start covering the buttons I stitched the fabric and underlining together at the outer edges using a conditioned, double strand of cotton thread passed through a #6 hand sewing sharp needle.  Cotton is much stronger and less likely to knot the way a polyester thread would.  The thread should have a 1/2″ tail after a double knot.  Use tiny running stitches all around.  At the end cut another tail about 1″ long but do not knot.

 

8.   Gather up the circle by pulling on both tails of the thread.  Put the top of the button inside and then gently draw the thread around the button top until it is covered.

9.   Coax the fabric onto the teeth on the inside of the button top.  The instructions on the package recommended using an eraser but I do not think that is wise.  A micro tweezer or crochet hook is a better choice since you cannot mark up your fabric with it.  Once the fabric is securely in place, gather the fabric as much as possible, then trim the tail.  It is not necessary to make a knot.

 

10.  Top of the button after the fabric has been smoothed out an before the tail of the thread was cut.

11.   Now it is time to snap the back of the button into place.

12.  To ensure the back is securely in place I press own with the top of a spool of thread that fits over the back of the button.

13.  The process is now completed.  The top of the button will look like this.

14.  And the bottom will look like this.  (Sorry for the blurry photo.)

15.  I now have to determine how much space is needed between each button and then they will be sewn onto each sleeve.