Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Cute as a Button

It wasn't done in a weekend, but the little sweater for my co-worker's child is done.

There was some drama with the dyed yarn and whether I would have enough. I ended up making the sleeves a little shorter than the pattern called for, but I think they look a little long so I'm glad.

The sweater has been waiting about a week for the buttons. Not my favourite part of the job.

But while I was sewing them on, I thought I'd show you a few tricks I've picked up over the years.

First, I use doubled thread for buttons. That's pretty common. I used to thread the needle over one strand and then knot the two cut ends together.
But that leaves you with a knot and some loose threads after the knot. Also, it means you're restricted in how close you can sew to the end of the thread because the needle is stuck in the loop and needs room to turn around.

So a better way is to thread the needle with the two cut ends and leave a loop at the other end.
 Now, when you start to sew, you can catch the loop with the needle after taking the first stitch,
 and in that way, secure the end:
Take one more anchor stitch, and you're ready to sew on the button.

When you're sewing buttons onto knits, you usually have to watch that you don't sew them down too tightly. There needs to be room behind the button for the fabric around the button hole. Otherwise, the buttons are hard to do up and the button band won't sit properly.

You can convince yourself that you will just make loose stitches, but it's hard to do. Like, it's an absolute delusion to think you can do it. The stitches will have uneven tension and it's almost impossible not to make them tighter and tighter.

So, prop a match stick (or a toothpick) between the button and the fabric after making your first stitch through the button. Continue to sew the button on over the matchstick.
Now you can pull evenly on the stitches and be sure that there will still be a space between the button and fabric.

After stitching the button securely, knot it on the backside by taking a stitch and then pulling the needle through the loop before pulling the thread tight (twice). Then remove the matchstick and pull the thread to the front side of the fabric but behind the button. Wrap the thread around the stitches a five or six times (between the button and the fabric) and then knot it again in the same way.
 Wrapping the stitches makes a sort of post for the button and reinforces the thread as well.

And with four buttons, my little sweater was finished:
I think it looks rather smart and I hope it will fit the little tyke next winter.

Project Stats
: 21 Mar '15
Finished: 28 Mar '15
Pattern: Baby Sophisticate by Linden Down (free)
Materials: 120 grams of ravelled wool, used double. The green was dyed with KoolAid.

It looks rather proud of itself here, doesn't it!

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