Sew Brave: And Then There Were Buttonholes

There have been quite a few “yay” moments since I started sewing my own wardrobe. First, zippers. Then sleeves. Then, behold! I conquered pockets! More recently, I have surrendered to pants and jumpsuits.

But one thing kept boggling my mind. Buttonholes. Those pesky little things that stared at me through every picture of a blouse, or a shirt dress, or a button-down skirt that whispered “sew me!” as I scrolled around social media for inspiration.

I tried sewing them a couple of times. A wrap skirt that–lucky me!–had only four buttons, large enough for every faulty stitch to be disguised by the pattern of the fabric. And, more recently, a shirtdress that I am honestly thinking of remaking to preserve my pride and self-esteem.

Then I bought 1,20m of a beautiful African print. Purple, my favorite colour, and a very vivid green, to make a statement. I immediately thought of a top, a simple boxy top. Or… why not play with the bold colours and try sewing a buttondown blouse? A challenge? Yes, please! So I bought green buttons and started thinking of a pattern.

Purple and green fabric with green bias tape and green buttons
Colouring my wardrobe one garment at a time

Now, I am not very keen on following patterns. Although I have bettered my skills at that, truth is I rarely end up not hacking the patterns or making up my own (this also happens with cooking recipes so I guess it’s a thing.)

Purple and green fabric with pleated trim laid on top
Pleats! I love pleats!

Before I knew it, I had decided on placing some pleats on the shoulders and hem. Notice how I have not yet talked about the actual buttonholes? Yes, I was trying to ignore them and focus on the creative process before finally tackling the real issue (that’s also kind of a thing.)

As I was almost done with the blouse–which by that time had turned into a back buttoned one–and only the buttons remained to be placed, I wanted to let it rest by the sewing machine. But it was only 12 small steps away from being finished (there were six buttons…). Why procrastinate? I had already measured the needed distance to place the buttons and the buttonholes. All I had to do was sit down and sew. And so I did, I just went with the flow–which definitely is a thing, by the way.

I did it and I love it! Is there room for improvement? Always! I have yet to master sewing straight lines and keeping the stitches at the right pace and tension. I have yet to learn to be patient and not want to finish everything on the spot. But I absolutely love this blouse. Everything about it will now be another milestone on my journey as an amateur sewist.

I did it.

Next steps? I want to sew more of these. In different colours and fabrics! And as I go on to conquer the art of sewing buttonholes, other challenges will come. Will I be ready for them? Eventually.

I am a Cape Verdean Portuguese living in Portugal. A crafty, creative, lover of challenges with a major crush on African Prints. Started sewing my own wardrobe in 2015, with nothing but a sewing machine and Youtube tutorials to guide me. You can find me on Instagram @maggie_ms.cherry or Facebook @MaggieMsCherry. Drop a word or two and tell me what you like the most about sewing!

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