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!

Sewcialists is a hyper-inclusive editorial site. We recognize that all of us make up an amazing and varied community. We ask that you take each challenge as you see it fitting in your life, and express your involvement how you like, at the given time. Our challenges are for the pure enjoyment of participation and the love of community.


Dear Reader: Our goal is to build community and make everyone feel welcome.Β We support crafting as an inclusive and welcoming space for people of all ages, abilities, ethnicities, genders, orientations and sizes. Regarding sewing challenge themes, we ask that you take each challenge as you see it fitting in your life, and express your involvement how you like, at the given time. Our challenges are for the pure enjoyment of participation and the love of community. Extended Mission Page Here.