This section is from the book "Clothing And Health. An Elementary Textbook Of Home Making", by Helen Kinne. Also available from Amazon: Clothing And Health.
The apron is now entirely finished, except for fastenings. Shall we learn to make a buttonhole, and how to sew on buttons?
The Pleasant Valley girls had a contest. Barbara Oakes won a prize at the Pleasant Valley County Fair.
Practice in making the buttonhole. Long ago little girls were taught to make buttonholes, when they were five or six years of age. Grandmother Allen learned at that age. Surely by the time a girl is twelve years old she should begin to learn how to make buttonholes. One must practice on a scrap of cloth, before making the buttonhole on the garment. These are the steps to consider in practicing:
1. Decide about placing the buttonhole. Is it to be in a vertical or horizontal position on the garment? How far from the edge?
3. Overcasting the cut edges. How deep and how far apart to take the stitches. Correct position to hold work.
4. Making buttonhole stitch along one edge.
5. Turning corner.
6. Turning and buttonholing opposite edge.
7. Finishing second end.
Placing the buttonhole. It is important to place the buttonhole correctly. In some garments, where there is no strain, as in the front of a shirtwaist or of loose corset cover, the buttonholes can be made to run up and down. One should decide how far from the edge and exactly where the buttonhole is needed. Mark the place with pinholes. For the apron place three buttonholes in the yoke, one in middle and others near each end, about one-fourth inch from the edge of the yoke at center back. Cutting the buttonhole. One should cut truly and exactly, on a thread. If a pair of buttonhole scissors is not available, fold the material halfway between the pin pricks which marked its location, so that the pin passes through both ends of the located buttonhole. Cut from the folded edge to the pin, by placing the fold well within the opened scissors and cutting evenly (Fig. 27). For the apron cut one-half inch buttonholes and one-fourth of an inch in from the edge.
Fig. 27. - Cutting the buttonhole.
Overcasting the buttonhole. You have not all learned the overcasting stitch. Practice it on a scrap of cloth. Look at the picture (Fig. 28) carefully. The overcasting stitch is used on edges to prevent raveling. Hold the buttonhole along the top of the first finger. Begin without knot, and at the end farthest away from a finished edge; as at the end of skirt band or edge of waist. Work over end of thread. Point needle toward left shoulder to make a slanting stitch. Make about three or four stitches on each side of the buttonhole (Fig. 29). The depth should be about one-eighth of an inch. The corner stitches should be taken so that the needle is pointed at right angles to the cut before the buttonhole is turned. Do not forget that, after one side is overcast, it is necessary to turn the buttonhole around so the other cut edge may be overcast.
Fig 28. - The overcasting stitch tor rough edges.
Fig. 29. - Overcasting the cut buttonhole.
Making the buttonhole stitch. When the buttonhole has been overcast, the needle should be in position at the beginning of the buttonhole where the overcasting was started. Point the needle at right angles to the edge, and take a stitch one-eighth of an inch deep (Fig. 30). Hold buttonhole so that it lies flat on top of the first finger. Do not spread it open. Throw the double thread from the eye of the needle, around the point, in the same direction as the buttonhole is being worked, from right to left. Draw needle through, pulling the thread at right angles to and toward the cut edge of the buttonhole. A little finishing loop called the purl will be formed at the edge. It is this which prevents the edge of the buttonhole from wearing. Continue along one edge until the corner is reached. Remember all stitches are to be the same depth and to have about the space of a thread between stitches, and the purl is to lie exactly on the edge.
Fig. 30. - The buttonhole stitch.
Turning the corner. There are several ways of finishing the corners of buttonholes. They may have two fan ends, or one fan and one bar, or two barred ends. How can we tell which way to plan? A barred end is stronger than one which has only a fan. One must judge how the buttonhole is to be used, and then make the proper combination of ends. The picture (Fig. 31) shows both the fan and the bar. The fan is made with the same buttonhole stitch. Five stitches make a good fan. The third one is taken on a line with the cut and is the deepest, and the two stitches each side are slanting and of a depth to make an even fan effect at the turn. The fan can be made more easily by turning the buttonhole so that the end to be worked with the fan is pointed towards the worker and the cut edge is over the finger.
Buttonholing second side. After making the fan, turn the buttonhole, and along the second side make the buttonhole stitch of the same depth and evenness as along the first side.
Finishing second end. Practice a bar end. Turn buttonhole so that the end to be finished lies across finger with fan end towards the worker. Make two or three small stitches one over the other to bar the end, these to extend across width of buttonhole stitches. Over these the blanket stitch is to be placed. This is very easy. Look at the picture (Fig. 82) of it on page 138. These stitches are to be taken close together and through the cloth, around the three barred stitches. This makes a firm finish. Point the needle towards the worker and make a straight row of blanket stitches.
Fig. 31. - The fan end and the bar end of the buttonhole.
Sewing on a button. Start with a double thread, and make two stitches one over the other on the right side of the garment. String a button on the needle, to cover starting stitches. Place a pin on top of the button. Sew over it with stitches crossed back and forth through the holes of the button. The stitches should be taken so that the pull of the button will come on the warp threads of the garment. On the wrong side, the stitches should appear in parallel bars lying on the woof or filling thread. On the top of the button, the stitches should cross. Why is it necessary to sew over the pin? Remove the pin and wind thread around the stitches under the button. Finish on wrong side with several finishing stitches.
1. Practice overcasting.
2. Practice blanket stitch.
3. Practice making buttonhole.
e. Buttonholing. f. Bar.
Fig. 32. -The pin prevents the button from being sewed too near the cloth and allows space for buttoning the garment.
4. Practice sewing on one button at home and making one buttonhole.
5. Bring to school garments which need buttons. Sew the buttons on.