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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: HeatherL
Date: 12-16-2004, 08:16 AM (1 of 15)
I am ready to cry. I am making a shirt for my father for Christmas, and I did SUCH a good job on it. I was so proud of my relative-newbie self. And at the very last moment, when I was using a stitch ripper to open the centers of the buttonholes (which by the way were the neatest, best buttonholes I've ever done), I slipped and ripped a slit for about 1 1/2 inches above the buttonhole.

I am SO UPSET! I'm not sure yet how I'm going to try to repair it. It's a cotton/rayon blend. My best idea is to put some Stitch Witchery between the layers (there is a facing behind the buttonhole edge), to at least keep the area flat...but will that keep it from fraying in the wash? Am I going to have to do a satin stitch over it? Because that will surely show. I am just beside myself.
User: HeatherL
Member since: 03-13-2004
Total posts: 102
Date: 12-16-2004, 09:16 AM (2 of 15)
I'm So Sorry You Had That Happen!

Here's One Way You Could Go To Salvage Your Project:

If You Have Enough Fabric Left Over You Could Cut Out That Side Of The Shirt, Plus A Collar-------carefully Rip Out Those Parts, Re-assemble, And Start Over.

If You Don't Have The Fabric, You Are On The Right Track With The Stitch Witchery Idea, Or You Could Use A Tiny Bit Of Lightweight Fusible Interfacing Left Over After Another Project. I Save All Those Little Bits In A Plastic Bag For Clothing Repairs. After You Fuse The Fabric, You Will Of Course Satin Stitch The Rip Very Carefully.

At That Point You Could Think Of An Applique You Could Put Over All Of Those Button Holes. Maybe You Could Use Self Fabric, Or Maybe A Synthetic Suede That Matches The Fabric Or The Button Could Be Used. If You Are Near A Fabric Store-----you Could Look Around And Think-think-think. Bring The Shirt In So You Can Really Look At The Color And Think!

You Can Probably Make Very Small Very Plain Appliques All Down The Shirt, And Nobody Will Be The Wiser.

I Have Always Found That The Safest Way To Rip Buttonholes Is To Start At The End Of The Buttonhole, And Cut Very Very Carefully Toward The Center. Then Start At The Other End Of The Buttonhold And Cut Again, Very Carefully, Toward The Center.

Good Luck With Your Project-----and Please Tell Us How It Came Out!
Member since: 09-15-2004
Total posts: 31
Date: 12-16-2004, 09:24 AM (3 of 15)
Another Way You Could Rescue This Is This:

Fuse And Satin Stitch As Above. Then If Your Fabric Is Not Terribly Heavy, You Could Cut Another Strip To Go Down The Buttonhole Side Of The Shirt, Matching Grain, Pattern, Etc, Exactly. Allow Enough To Turn The Edges Down And Steampress Before You Fit To The Shirt. Then Fit This To The Front Of The Shirt, Pin, And Topstitch Very Carefully. Then Make All The Buttonholes Again.

This Time Cut Those Buttonholes From The Ends Of The Hole Toward The Center!

Hang In There-------you'll Get This Back Together!
Member since: 09-15-2004
Total posts: 31
From: Pudge99
Date: 12-16-2004, 09:41 AM (4 of 15)
These are some great ideas for how to fix it. Just wanted to add that the only time I have ripped through a buttonhole is when I used a seam ripper. Now I lay the item flat on my cutting mat and carefully use an exacto knife. I get a much cleaner buttonhole this way and (knock on wood) I haven't cut through one yet. The suggestion to start at each end and meet in the middle is good too.
Just had an idea for how to cover up your mistake. If your cut is perfectly lined up with the buttonholes why not just satin stitch the area between all the buttonholes. So basically you would have a straight line going down the front of the shirt.
Let us know if you which way you choose and how well it works out.
Remember, there are no mistakes, only unexpected design changes. :bg:
Pictures of my successes and failures
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User: Pudge99
Member since: 10-30-2001
Total posts: 1375
From: MaryW
Date: 12-16-2004, 09:57 AM (5 of 15)
Another idea would be to embroider a simple design around the buttonholes as an added embellishment. He'll never know. :bluewink:
owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
From: Magot
Date: 12-16-2004, 10:10 AM (6 of 15)
When I use a seam ripper to undo button holes I always put a pin through the bar tack so that I can't overcut the hole. I like Pudges Idea of sewing a line down all the buttonholes to make it look deliberate. Would you need to do a matching line down where the buttons will go?
love and kisses, Jan
Cells a Speciality
DNA to order.
User: Magot
Member since: 12-22-2002
Total posts: 3626
From: HeatherL
Date: 12-16-2004, 11:10 AM (7 of 15)
These are all great ideas. I think I am going to try the idea about sewing a line all the way down. The slash in the fabric is indeed in-line with the buttonholes, and perfectly straight. This would allow me to satin-stitch the ripped area without it looking like a patch.

I like the embroidery idea, but I ain't THAT crafty! LOL

Pudge, you are hilarious: Remember, there are no mistakes, only unexpected design changes. I will have to post that on my work area wall!

I will keep you posted. In the meantime, let me know if anyone else comes up with a miracle!! *sigh*
User: HeatherL
Member since: 03-13-2004
Total posts: 102
From: LeapFrog Libby
Date: 12-16-2004, 11:12 AM (8 of 15)
I did that once, and I could not fix it because my hand slipped badly and made a jagged cut.. The next time I went shopping , I bought one of those little gadgets that looks like a chisel, to cut buttonholes open with.. It was very inexpensive when you count what it cost me when I did not have it..A beautiful linen blend shirtwaist dress I had made my neice for her birthday with buttons all the way down the front. (ruined) :shock: :cry:
Sew With Love
User: LeapFrog Libby
Member since: 05-01-2002
Total posts: 2022
From: paroper
Date: 12-16-2004, 12:49 PM (9 of 15)
Another could cut out a section of the shirt near the button line and add a wrap around facing making a placket down the front....many shirts have these. Interface half of the strip, sew it right side to wrong side on the back. Press the raw edge under 5/8 and fold the fabric, sewing down the folded edge on the top side of your shirt. Then sew your new button holes in the placket and no one would ever know...ever. I'd make it about 1 3/4 inches wide, double that and add your seam allowances and that is how wide your fabric would need to be to do this alteration. Hopefully, your can just take your collar loose on that side sew it and whip it back down on the wrong side. If you have a button hole already in the collar, you can just take it loose at carefully stop stitch it into place. Many purchased shirts have a placket only on the button hole side so it would not look strange if you didn't do it on both sides.

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: DorothyL
Date: 12-17-2004, 06:56 AM (10 of 15)
And next time listen to Aunty Jan!! Pin at the inside edge of the bar tack saves it every time. I use my stork embroidery scissors and still, habitually, stick that pin in there even though it just gets in the way.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: paroper
Date: 12-17-2004, 07:27 AM (11 of 15)
Good habit, Jan! Also, if you use a standard seam ripper, poke the tip of the ripper through the button hole at the other end before you cut. Then, start cutting when you get to the end of the buttonhole you'll come to the "top" of the fabric.

My high school home ec teacher always saw red when she saw a seam ripper because she said that it was the best way to ruin our fabric. We picked out the bad stitching...and there was a lot with pins. After doing that for a while, you don't want to make mistakes very often.

I nearly always use small scissors to cut buttonholes. I fold my fabric carefully to start a small hole in the center, then I open up the hole and clip to each end from the center. If I use the seam ripper (rarely...always afraid of slipping), I poke the tip through the end (as above).

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: mommgsews
Date: 12-18-2004, 03:45 AM (12 of 15)
I concur with the idea to use a buttonhole cutter. I bought one off ebay for a few dollars 2 years ago and it has saved many projects and untold hours. It is quick and efficient and worth absolutely every penny -- even at a higher price!!!

I've also used it for making holes in fleece to add a fringe (using strips of fleece attached with a larkshead knot) to blankets. My 14 yo dd loves to make them for her friends' birthday and Christmas gifts.
User: mommgsews
Member since: 03-15-2004
Total posts: 73
From: mommydionne
Date: 12-18-2004, 08:15 AM (13 of 15)
I use a button hole cutter too or the pin at the end of the buttonhole, If the satin stitch doesn't work, could you cut a new placket and attach that to the shirt front? Good luck :smile:
User: mommydionne
Member since: 01-08-2004
Total posts: 838
From: DorothyL
Date: 12-18-2004, 09:20 AM (14 of 15)
So let us know what you do to repair it and how it worked.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: Llantrisant
Date: 12-18-2004, 10:42 AM (15 of 15)
I think weve all done that same thing one time or another,I did it on a crushed velvet jacket,I cut a small piece of same fabric, placed it on the back of the bad buttonhole,secured it down with pins,re sewed the buttonhole over it.Then from the back I cut away any fabric close to the buttonhole.Since then i always use the pin method at the bar tacks.
If at first you don't suceed, try-try again!
User: Llantrisant
Member since: 06-02-2002
Total posts: 144
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