lady grey progress…

10.19.10 {making buttons for the lady grey}

pad stitched lapels–they took so long and look so pretty!

Since my first update about this project, I’ve been steadily working on the coat front pieces, trying to get a tiny bit of work in each day. It was a challenge over the weekend, as we were busy for most of it, but I did manage to squeeze in some sewing time and finished all the pad stitching on the lapels–but I’m so far behind right now! The other, secret project I mentioned in passing on Sunday, has been taking up all my free time. So sadly, the Lady Grey jacket is on the back burner this week.

I have been doing a lot of hand sewing on this, which is always gratifying. Basting the hair canvas pieces to the front and side front of the jacket with uneven basting. Taping the roll line with twill tape and securing it with catch stitches (one of my favorite stitches to work–yes, I really do get excited about doing these!). Beginning to pad stitch the lapel with tiny little diagonal stitches to help give the fabric some “memory” as to how it should lay. In retrospect, I think perhaps going with a textured fabric for my first tailoring project might not have been a bad idea–the varied surface is far more forgiving. Whereas with my smooth and thin gabardine you see every mistake, which has meant ripping out a few stitches here and there that cheekily decided to show on the right side (rather than just stay nicely hidden between the layers). But, it’s been a lesson both in patience and learning to take shallow “nips” of the fabric as I pad stitch. Thankfully, using a wool material means too that whatever little variations show through, can usually be steamed into submission!

10.05.10 {lady grey progress}

I wanted to also show you a quick tutorial on how I made the buttons for my coat. The technique is inspired by instructions in Claire Schaeffer’s excellent book Couture Sewing Techniques (which I cannot recommend highly enough for anyone interested in fine/couture sewing), where I first encountered it, but have since found another tutorial on Craft Stylish. You can Ms. Schaeffer’s instructions for this button style on Google Books, but I also wanted to include my step-by-step version since I used a covered button for the center and that’s a few extra steps!

10.19.10 {making buttons for the lady grey}

Gather your supplies: fabric scraps (coordinating or contrasting–try two different fabrics too!), a 1″ plastic ring (found in the home dec department of the fabric store), 5/8″ cover-able buttons with shanks, circle template, marking tool, thread to match, scissors, needle, awl.

10.19.10 {making buttons for the lady grey}

Cut out two circles of fabric: 1-2″ and 1-1 1/8″.

10.19.10 {making buttons for the lady grey}

Thread a needle and double the thread; knot. Gather around the outer edge of the smaller circle with running stitches.

10.19.10 {making buttons for the lady grey}

Place covered button form in center and gather the circle to fit. Secure thread and knot. Secure the back cap onto the button form.

10.19.10 {making buttons for the lady grey}

Repeat the gathering along the outer edge with the larger circle. Place ring in center of circle and gather to fit. Secure thread on back and knot. Steam the covered ring to help shrink the fabric and gathers. If you would like, you can do a series of running stitches around the inner edge of the ring to help define the raised edge, using a single thread. With this particular button, the covered button that is inserted in the center fits very well into the ring, so this step isn’t necessary. But for other button sizes, or a more defined edge, I recommend doing this.

10.19.10 {making buttons for the lady grey}

Using the awl, gently work a hold in the center of the covered ring, being careful just to push the threads aside, not break them.

10.19.10 {making buttons for the lady grey}

Insert the shank of the covered button through the hole on the ring, front to back. Using doubled thread secure the shank by sewing back and forth through it, securing in the back gathers of the covered ring.

10.19.10 {making buttons for the lady grey}

Because the shank on the covered button forms I used was so short, it doesn’t show through to the back easily, which means I can’t use that shank to sew the button to my coat (though if the shank on your button is longer, you can skip this). So I added another circle of fabric to the back to cover up all the construction stitches and plan on adding a thread shank to the back when I sew it on.

I’d also recommend taking a look at this article on the Threads Magazine website on embellishing buttons. So even if you haven’t found the perfect buttons yet for your jacket (or any other project), there are plenty of alternative methods to creating some yourself!

If you’re making the Lady Grey jacket (or another sewing project that involves buttons!), what sort of buttons have you chosen?

October 19, 2010 · 20 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing,tutorials · tags: , ,

Moeno October 19, 2010 at 07:38

I love your self covered button. I’ve have some vintage ones I’m thinking of using but might opt for these in the end since they seem so pretty :)

Victoria / Justice Pirate October 19, 2010 at 08:20

My goodness. I didn’t realize there was so much work being done to make such things at all. That looks hard. Again I congratulate your great talent.

Marmielu October 19, 2010 at 08:56

How exciting!

Marjorie October 19, 2010 at 09:34

Lovely details here Casey!! I always find making covered buttons to be very satisfying…..if not maddening and finger-ache-inducing at the same time! ; ) And all those pretty little stitches!! You have been a busy little sewing bee!! : )

Lauren October 19, 2010 at 11:08

Beautiful padstitching! Oh my gosh, you’re so adventurous using gabardine! I can’t even imagine :o
It’s so funny about the buttons… I was just thinking yesterday that I want to do buttons EXACTLY like what you posted on a 50s coat someday. I was thumbing through that book over the weekend and got the idea. Great minds! :)

the fabled needle (jen) October 19, 2010 at 12:37

wow, pad stitching? you’re making the real deal! (i use to work on the men’s team at the l.a. opera costume shop so i know about pad stitching!) i’m super impressed, i’m sure the coat will be exquisite. :)

i love the buttons too, i never knew about this technique.

i have this later ’60s pattern for a coat and the most beautiful houndstooth fabric for it. perhaps when i get around to making it (ahem) i’ll use something besides regular plastic buttons.

have a lovely day!

Audrey October 19, 2010 at 13:31

These buttons are exquisite and I love the vibrant fabric colour. I can’t wait to see your finished coat.

Eileen October 19, 2010 at 17:23

Thanks for the tutorial Casey! You’re so clever :)

nicole October 19, 2010 at 17:30

Lady Grey looking good. Thanks for this tutorial, a little bit of extra work but the end result is so much nicer than plastic buttons :-)

Angela October 19, 2010 at 19:02

My lady grey coat is slowing going as well. Hehe… Great button tutorial!! Thanks for sharing!

Kerri @ Old Lady Chic October 19, 2010 at 19:46

I can’t wait to see the finished piece! Even those tiny buttons look very fancy.

Gertie October 19, 2010 at 21:07

Love the button tutorial, Casey! Thanks so much for doing this. I can’t wait to try it out on my next tailoring project!

Rachel Red Lips October 19, 2010 at 22:24

The mere mention of that 1930s fashion illustration book has me inspired! Which book do you have? I’d love to see if I can get my hands on it…although, it’s harder for me to learn by reading books..silly as it may seem!

I always have loved Art Deco fashion illustrations and really want to incorporate some of work by George Lepape and Paul Iribe into my own future sketches.

I adore your blog, Casey, and always feel so lucky when you comment on mine! Thanks for being awesome, and always putting out such beautiful sewing projects!

Sue October 19, 2010 at 23:21

What a super colour for a coat! Your covered button tutorial is fantastic, thank you and your hand-stitching is so evenly sized and perfect. I can’t wait to see your finished coat.

Pammie and the Ps October 20, 2010 at 01:13

Wonderful tutorial – I’m so impressed with your progress – and I just bought the Couture Sewing book from Amazon – great suggestion!

Abigail Polston October 20, 2010 at 10:25

Thanks so much for posting pictures of this! I also have that book, but it is very inspiring to see the buttons made up, especially in such a cute fabric. I’m working on my final collection for my Fashion program and am looking madly for details, and this really popped out at me. So cute!

Tasia October 21, 2010 at 00:20

Excellent tutorial! What a fun and cute way to do buttons, I love it! And of course I love the colour of your coat, turquoise is my favourite :)

bitterbetty October 21, 2010 at 10:51

That was a fantastic update… Your WIP is so inspirational… I wish I was in on the sew along!

Renee October 22, 2010 at 17:20

Casey you amaze me with your sewing adventures. That button is so pretty.

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