Thursday, May 15, 2014

I Love Buttons but They Scare Me

For four years I’ve sewn without sewing a button. Part of the reason is that most of the patterns I have don’t require buttons, but instead use zippers and eyes and hooks for closures. Outside of a button-down shirt or coat (neither of which I’ve tried sewing), buttons don’t seem to be very popular closures in many patterns. A practical reason is that sewing a zipper is probably the quickest type of closure to sew, and a zipper is likely cheaper than a row of buttons, so it makes sense that they’re the go-to closure for many patterns.

However, I love buttons. They’re wonderful design elements that can instantly add style to a garment. And I can’t seem to help but collect buttons because they’re pretty. In fact, I have a box of brand-new buttons that I bought in the hopes of using but never did. I also have a jar (filled to the brim) of mostly plastic buttons that I bought from a thrift shop years ago. So I don’t lack buttons. [Pause.] But I lacked the knowledge to use them.

Up until last weekend I’d avoided sewing buttons. They scared me. I kept having flashbacks of when I first learned to put a zipper in, and how it took me forever to do it; (I think it took me half a day…or at least it felt that way). I remembered the frustration and the cursing and I thought it must be just as hard to put in a button (and I didn’t want to go through that aggravation again). I was intimidated.

But I decided to suck it up and try. It was a sewing skill I wanted to learn and I was ready to spend the day learning if it killed me. I braced myself for pain and suffering…only it didn’t come. I followed my sewing machine’s manual of how to create buttonholes and was pleasantly surprised of how easy it was. My sewing machine has a buttonhole foot that does practically everything. I have to do very little; just measure my button size and mark my material, make sure everything is set up on my sewing machine correctly, and then put my foot to pedal and let the machine sew. It’s automatic and awesome.

Now that I know how to make a buttonhole, I want to make lots of buttonholes. Learning one simple technique instantly broadened the range of patterns I’m willing to try and increased my excitement about buttons. I’m even more in love with buttons, now that I can actually use them.

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