Bound Buttonholes


Remember how I was going to make that cute Advance shirt dress next?  Well, I changed my mind.

My husband picked up the mail a couple days ago, and much to my delight I had about six or seven little padded envelopes fully of vintage pattern goodness waiting for me!  Inside of such envelope was this beauty:

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I’ve had some cute lightweight denim with a teeny-tiny bit of stretch in it that I’ve been wanting to put to use.  I found it at this small fabric shop in the town we lived in last year.  When I say small, I mean like the size of a large walk-in closet.  There was barely enough room for me to park my stroller inside the door.  All of the fabric was 3,000 won a yard, which is a little less than $3.00.  They didn’t have a huge selection, but they had some really pretty and surprisingly good quality stuff crammed on the shelves in there!  I bought three yards of this fabric (and a few others), thinking it would make a cute something. 


(Wrong side shown here–pinning a dart.)

Yesterday I cut everything out, and today, after dinner, while my sweet husband played dollhouse with the kids (I love him), I began to stitch ‘er up!

This dress has a really cute band-like collar with buttons down the front to the waistline and a side zip.  I love the sheath version on the envelope (that is what I am making up now), made with a plaid.  If all goes well with the first one and I like the end result, I may make a plaid one myself.


As I mentioned, on the band are three buttons and bound buttonholes.

Bound buttonholes!!!

I love bound buttonholes.  I love the way they look, and I love making them.  This is the stuff that really makes me love garment construction–they nitty-gritty detail work that makes the finished product look beautiful.  It’s a fun sort of challenge for me.  Keeps my fingers deft and my mind working.

Since bound buttonholes are a tad time-consuming, I figured I’d take a bunch of pictures and do a little walk-through with you on how I like to make them.  Perhaps it will be helpful to someone, or perhaps there are other bound buttonhole enthusiasts out there who might enjoy going through the process with me.  Perhaps some of you can give me tips on how to improve my buttonhole binding method!

The pattern instructed me to cut out strips of fabric yea-wide and yea-long and fold them in half to form the inner edges of the buttonholes.  I personally like my buttonholes to have a bit more stability, so I always place a piece of string (or yarn–honestly, for me it is almost always a sturdy yarn from my stash) in the center of the fabric strip and then fold it in half and sew.  This just makes the buttonholes look nicer and hold their shape better.

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So here you see my little buttonhole strips, all pinned and ready to stitch in place!

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Now it would have been smarter for me to just do one long strip and then cut it down into smaller pieces.  That’s what the Vogue Sewing Book recommends, and it makes much more sense.  Here’s what the afore-mentioned bible of sewing wisdom has to say about this particular method of buttonhole binding (for your reading pleasure):


Ok, so once you have stitched the little pieces you will want to trim the seam to about 1/8″.  The whole thing should be about 1/4″ wide at this point.  I forgot to take a picture with the seam trimmed, but here it is before.


You will have drawn on the buttonhole markings from the pattern.  It’s hard to see my chalk marks in the pictures, so I sketched that out for ya on my kids’ easel:


You can add to this a little box-like sketch if you would like a bit more of a guide while you are stitching.  I like to mark mine like this:


With chalk or a fabric pen, of course.  The horizontal lines on the top and bottom are the most important, as they indicate where to stop and start your stitching.  You can make those extra wide so that you can see them after you lay the edging pieces down.  It is very important that the stitching lines on both sides are the same length, otherwise your buttonholes will be lopsided and wonky when you turn them.

From here, you lay the edge pieces on the fabric and pin, one at a time, with the outer seam edge lined up with the middle of the buttonhole.  Stitch down the middle.  Backstitch at the beginning and the end, making sure not to go past the stop and start lines.  Here are mine, stitched in place and almost ready to turn!


Once you have both pieces stitched in place, you need to make an incision in the fabric so that you can turn it.  Below is the line you will need to cut.  Be very careful here, too–you want to cut exactly to the corners (the top and bottom of your stitching lines).  If you cut past them, you will have raw edges that can ravel and tear, and if you come up short, your buttonholes will be bunchy when you turn them.

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Once you’ve made the incision, it’s time to turn that baby!  Ohhh yeah.  Here’s what that process looks like:

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You will need to do something to stabilize the little triangle pieces at the top and bottom of your buttonhole.  Make sure they are turned under and sticking out the back.  I like to press my buttonhole first, to establish a line to sew on.  Then turn the piece around, and fold like this, being careful to keep it straight!


Next, just stitch across.  I like to stitch forward and then back-stitch over it.




Here are my three bound buttonholes.  The middle one turned out the best, but I think they all look purty good!

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(Middle buttonhole, in all her glory.)

The backs of these will be finished when it’s time to stitch the facing in place.

This is as far as I got last night, as I ran out of bobbin thread.  My machine was damaged on the trip over here (GAR!), and I’m currently having to wind bobbins by hand, which is tedious, as you can imagine.  Once my new bobbin is wound, I’ll start work on the next step–stitching the collar band to the bodice front and back!  From here on out, I imagine this will go pretty quickly, as long as I can steal away a few minutes here and there to sew.


(Poor Bernina baby!)

What are your thoughts on bound buttonholes?  Have any tips or pointers to share?  Please do!


P.S.  Really wishing I had one more of these–wouldn’t they be cute on this dress??


A Cozy French Press + Next Project!

Today I took a look at my French press, and it was looking a little chilly.  I might have actually been projecting my own chilliness onto the French press, but nevertheless, I made up my mind that she needed something cozy to keep her warm.

I’ve actually been meaning to make a cozy for my French press for some time now.  Maybe even years.  Somehow I just keep forgetting about it–the thought flashes through my mind each time I make a pot of coffee and disappears by the time I’ve taken the last sip.

I searched online for some ideas, and found several tutorials and free patterns.  My favorite was from Sew4Home. I liked the general design and construction.  However I wanted my cozy to be a little cozier (as in, fit more closely and tightly around my FP), so I decided to use Sew4Home’s basic plan and tweak it a bit.  (Thanks, Sew4Home!)

To begin, I measured my press.  It is 12.5″ in circumference, and 6″ from the top of the handle to the bottom of the press. I wanted my cozy to start right at the top of the handle, fasten underneath it, and stretch to the bottom, so my pieces ended up looking like this:
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In retrospect, I’m not sure what I was thinking exactly, but I should have made the main rectangle about an inch wider.  The finished product turned out great, though, so I’m not going to cry about it.


This (above) is an adorable linen fabric I found in Dongdaemun last year.  I’ve been waiting for the perfect project to use it in, and this was it!  The underside is made from an unbleached medium weight canvas.  I cut a rectangle of cotton batting that was 1/2″ smaller all around than the basic rectangle shape of the pattern.  The batting was 1/2″ smaller all around because I was using a 1/2″ seam allowance, and that would cut back on bulkiness in the seams.


Ok, I’m sorry, I didn’t take construction pictures because I was too excited and I didn’t think about it.  But basically, I stitched the batting to the center of the underside, stitching 1/16″ from the edge of the batting.  Then I placed the outside fabric on top of the underside, right sides together, and stitched, leaving about a 2″ opening in the bottom edge for turning.  Clipped corners, trimmed seams, turned right-side out, and top-stitched around the entire thing, closing up the opening on the bottom.  I had one little blippity-boop fold at the bottom when I was finished–whoops.  Oh well. Add’s character, right?

Next I sewed a 1″ wide piece of velcro to each edge.  Box-stitched it.  Oh yeah.


^ That’s the view from the underside. ^

Here is the *almost* finished product (E said, “Put my coffee cup in the picture, too!”):

I really thought I was finished.  But as I gazed upon this lovely cozy, in my mind I saw the words “Cozy Coffee” embroidered on the front in gold.  Oh the cuteness!  I had to do it.


None of the gold-toned floss I had looked right, and I ended up going with a pretty, light blue-grey instead.


My hands needed to embroider something anyway.  It soothes my soul. <3

Alright, are you ready for finished product, for real this time?  We tested it out this morning with our Paris Baguette breakfast.  Here it goes!


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What do you think?  Have you made a cozy for your French press?  Do you use a French press?  If you don’t you should try it sometime–it’s one of my favorite methods of brewing coffee.  Mmmmm.

My next project is in muslin-phase right now!  I’ll be posting about it soon, so stay tuned!




For You

Hey, you.

We miss you.


We miss you really much.



Everyone is getting bigger.


Some of us are starting to say new words, like “Wi-boo” (River) and “Batman.”


We miss snuggling with you.


We’ve been discovering some new things.  Like nail clippers.



Some of us are even taking a stab at modeling.



Oh, and one of us finally joined the Saucony club!


The two smallest of us cause the biggest one to have this look on her face a lot more than usual without you here to save the day.


We might have gotten you a few presents…


And one of us is becoming quite the photographer.

We cannot wait to see you.  We think about you every day, and can’t wait for you to call.

We love you.


B, E & R

A Simple Skirt For Me


Lately I have had my hands full.

Full with two little ones, full with housework to do and meals to make, full with orders for my toy business.  Full with our fun new adventure overseas.  My hands have been full in a joyful, fun, exciting, sometimes crazy, and a little bit stressful sort of way, so it was very nice to have a few moments this afternoon to whip up a simple gathered skirt for myself.

DSC07031 Our local fabric store had a huge sale this past week.  Two yard cuts of fabric for $5!  Can you imagine?  Of course I went hog-wild.  How could I let such a sale get past me without snagging at least 18 yards of fabric?  Amongst the many lovely fabrics I choose was a beautiful brown, western-ish, old-fashioned stripe that instantly made me think “gathered skirt!”

DSC07072 This was a very simple, easy skirt to make.  I constructed it similarly to this DIY at Extra Petite.  Elastic waistband because, let’s just be honest, they are so much more comfortable (and easy–I needed something that I could whip up while kids were entertained).



Because my time is minimal, I used simple techniques like pinking the seams and machine stitching the hem (I used a long zig-zag stitch).  The end result?  It is love!!!



And of course you ALWAYS have to have a fun pocket lining!


Next in line is this number, in this beautiful cotton (that I purchased 4 yards of for $10 the other day…just had to rub it in!):


Anyeonghasayo from Korea!


Trash Piles


There are a lot of things that I like about Korea.  

Mugs like this


Cute notebooks


Awesome apartment complexes


Things like this


And much more.

But I think one of my favorite things about Korea are the trash piles and the awesome stuff you can find in them.


Now don’t take this the wrong way–I don’t actually like trash, or the way humoungous piles of trash everywhere looks and smells.  Nor do I particularly like the way they do the trash thing here–there are no public trash cans anywhere to be found, so people do things like this:


Which makes things look dirty after awhile.

They try to fool you with these big trash-can-looking things:


Don’t be fooled, American.  These are clothing donation bins.  They are everywhere.  Do not put your trash inside.

In Korea they do not have thrift stores really, so when people are done with items they just put them out in the trash pile.  It is amazing what people will throw away.  Here’s what I found this morning in the pile near our apartment:



I mean, who doesn’t love Rabbit?!  Man, if I only had a place to hang this thing.

Anyway, this post is dedicated to the awesome trash pile finds that we have accrued thus far.  Prepare yourself for the awesomeness.



1. Clock

This was my first trash pile score.  It was something that we needed, but I hadn’t bought yet because I didn’t want to spend the money on a good clock just yet.  I couldn’t believe it when I saw this guy stuck in the pile close to our apartment!  It was a little dirty and did not have batteries, but with some light cleaning and new juice it works and looks great!  I love it!  



2. Little Shelf

I love this shelf.  It’s all shabby chic looking and cute.  I have to figure out how to mount it on a cement wall (because all walls are made of cement here), but as soon as I do it is going up in our teeny tiny laundry room to hold laundry stuffs!



3. Cool Wooden Crate

I. Love. This. Crate.  I didn’t know what I was going to use it for, but I had to take it anyway.  Turns out it works perfectly on our kitchen table!  I put napkins, chop sticks and a water pitcher in there.  Looks so cool!



4. Slightly Bigger Shelf

This shelf was pretty rickety when I found it, but just needed a good cleaning and screw tightening.  It is the perfect shape and size to fit outside our bathroom door and hold towels!



5. Picture Frames

These picture frames are really nice!  Heavy-duty and high quality.  They housed some rather…erm…interesting art.  (Think metallic naked women.  Classy!)  I’m not sure what I am going to put in these yet.  Maybe some photos of the family back home?



6. Toy Kitchen

This might be the best trash pile find yet.  Davis found this one.  It is an adorable little kitchen set!  This thing is nearly perfect, and came with pans, dishes, utensils, play food.  The faucet actually squirts out water.  I would have loved this thing as a kid!  Evvie was spellbound when we showed it to her.  She has been cooking bacon and serving it to us all morning. ;)



7. Plastic Tray

I’ve been wanting to get a tray of some sort to put on top of our ottoman.  These looked a bit gross in the pile, but just had some dusty stuff on them.  After being cleaned up, it looks fantastic!  I’m most likely going to decorate it–maybe something like this.


Are you jealous?  Grossed out?  Intrigued?  Glad you can just go to thrift stores and estate sales instead of having to rummage through trash piles?  THAT is something we thrifters take for granted in the US for sure!


All in all we are really enjoying Korea so far.  We live in a lovely little city.  It’s definitely a lot to get used to for a country girl, but I think it is going to be a fun adventure!

What is your favorite thrift store, yard sale, estate sale, trash pile find?  Tell me about it!




Korea Projects



Hello Blogsphere!

We have successfully relocated and are getting to know our new surroundings.  One of the first places I had to locate was a good fabric store, and locate one I did!

This store is a-MAZ-ing.  Gorgeous cottons, loads of notions, pillow inserts, stuffing, batting, anything and everything you need.  Most of the fabric was $4 a yard.  Yes, you read that right.  FOUR. DOLLARS. A. YARD.

(Or I guess I should say FOUR. THOUSAND. WON. A. YARD.)

So of course I went overboard and bought like a gazillion yards of fabric.  (Not really, but I did buy a LOT.)

My first project was to make some pillows for our sterile beige vinyl couch.


As you can see, this poor couch needed some coziness.  Badly.  So I took some of the beautiful floral cotton that I bought and made some big pillows with pin tucks that I just love.  I also made a couple smaller pillows using a vintage sheet that I brought with me to make stuffies.  Used the sheet for the MC and the floral fabric for details.  I love how they turned out.


My next project, which happened this afternoon, was to re-cover the raggedy pad for the changing table that we were given.  It’s a really cute little table, but the changing pad cover had torn and it was just kinda yucky.


So I bought some really adorable oilcloth and set to work!


Here are some pics of the process, in case you are interested (I know you are).


DSC04174 (Pinning the corners to fit)

DSC04178 (A sewn corner)

DSC04176 (It fits!!!)

DSC04179 (Stuffing the foam pad into the new lining)


I just love how it turned out!  And I feel much better about changing my babies booties on this nice, clean and adorable changing pad!

Well, that is all for now folks.

Wait, one more thing…




1960’s Scalloped Girl’s Jacket


This is a project I’ve been working on for a loooong time.  I could have easily finished it a while ago, but I ran out of red thread for the second buttonhole and just never got back to it.  Funny how something so small and easy to remedy can bring a project to a halt like that.

Anywho, I made this jacket for the daughter of a friend of mine.  This little girl is so darn cute, and I had this urge to make her something adorable to wear.  I’d been wanting to try out this particular jacket pattern for awhile, and just happened to have it in the right size.


The fabric (outer, inner yoke and lining) is all vintage fabric that I have found here and there on my thrifting adventures.  The buttons are also vintage, and you will notice that they do not match exactly.  I think they look cute though!


For some reason I had a difficult time with the first buttonhole (on the left), but the second one I made turned out beautifully.  Go figure.  With buttonholes it seems like there is always at least one that turns out funky no matter how careful you are.  Anyone else have that problem? ;)


Perhaps I can persuade the new owner of this little jacket to send us a lovely photo of her wearing it!


As you have noticed, I have not been posting very much at all lately.  We have been super busy around here getting ready to move.  Thankfully we have already sold our house (yay!) (that was quick!)–that was the biggest concern we had, as we are moving out of the states for a couple years and didn’t want to still have a mortgage over here.  God has blessed us with a smooth path so far!  We move at the end of July.  It’s crazy, super crazy.  But we are so excited!

So I will most likely put all blogging on hold until we are set up in our new living quarters.  We are moving to a country that is very big into sewing and has a ton of great resources, so that should be fun! 

The kiddos are getting so big.  River is already 6 weeks old.  That went by WAY too fast.


Lil’ Chunker.


And my lil’ helper. ;)

Well, I’d better start folding laundry before lil’ chunker wakes up and wants more food.

Until next time,