Thread Theory

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Secret Weapon: How to sew perfect buttonholes on to delicate fabrics



I recently sewed an extremely delicate and drapey silk Camas Blouse as a guest blogger contribution to the Britex blog.  It featured a very soft silk jersey knit and I added a contrast panel to the back of the blouse using a floaty grey silk chiffon.  The result was a blouse almost as light as air!  To tell you the truth, it feels a bit disconcerting to wear – almost like I’m wearing nothing!  It was also quite disconcerting to sew – I had to employ some creative thinking and secret weapons to ensure the delicate fabric wasn’t destroyed by my sewing machine.  Apart from experimenting with a variety of needles (I chose a thin and sharp needle) and using fine silk thread (thoughtfully provided by Britex for my project), I also used my favorite trick for sewing buttonholes which I will share with you today:

Let me introduce to you my secret weapon for perfect buttonholes (even on the lightest, stretchiest or unruly of fabrics): Tear-away embroidery stabilizer!


The stabilizer I chose features a very lightly sticky side that adheres to your project just enough to prevent slipping and doesn’t stretch or tear even the most delicate knit when it is removed.untitled-19When I was ready to stitch my buttonholes I cut a strip of tear-away stabilizer slightly wider than the button placket.

I peeled off the backing (the half with blue markings on it) and applied it to the wrong side of the button placket (the inside of the shirt).untitled-23

This is what it looks like from the right side of the shirt:untitled-25

This is what it looks like from the wrong side of the shirt:untitled-26

Then I went ahead and stitched the buttonholes on my machine as per normal.  I placed the stabilizer/wrong side of the shirt against the bed of my sewing machine – this prevents the knit fabric from being sucked down into the bobbin chamber.untitled-27

And look at how beautifully the button hole turned out!untitled-29

From the wrong side you can see that the act of stitching the buttonhole has pretty much torn the stabilizer off of the placket.untitled-30

It takes hardly any effort to rip off the stabilizer from the placket:untitled-33

And voila!  A perfect placket of buttonholes!

I hope you find this to be a useful trick when sewing your next buttonholed Camas Blouse!  It would be useful for all manner of detailed sewing tasks paired with delicate fabrics.  I’d like to try it out when sewing bras, I bet it would really help when top-stitching along the cradle of the Watson Bra!

Have you tried sewing with tear-away stabilizer?  Do you have any tricks and tips to add to this tutorial?

14 thoughts on “Secret Weapon: How to sew perfect buttonholes on to delicate fabrics

  1. I’ve used freezer paper for the stabilizer. Great article

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  4. Fabulous!! I had no idea there is a product specifically for this, I normally use baking paper but I think its a bit thicker than this product and sometimes I have to use tweezers to pull out left over bits of paper. Will be searching this out. Just purchased the camas blouse pattern and can’t wait to try it out.

  5. Hello !
    i am found of your trousers but I can’t find it in your shop……….what’s about it ? is it in your next future plan ? please, please, I love it so much……………

    • Hi Bea, Yes, that’s our next pattern! Stay tuned as we will be releasing them quite soon! They will be called the ‘Lazo Trousers’. I’m glad you like them so much! – Morgan

  6. Great tip, Morgan – I must try that! x

  7. I’m definitely going to refer back to this later on. I typically loath sewing buttonholes on knits, but this could really help the situation along nicely. Thank you so much for posting this tutorial!

  8. Brilliant tip, I’ve none to offer as I avoid anything delicate that needs buttons! Will practice this on some scraps though and hopefully be braver in the future. ✂️😀✂️

  9. Wow. That was a nice little trick. I’ll try to remember that.
    I’m planning a Camas blouse in a slippery viscose cupro knit. It will probably take all my skills to finish nicely.

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