Welcome to another "Friday Feet!" Friday Feet is when I share a technique such as how to use a certain presser foot. Read more about it here.
I think I know what my problem is. I start too many projects and then feel overwhelmed with what I should do next and then I don't do anything, the supplies from each project pile up and the creativity is squished like a cockroach. I guess that's why I took Pearl to one of my least favorite clothing retailers as we got desperate trying to find some shorts that fit both our criteria. She wanted comfort (ie elastic waistband) and I wanted length and design. We found something that was okay, but then I remembered some shorts I started for her a couple of weeks ago and said to myself (because, as I pointed out to Ryan, I only started talking to myself when I had more than 3 kids) this is silly! This is what I do! The advantage of sewing your kids' clothes is that you can tailor it to their bodies. The disadvantage of buying or sewing is that all your kids might not have the same body type. ENTER: buttonhole elastic!There are several advantages of buttonhole elastic. Obviously there is the fit factor. If it fits in the length you can always adjust the waist. Secondly, I like the fact that I can easily gather something in just the back of the garment. For shorts, especially, I really dislike having the elastic go all the way around the waist. It messes with design and a more tailored look. And thirdly, I like that I don't have to commit. When it gets passed down to the next child, I don't have to pull out the safety pins and create unsightly, temporary pleats.
When I went to get some buttonhole elastic, I found that they no longer carry in the store. I even had the employee come over and study the elastic display and then I sighed a big sigh, wondering why my shorts-making momentum was being thwarted. You can order it online, she said. While I do find an enormous amount of cool resources online, I don't appreciate paying shipping costs for something that ought to be in the store. So, dear readers, what do we do? Necessity is the mother of invention, n'est-ce pas?
I experimented with what I had. I have an unreasonable, though slightly founded fear of running out of elastic, so I have a stash of elastic. All sizes, many types and a few colors. The first kind I tried is the most accessibly found: knit. At first I thought I was going to have to sew a bunch of buttonholes along the elastic, but after cutting a little slit, I pulled it in all directions and there was no hint of fraying or distortion. And I thought, probably like many of you, well that was ridiculously easy, dare I say stupidly simple?! That's it! I folded the edge under and did a quick zig zag stitch.
Just a few of tips:
✂ keep the slit straight, along just one crevice
✂ make it smaller than you would a normal buttonhole since it stretches (duh)
✂ I would make them a bit closer than what I show in the photo for that perfect amount of cinching option.
My curiosity got the best of me and I tried it on the "no roll" elastic. Results: A big, fat fail. A picture is worth a thousand words. Stick to the regular knit.
Decide where you want your cinching party to take place, fuse some interfacing where the buttonhole and the button will go, sew your buttonhole closest to the center of the back and a flat (no shank) button on the outer portion.Thread the elastic through and even out the distribution of the fabric. Sew a straight line down the center to keep the elastic in place. An option is to also sew the elastic sticking out down on the opposite side of the button so it doesn't accidentally get pulled into the casing.
The pattern I used was from this Japanese pattern book:
*update: I apologize, I had the wrong book up earlier, but this is the one with the shorts pattern.
I love these secret, undercover pockets,
but I'm rethinking my button choice. They look a little too purple.
What do you think?
I loved hearing from you about the last "Friday Feet" and how so many of you cleaned out your bobbin area and oiled the hook mechanism to reveal a more smoothly running machine! Hooray for a happy sewing machine!