Author Topic: Off the usual path: Sewing on a button  (Read 3823 times)

DCK

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Off the usual path: Sewing on a button
« on: October 21, 2007, 04:49:19 PM »
Hello all.

Every time I sew on a button I find it a bit of a challenge to finish off the sewing.  When available, I use a surgeon's clamp, called a mosquito clamp, to form a reef knot.  This works well, is quick, a can be done with short leads.  I know it as a "surgeon's instrument tie" although it may have other names, too.  Unfortunately, the clamp never seems to be with me when I need to put on a button (on vacation, in a hotel room, etc.).

When I don't have any tool other than the needle and thread is where I run into no-man's land.  I have seen several different ways described for locking up the free end of the sewing.  This includes using no knot at all, just letting friction do the job, which is unsatisfying, and several "knots" that I can't quite make out from the description and photos but look like several wraps around the standing part and pulling the whole mess up snug.

Has anyone got a quick, easy way for a fat-fingered seamster (me) to lock up the stitches without using tools?  I would prefer a technique that does not require a long bit of thread remaining on the needle as my little travel sewing kit has the needles pre-loaded with not-very-long bits of thread.

Thanks.


squarerigger

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Re: Off the usual path: Sewing on a button
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2007, 06:25:31 AM »
Hi DCK

Here is what I have tried successfully in the past, and it works still today:

Sew the button to the fabric going up & down through the holes in the button as usual.  Bring the last stitch up through the fabric, beneath the button, but not through the button, so that the thread exits at the side of the little "column" of thread between the button and the fabric.  Take two or three turns completely around this "column" of threads, bringing the thread quite tight each time.  Now, either form a couple of half hitches over the top of the button, bringing them down to hitch around the "column" or stab the needle and thread completely through the "column" horizontally between the fabric and the button a couple of times - no other knot needed.  Both methods work and help to keep the button a little bit up in the air off the fabric making it easier to attach the button through the buttonhole when the time comes.  Mine have been through the laundry repaired like this many, many times and the buttons have never fallen off.  Let us hear about what your solution is! ;D

SR

tedlex

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Re: Off the usual path: Sewing on a button
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2007, 02:25:12 PM »
As a former drycleaner of some 35 years, the half-hitch method mentioned by SquareRigger is more than adequate.  I used this method to reattach thousands of buttons.  you could also use a modified surgeons knot (no tools required) by wrapping the needle a couple of times before passing the loop over the button.
Ted

DCK

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Re: Off the usual path: Sewing on a button
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2007, 04:46:49 PM »
Thanks to both of you.  I will try the half-hitch technique tonight.

          Don

roo

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Re: Off the usual path: Sewing on a button
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2007, 10:00:05 PM »
Hello all.

Every time I sew on a button I find it a bit of a challenge to finish off the sewing.  When available, I use a surgeon's clamp, called a mosquito clamp, to form a reef knot.  This works well, is quick, a can be done with short leads.  I know it as a "surgeon's instrument tie" although it may have other names, too.  Unfortunately, the clamp never seems to be with me when I need to put on a button (on vacation, in a hotel room, etc.).

When I don't have any tool other than the needle and thread is where I run into no-man's land.  I have seen several different ways described for locking up the free end of the sewing.  This includes using no knot at all, just letting friction do the job, which is unsatisfying, and several "knots" that I can't quite make out from the description and photos but look like several wraps around the standing part and pulling the whole mess up snug.

Has anyone got a quick, easy way for a fat-fingered seamster (me) to lock up the stitches without using tools?  I would prefer a technique that does not require a long bit of thread remaining on the needle as my little travel sewing kit has the needles pre-loaded with not-very-long bits of thread.

Thanks.



While this may not fulfill your last requirement perfectly, you can use the tip of your needle as an extension of your finger to hold an overhand knot against the underside of the fabric as you pull it tight. 

I notice that a shirt I have with well-attached buttons uses an overhand knot in doubled-up thread, as I've described, but they don't look hand-stitched.  I just wish I knew what technique manufacturers used in cases where buttons have started coming loose within weeks of purchase.
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tedlex

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Re: Off the usual path: Sewing on a button
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2007, 01:04:14 PM »


[/quote]

I just wish I knew what technique manufacturers used in cases where buttons have started coming loose within weeks of purchase.
[/quote]

Manufacturers use a stitiching machine designed for this task.  Like a sewing machine, it does not actually tie a knot.

Ted

DCK

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Re: Off the usual path: Sewing on a button
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2007, 02:20:37 PM »
Well, the half-hitches over the button technique worked well (at least my pants are still up) and was easy to tie. 

I will try the trick with the needle tip to position an overhand knot.  I couldn't figure out how to get the knot down agains the cloth surface and so abandoned that one. 

One thought I can contribute:  I will try (next button crisis) to finish it off with a constrictor knot over the button and around the column of threads.  I can see that this may be much more difficult to manipulate than the half-hitches and it may be harder to draw it up so there's no extra thread hanging out. 

            Don

roo

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Re: Off the usual path: Sewing on a button
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2007, 03:26:11 PM »

I will try the trick with the needle tip to position an overhand knot.  I couldn't figure out how to get the knot down agains the cloth surface and so abandoned that one. 


While the overhand knot is still fairly loose, you insert the needle into the large opening of the knot.  The knot is easiest to move with the needle while the knot is still loose.  Once you draw the knot tight, pull the needle out of the knot.
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Mrs Glenys Chew

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Re: Off the usual path: Sewing on a button
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2007, 11:17:10 PM »
Dear All,

My personal preference for finishing any kind of sewing, is to do a couple of extra stitches on top of each other, then hold the needle extended as far our through the material as I can comfortably hold it from the other side.  Wrap three loops of cotton round the needle tightly, and flype them down the cotton until they bed securely at the base of the stitching.  If the cotton is prone to tangling, insert the tip of the needle into the flyping and tease it out into a long wrapped loop again, then use the needle to pull it down, until you can draw it tight or use a fingernail to push the flype over.

It wasn't until I joined the IGKT that I learned that I'd been flyping cotton thread most of my life.  :)

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Glenys Chew
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