I knew the buttons and buttonholes needed more work. First I fixed the buttons: stitched the larger button using small beads to elevate the button and form a shank, placed a 4mm knitting needle under the second button underneath while I was sewing the pair of button to the coat. I was able to end up with thread button shanks, and the second button was lifted enough that I could get my needle beneath and wind off the threads to form the shank! The buttonholes well that was another story.
First here is the finished coat (with the elevated buttons and bound buttonholes completed) from the front:
And from the back – fits pretty well.
Now for the double-sided bound buttonholes.
I did a bunch of trials to see if I could find a way to end up with a bound buttonhole finished on both sides with a single piece of fabric. Turns out it can be done. Here’s how.
For the coat I cut 3 1/4″ X 2 1/2″ pieces of fabric (I used the contrast fabric from the reverse side, because that’s where the finishing would end up and I thought the binding should match the rest of the contrast elements).
I used a Frixion erasable pen to mark horizontal and vertical center lines, then marked the stitch lines for the buttonhole. Used chalk to mark the distance from the front edge of the coat then placed the piece of fabric so one end of the buttonhole would align with that chalk line.
Using a 1.25 mm stitch length I carefully stitched around the buttonhole, starting part way along one of the long sides.
Finished stitching the buttonhole overlapping the beginning by a few stitches.
I cut the center opening and snipped as close as I could get to the corners without actually cutting the thread (remember I have a stitched buttonhole beneath and this binding had to completely cover it – it did).
Pulled the fabric through the hole, finger pressed the ends with the small triangles, folded the top and bottom portions of the buttonhole fabric so the folds meet in the center, pinned the fabric so I could tack the ends of the fold closed, removed pins and pressed.
Stitched across the ends so they would stay in position.
Folded under the top and bottom portions of the fabric, pressed. Then folded in the ends and pressed.
Carefully edge stitched (using a 2 mm stitch length) all the way around the folded buttonhole fabric to secure it in position – I used a matching thread for the top and a dark thread to match the main fabric in my bobbin so the stitching on the front side of the coat shows but blends in. This is how it turned out on the reverse of the coat.
Here is one of the button holes on the front of the coat. You can see I didn’t have a lot of play room between the buttonhole and the front binding – I was able to just align the buttonhole so the stitching didn’t overlap the binding.
Here are the buttons done up.
The whole looks a lot more finished than it did with machine stitched buttonholes. In fact, having the stitched buttonhole beneath stabilized the fabric so I don’t have to worry about anything pulling away!
So there you have it – bound buttonholes finished on two sides using a single piece of fabric.
The Craftsy Blog gives good instructions for constructing a bound buttonhole, but the expectation is that the underside will be finished by cutting the facing fabric and blind stitching it to the back of the bound buttonhole. In my situation with the quilted reversible coat I had no facing so I had to figure out another way of finishing the buttonhole on the reverse. Same basic procedure but I finished the buttonhole on the second side by carefully folding the edges and ends and edge stitching the fabric in place.