Saturday, April 05, 2014

The Big Shirt

About a year ago, Kathie saw a Northcott Fabric Rep wearing a “Big Shirt” and immediately fell in love.  She bought the book and the fabric for one of her own, but there was one problem – although she is an experienced quilter, she doesn’t sew clothes!  Since I have made a few Hawaiian shirts and this looks like a Hawaiian shirt in cotton, I volunteered to do the sewing.  It's basically an oversized man's shirt with buttons on the opposite side.

  But this vintage sewing machine blog isn't about shirt-making. It also isn't about the Singer 603 I used to sew the shirt 

or the rescued-from-a-storage-shed Babylock serger that I used to finish the seams;

 It is about the buttonholes 

and the Singer buttonholer that accomplished that task.

There are several types of Singer buttonholers, some for straight stitch machines, some for vertical needle zig zag machines, and some for slant needle zig zag machines.  Since the 603 is a slant needle machine, the slant needle buttonholer was the logical choice. 

  I prefer the buttonholers for zig zag machines because the machine zig zag stitch does the work of forming the satin stitch around the buttonhole while the buttonholer only has to move the fabric in the shape of the desired buttonhole.  

Buttonholers for straight stitch machines move the fabric left and right to form the satin stitch and move the fabric in the shape of the desired buttonhole. I have never made buttonholes of the same quality using a straight stitch buttonholer.  At last count, I had about 17 straight stitch buttonholers but when I want a buttonhole, I use a zig zag buttonholer.

One thing to remember when using a buttonholer – ALWAYS START WITH A FULL BOBBIN!  2/3 of the way through my first buttonhole on this shirt, the bobbin ran out and I had to rip out 2/3 of a buttonhole and start over.  On most machines, that would be a problem but on a Touch & Sew with wind-in-place bobbin, it’s twice the trouble.

Anyway, here’s the finished product. 

Now that I have one under my belt, I might make another for myself (but with matching fabric).


Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Cute shirt. I don't sew clothes, either. I have several button holers, but, I haven't tried any of them yet. I even have button holers for machines that I don't own (yet).

Ann from KY said...

You did a very nice job with this! I think that is the same sewing machine my Aunt Irene has. She bought it new in the 60's and just loves it. She put a crazy amount of sewing miles on it. She told me they sewed on a yardstick to demonstrate it when she bought it. She is an awesome seamstress and you can't believe how nice she can sew!

Jonathan said...

My experience with bottonholers is limited. I've set them up to see how they work but sadly, I haven't made any shirts yet. But given that they work off a cam, couldn't you fill a bobbin and finish where you left off?

Ed Lamoureux said...

By the time you realize the bobbin is empty, you have sewn a dozen stitches past the end and you have a loose thread back where the bobbin ran out. If you back up and sew over the end of stitches to anchor them, you now have a space of double stitching that would show. Best to rip the whole thing out and start over with one continuous thread. -Ed

Melissa Ruddy said...
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