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Buttonholes

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by alchimiste, May 8, 2005.

  1. alchimiste

    alchimiste Senior member

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    Could somebody explain how to recognize a nice buttonhole? How do you tell handsewn from machine? Pictures of bad and good jobs appreciated.

    Mathieu
     
  2. zjpj83

    zjpj83 Senior member

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    The stitching on the underside of a handsewn buttonhole is not all symmetrical and uniform.
     
  3. Manton

    Manton Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    All buttonholes consist of a series of individual stitches that are perpendicular to the edge of the hole and that run in parallel rows all the way around the hole. Â On a handmade buttonhole, those individual stitches will be thicker than on a machine made buttonhole, raised up a little higher, less regular, and there will be no space between them. Â This is a decent handmade buttonhole: [​IMG] Though I have seen better. Â The better the work, the narrower and tighter the individual stitches. Â It takes small fingers to do it really well, which is why the very best butthonhole makers tend to be women. Also, on a handmade buttonhole, the underside tends to be unfinished, and rough-looking, like this: [​IMG] On machine-made buttonholes, those stitches are straighter and more regular. Â Also, they are close together only at the edge of the hole; they get narrower away from the hole before going into the coat's cloth, showing a noticable gap. Â Also, the stitches will not be raised up as high from the cloth. Â Finally, the hole will look more or less uniform on both sides. I did not find a decent picture of a machine-made buttonhole, probably because no ebay seller posts them. Â They are, after all, not much of a selling point.
     
  4. armscye

    armscye Senior member

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    Buttonholes are in fact one of the signatures of custom tailors, and reflect a great deal of individuality.

    Savile Row seems to specialize in big, heavily reinforced buttonholes with a distinct lip, while Kiton's are small, insubstantial, and appear unreinforced. Oxxford's lapel buttonholes are rather coarsely stitched, a full-inch long, and quite irregular on the rear face.

    One of my past tailors used heavy silk twist, with well-spaced stitches, and achieved an overall rectangular effect. My current tailor Fernando punches a keyhole in all buttonholes except the lapel, but creates a boat-shaped lapel buttonhole with square end-bows. Many custom tailors produce (or accept) somewhat sloppy buttonholes as proof of the "artisan" nature of their work.

    I would be reluctant to accept the idea that there is any single "right" way to create bespoke buttonholes. they are another element of style.
     
  5. Manton

    Manton Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    All buttonholes use a "gimp" thread that serves as a sort of foundation around which the silk buttonhole twist thread is sewn.  The gimp properties can vary in width (which affects how raised up the buttonhole is) and strength (which affects how stiff it is).
     
  6. The_Foxx

    The_Foxx Senior member

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    aha, discussion about buttonholes, huh? here are some interesting pix of those that do it well; my pet peeve is a buttonhole on the lapel that is shaped just like the buttonholes used to close the jacket-- some call this the "keyhole" shaped buttonhole, i think. Seems to be best as a straight-across affair. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws....48&rd=1 http://cgi.ebay.com/ws....25&rd=1
     
  7. Manton

    Manton Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    This: [​IMG] is a darn good handmade lapel buttonhole.
     
  8. montecristo#4

    montecristo#4 Senior member

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    That is a nice one. Here are a couple from a Beaman suit in progress: [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] Here's an inside view of some Ayala buttonholes: [​IMG]
     
  9. zjpj83

    zjpj83 Senior member

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    Two functioning, two non-? I know this is somewhat part of SV tradition but looks ridiculous IMO.
     
  10. Roy

    Roy Senior member

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    These are hand sewn buttonhole on some of my shirts. I had them on my server anyway, i'll see if can make a pic of the buttonhole without the button [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  11. montecristo#4

    montecristo#4 Senior member

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    (montecristo#4 @ May 08 2005,15:06) [​IMG]
    Two functioning, two non-? I know this is somewhat part of SV tradition but looks ridiculous IMO.
    I tend to agree.... In any case this is one of the changes being made after my second fitting. My own fault for not being more specific in the first place.
     
  12. zjpj83

    zjpj83 Senior member

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    cool - didn't mean offense, didn't even know it was your suit, sorry about that. I just think it looks a tad incomplete, like a corner was cut.
    best to you
     
  13. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Senior member

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    It actually doesn't look odd per se. What looks odd on that particular sleeve is that the buttonholes were stitched in different manners.
     
  14. zjpj83

    zjpj83 Senior member

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    Yes, that is true. I have a Dunhill with only bottom two functioning, but the top two are stitched identically so at least it doesn't look off.
     
  15. jamesbond

    jamesbond Senior member

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    lovely, if you dont mind my asking, who makes your shirts?
     
  16. Horace

    Horace Senior member

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    Is there such a thing as a dedicated machine to sew buttonholes on coats? Obviously there's some sort of automation process for all those RTW shirts that are made. But is there something that has a jig or guide pattern that can be specifically set to sew buttonholes for coats? If so, does this dedicated machine differ from a normal sewing machine in any substantial way?
     
  17. jcusey

    jcusey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I second that, especially for the pink shirt.
     
  18. mkk

    mkk Senior member

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    Barba?
     
  19. Roy

    Roy Senior member

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    (jamesbond) lovely, if you dont mind my asking, who makes your shirts?
    Barba?
    Very good, indeed both shirts are made by Barba.
     
  20. jcusey

    jcusey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Show-off. [​IMG]
     

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