Jump Rope Dress Sew-Along ~ Hemming, Buttons & Buttonholes

on September 16 | in Jump Rope Dress Sew-Along, Products, Sew-Alongs | by | with 44 Comments

Jeanne from Night Knitter shows us how to add finishing touches to the Jump Rope Dress. Today completes our daily sew-along posts! You can still comment on any sew-along post through tomorrow for your chance to win a new Oliver + S pattern or 12 City Weekend fat quarters. Contribute photos to the Jump Rope Dress Sew-Along photo pool too, to increase your chances of winning!

Jeanne’s daughter in a lovely finished View A version of the Jump Rope Dress.

Today we will cover:

  • Hemming
  • Buttons
  • Buttonholes

We are almost done! It has been great seeing all the beautiful Jump Rope Dresses and watching all the progress you have made in sewing such wonderful garments. Today, I will walk you through hemming your dress, selecting buttons, creating button holes and sewing buttons.

Hemming (both views)
Up until a year or two ago I used to use a metal gauge and an iron to laboriously fold, measure, adjust, press, and pin over and over until I had the hem of a garment pinned and ready to be sewn. I still use this technique occasionally, but try to avoid it if possible given the time it takes.

My preferred way to prepare a hem is to use a basting stitch as a folding guide as is written in the pattern. If you are sewing View A, sewing your hem in this manner will free up so much time!

Instead of folding and pressing at the basting line the entire hem before tucking in the raw edges, I tend to do both at the same time. Working in sections that fit on my ironing board, I fold and press along the basting line, then tuck in the raw edges, press, and pin.

When I edgestich the fold to finish the hem, I do so with the wrong side facing up, so I can make sure the fold will be securely sewn to the bottom of the dress.

And here are both of my finished seams using contrasting thread:

View A

View B

For more tips and techniques for hems, check out this post by Carla Hegeman Crim.

Choosing Buttons
I love buttons. Some of my earliest childhood memories are sorting through and playing with tins full of buttons. I think selecting buttons is just about as much fun as it is sewing the actual garment. When I choose buttons, I always try to select ones that will not only coordinate with the garment’s fabric but also provide an interesting visual element, without being too distracting.

If I am using a fabric with a bold print with multiple colors, I tend to choose simple buttons to prevent the button from distracting from the fabric. For View A of the dress I made for the sew-along, I used a print from Tayna Whelen’s Dolce line and choose to simple square shell buttons.

If I use a most subtle fabric as I did with the thin-whaled, blue corduroy for View B, I try to select a more decorative button to add help throw in a bit more visual detail. I used coordinating, contrasting thread to match the color of these Japanese polka dotted buttons.

In another View B of the Jump Rope Dress I made last year, I knew I wanted to use contrasting stitching and happened to find these robin egg blue vintage buttons in my husband’s grandmother’s button stash. The buttons added a nice bit of color to this school uniform.

Jeanne’s daughter in a Jump Rope Dress View B, made for a school uniform.

I always try to have buttons selected before I sew my button holes.

Now that you have the perfect buttons for your dress, here are a few tips to consider as you start to make your button holes:

I usually get a scrap piece of fabric to first test my sewing machine’s settings and size of the button hole before I actually create one of the garment.

I then open the button hole and make sure the button will actually fit.

When you sew the buttonholes onto the placket, leave long thread tails. Put the thread tails that are on the right side of the placket through an embroidery needle and sew them, so they are now on the wrong side of the dress.

Then secure these with a knot and clip the thread tails.

To open up the button hole, place a pin at the top of the button hole and use a seam ripper to create an initial hole.

Place the edge of a pair of embroidery scissors into the hole and carefully cut open the button hole.

I prefer this to using a seam ripper to open the button hole since using a seam ripper to open up button holes can something lead to creating small snags around the button hole.

Sewing the Buttons on the Placket
For the placket buttons, I suggest starting to sew the one furthest from the neckline. This will make sure your buttons are placed so there isn’t a opening between the third button and the bottom of the placket.

Even though the pattern has markings for where the buttons should be placed on the placket, I like to double check all of my button placements on the placket.

To do this, open up the button hole. Using a fabric maker, place a small dot in the center of the button hole onto the right placket (on the wearer’s left)

My sewing machine is extremely basic, so I don’t have a button sewer like some of the fancy machines do (although that feature sounds pretty neat). I sew on buttons the old fashion way, by hand.

When I first started sewing buttons, I used to sew them on as tightly as I possibly could. Seemed only logically, right? I quickly found it was rather difficult to then push the button through a button hole. The key is to make sure your button has a bit of distance from the fabric. Creating a bit of slack between the button and the fabric will allow the fabric around the button hole to easily reside underneath the button. To do this, sew your button on the dot you drew on your placket. Secure the button on the placket but make sure you don’t pull too tightly.

Leave a small bit of space between the front of the placket and the back of the button. Once you have secured your button to your placket, put the needle so that it is between the back of the button and placket. Then, tightly wrap the thread around the loosened threads in the back of the button 5-6 times.

This will create a small little shaft which will ensure that the fabric around the button hole has enough room when the placket is button.

Work your way up the placket following the same steps. One you are finished, your placket should lay flat and smooth when buttoned up.

Sewing on the Buttons for the Sleeve Tab & Pocket Flap (view A)
Since the buttons on the sleeve tabs and pocket flaps on View A are purely decorative, you can totally disregard the steps above on how to create a button shaft. Secure the buttons on the sleeve tab and pocket flaps nice and tight!

You are DONE!!!!

Jeanne’s finished Jump Rope Dress, View A.

Jeanne’s finished Jump Rope Dress, View B.

Give yourselves a huge pat on the back. Better yet, get out a jump rope and try a little skipping rope. Maybe grab another jump rope and some pals and create your own celebratory double dutch routine!

* Win a new Oliver + S sewing pattern of your choice, courtesy of Oliver + S. (4 winners, See the selection at Sew,Mama,Sew! & Badskirt.)

* Win a pack of 12 fat quarters from the new City Weekend fabric collection by Liesl Gibson for Moda, courtesy of Sew,Mama,Sew! (3 winners)

To enter the drawing:

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44 Responses to Jump Rope Dress Sew-Along ~ Hemming, Buttons & Buttonholes

  1. Thirza says:

    Blast, only had the buttons left to do last night, but my sewing machine still refuses to make ‘automatic’ buttons that are all equal in size… I had so wished to be able to put up the finished product. I’ll go at it again this morning. I. Will. Succeed. (Wil read your post again, might give me new momentum).

  2. Jennifer says:

    I agree about buttons. Finding just the right ones is fun!
    And I really really love the tights and dress combo in the first picture. So cute!

  3. Julie Hickey says:

    That hemming method is neat-o! I will definitely be trying that.

  4. Tammy says:

    Thank you for the button tips. I wanted to know if there is anything “special” any of you do when you cut open the button hole. My fabric that was cut into seems stringy/unraveled like, thus making it an ugly button hole opening. Does this make sense?

  5. Maria L says:

    Useful tips! Thanks!

  6. Mandy says:

    I have had this pattern sitting on my sewing table for forever. But, I have been way to intimidated to even start tracing it. These tutorials will definetly help out when I get ready!

  7. mel says:

    I was very glad to find the hint on one of my patterns about the basting stitch as a hem guide. Huge help! Thanks for the sew along. It was fun and encouraging!

  8. Stephanie O. says:

    I can’t believe how cute both versions of the dress are. Thanks for the tutorials. I have been avoiding buttonholes since I got a new machine, but I think I’m going to have to try it.

  9. Thirza says:

    This sew-along has given me so many tips to make my sewing life easier! I think I’ll copy them into one file, print and put them in the pattern envelope.

    After two days in bed/on sofa/on Fatboy, I am hoping I feel well enough to finish the dress today…

  10. Karrie says:

    I’ve never sewn a buttonhole before, so I’m really nervous – but the tutorial makes it VERY straightforward – THANK YOU!

    Still no sign of my pattern…. 🙁 But at least I know it’s on it’s way. A big thanks to everyone who posted in flickr – I love seeing all the different fabrics!

  11. Pauline says:

    I’ve only done the laborious hem thing – thanks for showing us the easy way to do it – light bulb moment! : )
    I feel really silly (perhaps because I haven’t sewn anything as beautiful as these dresses) but could someone tell me what makes this a ‘jump-rope’ dress, I haven’t heard this term before?

  12. Jill B says:

    I love the buttonhole tutorial.

  13. Emily says:

    Thanks so much for all the tips. I’m still stuck at the collar stage (no time to sew!) but am really grateful for the time-saving hemming tip – and might give me a fighting chance to produce a straight hem for once!

  14. Thanks so much for the advice on choosing buttons. I never put so much thought into it, but I will now. Your choices really added to the look of the dress.

  15. alisha says:

    I love the school uniform version.

  16. alison says:

    Thanks for all the great info and pictures! This has been awesome!

  17. Bailey says:

    Great photos and thanks for the attention to detail. It really helps.

  18. Christine M says:

    Thanks for the great lesson on button holes and buttons.

  19. amisha says:

    this has been such a learning experience! i love the step by step through the pattern. thank you all for sharing!

  20. Ileen says:

    Wow! They all look great. I have my pattern cut and ready to go. I’ll have to find the time this weekend. Thanks so much for all the pictures and great tutorials!!

  21. Robin says:

    Those are gorgeous. I love the contrasting buttons and thread details. Thanks for sharing!

  22. April says:

    love seeing the different versions! and those pockets….too adorable!

  23. Tong says:

    Love the dress in view A!

  24. Trisha says:

    Thank you for the button information. I too have a basic machine so I am glad to see wonderful button holes can still be made.

  25. Valerie says:

    The dresses turned out really great. It’s nice to see finished versions!

  26. shannon says:

    although i’m not actually doing the sew along, i’m learning so much. when i do finally get around to sewing, it will help out so much! 🙂 this was GREAT! look forward to more sew alongs! i have also enjoyed seeing the different fabrics people are using for the dress! fantastic! 🙂

  27. Laura says:

    I love these dresses! My mom made all my clothes when I was growing up and I had so much fun wearing them. These are beautiful!

  28. Robin says:

    Thank you for the detailed photos about buttonholes and buttons!

  29. Great photos to show the whole process. These are very helpful.

  30. Kimberly says:


  31. Samantha says:

    Such a cute dress! This has been a great series.

  32. Sharron says:

    Wow. I can’t believe what an amazing dress I just made for my daughter! This is so great! I want to run out and buy material for the other version (I made the short sleeved one) right away!!

  33. Este says:

    That pin trick is wonderful when cutting open a button hole. Just love to see the attention to detail in your work, Jeanne!

  34. Cindy says:

    I should be ready for this step later today! It’s been so much fun participating and seeing everyone’s beautiful dresses in the flickr pool.

  35. Cricket says:

    I have never seen anyone finish a hem like this before, but when I made the music class outfit, I was amazed at how simple it made things. I’m just hemming up my jump rope dress, too. Just in the nick of time.

  36. Mama_G says:

    Great tips — especially for the hem (for a less experienced sewer like me!). I love the two versions. Her school uniform looks lovely. My sewing machine doesn’t sew on buttons, either. But, I learned from my stepmother (an amazing seamstress, whoa) to take a couple of straight pins and put them under the button, that way, you have a little lift which allows space for the button to move, but you are still able to secure it to the garment.

  37. Marcia W. says:

    Thanks for the lovely sequence of tutorials.

  38. Abby says:

    I love the contrasting thread used for the button holes. I’m going to have to do that on one of my future projects. I just did my first button holes last month. 🙂

  39. Angela B says:

    Both of the dresses are lovely! Thank you for all the tips!

  40. Jenn S says:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one obsessed with buttons! My friends and family are always giving me ziplock baggies full of random buttons, my hubs found massive bags of buttons at a scrapbook store for one Valentine’s day, and I pick up coffee cans bull of them at yardsales. In fact, between the vintage zippers, buttons, and wooden thread spools, I *almost* fill an entire 5′ shelf!

  41. Sudi-Laura says:

    Loving the pink version! I wish I had a little girl to sew for! My son only wants trucks and bugs!

  42. I’m dying to make that School Days jacket, but I’m so scared to attempt it! Hoping for a sew along so I don’t have to go it alone!

  43. Cheryl says:

    It’s been great to see the sew-along, but garment sewing still scares the crap out of me!

  44. Shirley Clark says:

    I love seeing the different versions of the dress. The right buttons can really make the outfit stand out.

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