October 07, 2020
Finishing the details
We are finishing up all the final details on the 229 Sailor Pants today: button placement/buttonholes, making eyelets, and hemming
Buttons and Buttonholes
The feature that makes the iconic 229 Sailor Pants stand out from all other pant designs is the button-laden front flap. It truly gives these sailor pants the character we associate with this classic design. The application of so many buttons, and the thread color you use to make the buttonholes, can really allow you to get creative. The color, size, and how many buttons you choose to use will determine the final aesthetic touch. The thread color used to make the buttonholes can blend with the buttons or make the buttons stand out by using a contrasting color.
Depending on the size and placement of your buttons, you can have 12-16 buttons on these pants front. Tradition says that navy pants have 13 buttons for the 13 colonies, but some say that is a nice, but untrue, tale. Our original had more than 13 buttons, and other sailor pants have had 12 buttons and up to 16 buttons. However, for a totally different and more minimalist look, you could replace the buttons with snaps instead. Just remember the the front flap, or buttoned broadfall front, requires a reliable and secure closure. You could use snaps in combination with a couple of well-placed buttons, too.
After you have decided on the buttons and thread combination for the front flap of your pants, you will need to take the time to assure the proper placement of your buttons. I always test making buttonholes on a scrap of fabric that simulates the thickness of the fabric before making buttonholes on my main garment.
Mark your buttonholes using the pattern as a guide. I have used pins to mark the center position of each button. Once the final buttonhole position was determined, I used a line made with chalk to use as a guide. Sew eleven to fifteen buttonholes on the front flap, depending on the look you want and button size. For larger buttons (3/4" (19mm) or larger), use fewer buttonholes. Space the buttonholes evenly with one buttonhole positioned in the center front of the flap. Sew one (vertical) buttonhole on the left Front Dart Gusset. Sew one (horizontal) buttonhole on the center front of the left waistband. Buttonholes can be sewn diagonally or vertical along the top of the flap. Buttonholes should be horizontal along both sides of the flap and at the waistband. Sew on the buttons. The center front button will pass through two buttonhole layers -- the Front Dart Gusset and the front flap.
Mark the center placement of each button with a pin.
Lay the buttons out to be sure they look evenly spaced.
In the photo below notice the center button hole is sewn in the center front seam. Simply cut the thread in the center front buttonhole to creating the hole.
Making the buttonholes using a white chalk line as a guide.
The horizontal buttonhole on the waistband.
All the buttonholes have been sewn.
Use Fray Check on the front and back of each buttonhole to help add stability to the buttonhole threads and help keep the fabric from fraying when you cut the buttonhole hole. Test the Fray Check on a swatch of your fabric to be sure it does not damage the look of your fabric. Most threads are made to be color fast, but it never hurts to give it a test too.
Once the Fray Check is completely dry, I like to cut the buttonhole opening using an fine blade to make a small slit through the fabric layers. This slit will help make cutting the hole with scissors easier. You can also use a buttonhole cutter (we have one in our shop) to cleanly cut the buttonholes.
Using a fine blade to make a slit through the fabric layers.
Using fine tip scissors to carefully cut the button holes open.
Heavier buttonhole twist (thread) and buttons all ready to be sewn to the pants.
When sewing the buttons onto the pants, I find it helpful to create anchor points first. By attaching the center button on the waist holds the front of the pant in place. Then add the buttons to the corners. Then align and add the center button on the flap.
Notice the buttonhole on the waistband is horizontal and the buttonhole on the front dart gusset is vertical.
The center button passes through two buttonholes.
When using four hole buttons, I like to sew only half the button onto the pants until I am sure the buttons are positioned perfectly and aligned in the buttonholes.
Only half of the button is sewn onto the pants until alignment is perfect.
All the buttons sewn in place on the front of the pants.
Another view of the buttons and buttonholes finished.
Eyelets are another feature that can be as creative or subdued as you like. I am going to show you how to make handsewn eyelets for your pants, but depending on your fabric and aesthetic, you might want to use small grommets. Grommets will probably be best for thicker denims, etc.
Handsewn eyelets comprise of a couple of steps: making a hole, sewing a running stitch around the hole (optional), and then making (buttonhole) stitches around the hole.
Embroidery thread is perfect for making eyelets and it comes in a plethora of beautiful colors. Embroidery thread is typically comprised of multiple threads, and I am using three threads at a time to make my whip stitches. Due to the thickness of the embroidery thread you will need a needle with a relatively large eye, such as an embroidery needle. However, embroidery needles do not typically have a super sharp point, so you will actually be piercing the fabric as make your stitches.
Some machines have an eyelet stitch (often found with the buttonhole settings). You can use this stitch to make the running stitch around the eyelet hole. You can sew this before or after making the hole, but I like to do the machine stitching before.
Mark eyelet holes on the center back using the pattern markings. Use an awl to create a hole for each eyelet (make sure not to cut through the center back gusset). The idea is to spread apart the fabric with the awl. We have a tapered tailor awl in our shop that works very well for this step. Always be careful using awls, as they can be very sharp (Molly has drawn blood a few times when making her eyelets). If you cut the eyelet hole with scissors you would cause the fabric to fray or come apart, but it is possible to cut with a punch as you might when using grommets. Make a line of running stitches around the hole to secure the fabric. Then, use a simple over-under satin stitch, or blanket stitch/buttonhole stitch, to embroider the eyelets. Embroidery thread or top stitching thread is a good choice.
Using three threads at a time to make the eyelets.
Use an awl to pierce through the waist band and center back eyelet facing.
Using an awl to create the eyelet hole.
Mark a guide to stitch the eyelet.
Tie a knot at the end of your embroidery thread, begin the stitch on the front side of the eyelet below the hole. Pull the thread through to the back side and then send the needle back through the hole to the front. The idea is to create a wide whip stitch around the hole to serve as a guide for stitching and to hold the hole open while you work. After you have made the first pass of stitching, continue stitching until you have filled in the gaps.
The needle coming back through the hole creating the first stitch.
Pulling the embroidery thread through the hole to make the first stitch.
The first pass of whip stitches in creating the eyelet.
Filling in the eyelet with a whip stitch.
After you eyelets are complete, thread a string or lace through the eyelets and tie at the top.
Hem Pant Legs
Working with the wrong side up, create a one inch hem by either turning the hem up 1" (2.5cm) with a serged edge, or by turning up 1/2" (13mm) then another 1" (2.5cm), or desired length, and press. You may need to ease the curved edge of the hem on the godet to make it lay nicely. Pin the hem in place and stitch close to the folded edge (or serged edge).
Working on the wrong side, measuring a one inch hem on the curved godet edge.
The hem pinned and ready to be machine sewn.
The pants hemmed.
That's it! We have now made the NEW Folkwear 229 Sailor Pants. I hope you are pleased with your results and feel more confident in your sewing! Thanks for joining us.
Don't forget to tag us on social media when you are showing off your Sailor Pants! #folkwearpatterns #folkwear229 #folkwearsailorpants