Monday, March 07, 2011

Buttonhole Patches

buttonhole flowers and hearts (16) A few years ago I started making these little patches (flowers, heart, butterflies) with buttonholes in the center. My girls love them for their headbands, backpacks, etc.  Basically, anywhere we can put a buttonhole, they’ll clip on these little patches. I now offer these little patches on my website—flowers with 5 petals, flowers with 6 petals, hearts, and circles.
Here’s how I make mine. I’ve done it two ways. The first way is to use a stabilizer specific for badges or patches. I have used Badge Master by OESD but this stuff is expensive, so now I just used two layers of a tear away stabilizer because I always that on hand. I’ve never washed these patches, so I guess if you do you might not want to use tear away as the stabilizer underneath will fray away. But I have been using 2 layers of tear away stabilizer for a few years now and all of my patches have still held up really well.
buttonhole flowers and hearts (19) copy
I like to squeeze as many of these patches as possible into one hooping—more bang for my buck ya know?
Here’s how to make them:
1.  Hoop two layers of crappy tear away stabilizer, like Pellon tear away. (See below photo.) This is around $2 a yard at Joanns. It’s stiff and yucky, but it’s perfect for this application. (I have also used 2 layers of Ultra Clean and Tear by OESD or Badge Master by OESD.) If you really want, you can also hoop a piece of fabric on the bottom, but since you never see the back, I never do. Your choice.

buttonhole flowers and hearts (7)
2. The rest of the steps are like most applique projects, but I’ll spell them out anyway. Stitch out your first line, called the placement line. The sewing machine stops after stitching this line, anxiously awaiting your next step…..
buttonhole flowers and hearts (8)
3. Place a piece of heavily starched cotton over the placement line—make sure all the stitching lines are covered.
buttonhole flowers and hearts (9)
4. Stitch out the next line, un-clip your hoop from the machine (do not remove the fabric/stabilizer from the hoop!!!) Carefully snip away excess fabric and replace hoop.
buttonhole flowers and hearts (10)
5. Finish stitching out the design, which may just be a satin-stitch and then buttonhole, but in this case there are some dots and then the buttonhole is stitched last. This is my ‘flower 1 patch’.
buttonhole flowers and hearts (12)
Now hopefully you are like me and live your life by the mantra: minimum effort, maximum output. If so, then hopefully you packed in as many of these little designs into one hooping as possible. If so, then you’ll repeat steps 2-4 until it looks like this:
buttonhole flowers and hearts (14)
Skip this paragraph as it has nothing to do with this tutorial: Here’s a little side note: notice the heart buttonhole in the very first photo of this blog post—see how a ton of the underneath white bobbin thread has pulled up to the top? See how crappy that looks? This is my one complaint about the Bernina 830. When the machine needs to be oiled, this is what happens—there is no warning whatsoever, it just happens. Once I oiled the bobbin area, no more bobbin thread showed on my buttonhole patches, but still a-n-n-o-y-i-n-g.
5. Remove your stabilizer from the hoop and carefully tear away or cut away the excess stabilizer from each patch. If you choose to tear away the stabilizer you might still have paper “fuzzys” leftover on each edge. Carefully cut away the fuzzies. If you accidentally snip some of the stitching, no problem, put a big glop of ‘fray check’ on it and that will keep the stitching from falling apart. Cut each buttonhole open, and you are done!
Button these cuties in layers on headbands. (There are a million blogs out there that will teach you how to make these fabric headbands. Here’s one blog with a super fast tutorial.
headbands collage
These patches also give a nice 3-D effect on totes and purses:
buttonhole flowers and hearts (5)
And super cute on pillows as well:
buttonhole flowers and hearts (4)
I hope you found this helpful! Now go make some patches.

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