Buttonholes and pocket openings part two……

matching in fabric


Once you’ve made your pocket or button hole opening it’s time to fit in your welts.  These are like closed lips either side of the “mouth” of the buttonhole.

There are lots of different ways to make welts but this is the way I made the ones for Ruby’s coat.

The Harris tweed for the coat has a very strong and defined pattern so it was important to have the welts match up as perfectly as possible.  When they are just right they will disappear as they blend in.

Lay your welt fabric near the opening so you can see where your fabric needs to fit in following the line of the pattern.


fold over fabric


Fold and gently press the welt fabric.  For this example I knew there was a black line running through the central line of the coat, when making the welts I decided to allow the whole black stripe on one side and then the next welt would start with the grey line.  Taking advantage of the strong pattern of the tweed will mean the welts blend in even better when finished.


folded fabric blends in


Before sewing anything, I just tuck the welts under the opening to check everything matches up okay……


tack the welts


Next step is to tack or baste the welts.  This just stops the fabric from shifting about.  I like to use as contrary as shade of tacking thread as possible, it makes it much easier to see when I’m unpicking at the end.


pin the first welt into place


Carefully pin the tacked welt into position.


tack the first welt into place


And then tack it in to place.  (again use a bright and easy to see tacking thread) I prefer to tack all the way round one side of the opening,  securing the welt firmly so it won’t wiggle or move slightly.


tack the second welt into place


Then pin and tack the second welt into place.


welts from behind


This is how it looks from the back. Depending on the type of fabric used (does it fray a lot) and on the use of the garment, you might like to overcast around the edges of the welts so they won’t fray.  This is done with a sharp small needle and a tiny overcasting stitch.


close up of needle making stab stitch


Using the same stab stitch you used when you secured the buttonhole open, you now need to stitch around the outer edge of the buttonhole to secure the welts stay in place and become part of the buttonhole.

I prefer to use a tiny stab stitch and use the thickness of the tweed thread as a guide.  The stab stitches are about 1/8 th of an inch apart.


stab stitch around welt edge


I sew about an 1/8 th of an inch away from the edge of the buttonhole.  You can just about see my needle in the top right corner just above the edge of the buttonhole.


finished welts in place



This is the finished buttonhole with welts.

I know it seems like a lot of trouble to go to, especially for a dogs coat, but if you are of that opinion, then obviously you haven’t met Ruby!



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