Little White Dress- Understitching and Keyhole Buttonholes

I confess, I’ve been procrastinating finishing the little white dress because of the belt conundrum.  I don’t particularly feel like making a belt at the moment.  I’m dying to start working with some Japanese flocked cotton I found.  I may find one cheap (fingers crossed) and the dress will be complete!

I’m out of practice, so today I took my time under-stitching, making buttonholes, and taking pictures.

Under-stitching means sewing the facing or lining through the seam allowance.  It prevents the facing or lining of a garment from rolling to the outside.  A tailor friend of mine once suggested under stitching before pressing.  “He’s mad!” I thought- then tried it.  If you ever find you have issues pressing then understitching, try it the other way around.   Understitching first makes pressing much easier.

He also taught me to keep a little lateral tension on the seam (tug the fabric gently sideways in both directions, I use my first and second fingers) to create a crisper edge.

I’m using keyhole buttonholes for this dress.  I could just as easily sew buttons over my shoulder seam and avoid the bother of buttonholes, but I prefer “functional” details.  I’m always slightly disappointed by design details that don’t “work,” even when it’s pretty.

Keyhole buttonholes are most commonly used on jackets, coats, and waistbands.  The shape of the buttonhole begs for a shanked button to settle into the rounded “key” end.  I’m using shanked buttons and I would expect the “top” end of my buttonhole to hang on the button shank.  Therefore, it makes sense to use a keyhole buttonhole.

Now I’m off to settle into a movie while I hand-sew the buttons.  I might catch-stitch the outer edge of the facing while I’m at it…

More on buttonholes coming soon!


  1. Love, love, love this! Yes, functional buttonholes! I plan on making suits with them for my husband and son. I so admire your button choice. Where did you get them?

  2. Pingback: Finished Object: Hungry Caterpillar Quilt « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

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