Sewing buttonholes on the bias grain of fabric is difficult. If you try to sew buttonholes on the true bias the fabric stretches and the bias buttonhole looks distorted. But there’s a trick how you can sew perfect buttonholes on the bias!
In the Edwardian era, buttonholes were often on the bias grain of fabric. Bias buttonholes with silk ribbon threaded through them decorated necklines and hems of Edwardian lingerie. My next sewing project was an Edwardian combination suit with 144 buttonholes on the bias. And because I didn’t want to sew all these 144 bias buttonholes by hand, I had to think of something to sew the bias buttonholes on my sewing machine! Because vlieseline isn’t historically correct, I thought about stabilizing the fabric with starch.
Related: How To Starch A Victorian Petticoat
But it’d have taken a long time if I’d to starch and iron the combination first. So I had the idea to stabilize each bias buttonhole with a piece of fabric on the straight grain. And it worked: The bias buttonholes turned out perfect, yay!
How To Sew Buttonholes On The Bias
1. Stabilze the buttonhole
Mark the bias buttonhole on the right side of the fabric. Then put a small piece of fabric on the straight grain under the buttonhole. The blue lines in the picture above show the grain of the fabric.
You can use leftover fabric scraps for this: I used thin cotton fabric scraps – the same fabric that I used for the Edwardian combination suit.
2. Sew the bias buttonhole
Using the buttonhole foot on your sewing machine, sew the bias buttonhole.
3. Open the buttonhole
Use a seam ripper to open the buttonhole. Be careful not to cut the stitching.
4. Trim the excess fabric
On the wrong side of the fabric, carefully cut away the excess fabric along the stitching lines. And that’s all: Your perfect buttonhole on the true bias is finished!