In last week's post, we showcased some fun button options for the ankle plackets of our new Peridot Pants. We noted that standard button loop tape makes adding all those 1/2" buttons easy to do. But what if you are fresh out of tape? Or what if you want to use bigger buttons, or more of them? Make your own button tape, of course!I first devised this method when we were test sewing the pants. We were playing around with the size and number of the buttons and the button spacing, all with an end-goal of making it as simple as possible.
Besides being simple, making your own button loop tape opens up custom options for changing the size, number and spacing of the buttons. Here's one of the prototypes--see there are 7 - 1/2" buttons, rather than 5.
Here's a shot of just the DIY loops:
Pretty nifty, eh? I thought I'd share this technique with you since it isn't too difficult and probably uses items already in your sewing stash--a real time saver if you are anxious to get going on your project. Below are the basic steps that can easily be adapted to suit your needs.
The materials you'll need:
- piece of paper, pen/marker and a ruler
- elastic cording 1/16" in diameter (I use this frequently for collar button closures, too)
- clear packing tape (like 3M or Scotch)
- tape or ribbon (Ideally, in a color to match your pants in case a bit peaks out. For this tutorial, I used a scrap of commercial bias tape, but you could use any type of flat tape that is between 3/8"- 7/8" wide, such as twill tape or even grosgrain ribbon)
Make Your Template
Using your ruler, draw a 5" line on your paper.
Now draw two parallel lines, one 1/8" (or even a 1/4") below the first and the other 3/8" above.
Now tick off small markers 1" apart on the top and bottom lines. Note that the marks on the top line should start 1/2" in from the side edge. You should have 5 marks on the top line (numbered 1-5 below).
The 1" marks on the bottom measure from the side edges (labeled A-F below).
Note that the 1" spacing mimics the spacing of the commercial button loop tape, and the 3/8" height of that top line creates a finished loop that is 3/8" high, also as in the commercial tape.
If you would like to add more buttons, you could tighten up the spacing of the marks (but be careful to allow enough room for the buttons to fit next to each other--if you find it is too tight, you could widen your base line to 5.5" without altering the pattern). You can also accommodate wider buttons by moving the top line up. For a 5/8" button, for example, I would make the top line 1/2" above the starting line.
Cover the Template with Packing Tape
Once you are satisfied with your template, cut a piece of packing tape about 8" long. Fold under the short edges 1/2" or more so that the sticky sides of the edges are facing outward and the tape covers the length of the template. Use these sticky ends to adhere the tape to either end of the template. Note that the tape should only be secured at the very ends and the sticky side of the main part of the tape should face up.
Adhere the Elastic Cording
You'll need about 10-12" of cording for each loop tape, but I typically leave my cording whole and trim it flush when I am happy with the loop placement.
Form a skinny loop with your cording about 2" in from the end.
Place the top of that loop on the sticky tape at the first tick mark on the top line (mark 1). Guide the long end down to second point (mark B) on the lower line, pressing it to the tape. Form a second loop and place the top of it to the second tick mark on the top line.
At this point, you are probably recalling some ancient school lecture from trigonometry or physics class about sine waves, amplitude, frequency or such similar other nonsense. Dismiss those thoughts with gusto and continue winding the cording between the top and bottom tick marks to the end.
As you go, keep the top of the loops fairly skinny, such as you see in the commercial tape, so that the loop will secure around the button better. This means that the curve along the bottom line will be pretty flat. (A wider opening at the top would better accommodate a wider button.)
When you have reached the end, go back and adjust the loops so they appear more uniform in shape and size. The packing tape is very forgiving for moving the cording and resticking it.
Apply the Twill Tape
Place your tape, ribbon etc. on top of the cording so that one long edge is flush with your original line on the template. Press it down in between the cording to ensure it is secure to the tape. Once you have the cording loops and twill tape in place, trim off any excess cording/twill tape at either end.
Sew the Loops and Tape in Place
Carefully peel up the packing tape at both ends from the paper template so that the cording remains sandwiched between the two tapes.
At your sewing machine, sew back and forth across the long edge of the twill tape 3 times to secure the cording in place. You will want to use a small stitch length (2.0 is fine) and have the non-sticky side of your packing tape on the bottom, nearest the feed dogs.
Here's a shot of the tape after sewing. As my dad would say: "Ugly, but effective".
Now all that remains to be done is to peel away the packing tape. It usually comes off fairly easily in 2 or 3 large pieces. Use your nails or tweezers to get at any small pieces that are left in between the stitch lines. Et voila!
Happy Sewing! ~Erin