Mad Scientist Monday #23: Learning how to mind the gap...easy fix for blouses and shirts

Day 295

I know its been a long time blogging but in my defense I have been busy, crazy busy with sewing orders and stepping toes into the local film industry costuming, set and the like.  Today our Mad Scientist is the 'Other Mother' from the book Coraline by Neil Gaiman.  Perfectly creepy as a book for (not too young) kids, teens, adults and as a read aloud for extra scary bits.  You can read about it more in this great review I found online if you are not familiar with Gaiman's work already.  So as not to give it away if you have not read Coraline, the Other Mother makes your choice to stay in her world permanent by sewing black buttons onto your eyes.

In tribute to this little bit of creepy we are going to learn how to sew snaps into the gap of a shirt.  I call this the 'Boob Gab' because all of us who are well endowed on top know button down shirts don't leave any surprise as to what we are wearing underneath.  To fix this we generally buy bigger sized shirts and look like we are swimming in them, wear a bra color that blends or never buy buttondowns ever again entirely.  I will help you get over gap trauma, even if you say you can't sew you can do this and learn to love button downs again.

You are going to need:
Hand sewing needle (About an 1 1/2" long and thin)
Thread to match your shirt.
Sewing & Knitting Gauge (see photos)
Snaps (smaller than your button size but not the tiny ones) nickel or sliver if lighter colored shirt and black if dark

Look it's a gap. Usually we notice because someone has said 'oh nice bra color you are wearing today' or they don't say anything but obviously uncomfortably (for the gap wearer) stare right through the gap into your bare naked soul causing you to want to throw on a full body parka, run screaming from the room or commit an act of violence against the starer.  Unless you have a job where the boob gap is an asset then this fix is for you.

The boob gap usually occurs after the 3rd button down, counting the one at the neck.

We are going to place our snaps halfway between the 3rd and 4th button.  Your gap placement might occur at a different location so make sure you put your shirt on and check the location before sewing.  Use your gauge to determine the center point between the buttons. I measure from center of top button to center of bottom button to get the perfect central snap location.

See the hole in the blue gauge marker?  Place a light pencil dot right through the hole marking the center point.

Next we want to measure how far in from the edge of the shirt to align with the button row.  Move your gauge in until the tip is even with the center points of the top and bottom buttons.  Mark lightly with a pencil.  These marks should be right on top of one another if you have measured correctly.  Always best to measure twice, sew or cut once~usually I do it three times and then stand back to look and make sure.

Here I am marking my points.

You get to do your measurements all over again for the buttonhole side!  Instead of the center of the buttons as your top and bottom points use the center of the buttonholes.  Don't just take it for granted that they are absolutely aligned from one side to the next because not all clothes are manufactured of equal quality.

Now you get to sew them on.   While there are only so many ways to sew EVERYONE sews on buttons and snaps differently so do what is comfortable to you.  

Thread your needle and a simple knot in your thread at the bottom.  Work the side with the buttons first.  Staying on the snap side make a stitch through the marked point pulling the thread through to the knot.

Take the female part of the snap and hold it onto the marked dot with your finger or thumb of the hand opposite of the one you sew with.  Coming up through the top layer of fabric only each time (don't sew through to the back, there is usually a double layer of fabric at least for button plackets), using small stitches, go through one of the 4 attachment holes up to 6 times.

To go to the next attachment hole make a small stitch diagonally through the top layer of fabric, behind the snap and come up through the next hole.   Do this with each hole until you come back around to the first one.

To finish the thread I like to make a couple of horizontal stitches through the fabric, back and forth behind the snap.  Then I tie the end to one of the stitches, weave the needle and thread out the other side and snip.

Next you will sew the male side of the snap onto the marked point between the buttonholes on the other half of the shirt.  Proceed in the same manner as described above.  Since this is the side of the shirt that people see make sure your stitches do not show through and stay within the layers of the button placket.

NOTE: When you take them off the cardboard sheet them came on you will see what I mean about female and male parts of the snaps.  It's simple Snap Biology 101.

Another tip is if you are very well endowed DON'T give in to the temptation to purchase a ginormous shirt thinking that will help close the gap.  Fitted is always, always a better option~add multiple darts around  the waist if you have too.  If the gap is still there sew another snap between the 4th and 5th buttons or in the center directly below the other one (between the next two buttons) so that you will stay covered.

Gap minded. 

What will you create today?

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