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Sew! Lets Get Dressed – Transitional Shirts with Button Frame Details

We are sewing a lot of button frames these days since one of the design extra’s in our Shirt Variations for the Tabula Rasa Jacket is button frames.  If you have some fun cottons in your stash consider stitching them into a lovely transitional shirt. This is an excellent variation for your already fitted Tabula Rasa Jacket   and perfect for fall with its cozy collar and  optional 3/4 length turn-back sleeves.

Last September we featured a different Summer-to-Fall transition jacket, an unlined cotton in muted autumnal colors, for our Jacket of the Month and we included  a different button frame technique as a design tip.  Read about it below as we once again re-issue a 2013 newsletter tips so it will be archived in our Sew! Lets Get Dressed blog.

Rae created this jacket with 3 traditional Provencal hand-block printed cottons (bought during a trip to France to visit her daughter).  There are lots of beautiful cottons available these days in fabric stores, quilting shops, and online, as well as from

vendors at many retail sewing shows.

French cotton
French cotton jacket with faux shawl collar and inseam button holes.



This jacket combines an extra-wide band, selected to feature a vertical design element in one of the fabrics, with in-seam buttonholes.  Both of these band styles are included in our newest release, Band Variations and Pockets for the Tabula Rasa Jacket.  The extra-wide band can be folded back as a faux shawl collar.  The in-seam buttonholes discreetly accommodate the large buttons without making large, and potentially gaping, buttonholes.  Rae added one more decorative “window” feature with the in-seam buttonholes that she describes below.

Rae’s Design Tip:  Framing a Buttonhole 

French cotton
French cotton jacket with inseam button frames.
photo by Frank Kollman

Framing a big button is a nice change to the basic front band of the Tabula Rasa Jacket.


The frame detail with inseam buttonholes was included in this jacket for two reasons.  First, the button was quite large for a machine worked buttonhole.  Secondly, the intricate metal antique button got lost on the printed fabric.  A third reason to use a button frame is if you are short on fabric and need to piece the continuous front band anyway.


Plan for the frame to be large enough to surround the entire button.  As you cut, interface and place the fabric for the frames, remember to include seam allowances so the resulting band length or intervals between buttonholes comes out as you planned.


Determine the placement of the buttons on the right side of the front band.  If you are using a frame for a standard machine made buttonhole, insert the frames into the band and put the band on the jacket before you make the buttonholes.


If you are making inseam buttonholes, use the step-by-step directions in the Band Variations pattern to create the buttonhole frames, and then insert them into the band at each designated location.


If you might wear the jacket open, include additional button frames on the left side of the band so the buttons sit on a matching frame whether the jacket is opened or closed.

                                           ~ Rae


2 thoughts on “Sew! Lets Get Dressed – Transitional Shirts with Button Frame Details

  1. Where are the instructions for an inseam buttonhole?

    1. You can find the instructions for the inseam buttonhole in the Band Variations and Pockets pattern. RAE

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