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The importance of button placement

September 13, 2013

button down1.jpg

Button not on apex of breast

The need for this post occured to me a few weeks ago after I made a hasty purchase of a button down shirt from my favorite department store (its probably your favorite too with its red bulls eye logo). There I was running into the store for who-knows-what when I was drawn into the tractor beam pull of "Chambray Shirts $12.99". It wasn't until later that week when I wore my shirt that I realized: "Oh, I really need to post on button placement. This is not good". You see not only did my buttons pop regularly (half due, i'm sure, to too small buttons) but there was also serious gaping when I moved my arms. I had even bought the next size up shirt just to be sure because I didn't have time to try it on. It's the button placement that was the problem and that's what brings us here today. 

button down 2.jpg

Right on apexbutton down 5.jpg

Right on apex

I did some careful scrutiny of my shirt and realized that instead of a button being placed at the apex of the breast (the fullest part of the breast), roughly between your shoulder and your elbow, two buttons were placed above and below. Leaving the apex without a button allows for gapping and does not support the other buttons from the strain that regular movement provides. After a bit of research of higher pricepoint shirt makers I decided that this is a detail overlooked by inexpensive makers and I do not want you to make this same mistake. It is easy to follow a shirt pattern and never consider where on you the buttons will hit. While most women's apex hits in the same area, a more exact fit and more prefessional finish can be achieved if you measure yourself and adjust your placement as needed. To do this, when making your muslin, try it on and careful mark where your apex button should sit. Be sure to stretch your arms, swing them around and see how your marking works after this test. Adjust the pattern markings as needed by moving each button the same distance. 

button down 3.jpg

To fix store bought shirts with this problem I have thought of 2 solutions. The first is either sewing the band closed at the apex or adding in velcro to keep the button band closed. A few blogs suggest sewing it closed at the bust but I didnt want to loose the ability to unbutton my shirt since I am still breastfeeding. I opted for a small pieces of velcro on the button band right where the gapping is the worst. It works pretty well but again the buttons are too small. My second solution was to double the number of buttons. I would find enough matching buttons and then add a button and hole in between all existing buttons. I thought the new styling would look great but I never found the time to dedicate to sewing 6 more buttons and holes.

My ultimate solution is when making a button down shirt, carefully measure and adjust your buttons as you make it. When purchasing a button down in a store, try it on, move around and when in doubt spend a little extra. 

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This page contains a single entry by Tara Miller published on September 13, 2013 7:58 AM.

Costume Corner: Baby Shrek the Ogre was the previous entry in this blog.

Bobbin Storage and Recycling: Together at Last! is the next entry in this blog.

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