Introduction: No-wrinkle Button Seam

Picture of No-wrinkle Button Seam

No matter how many times I iron my button-up shirts the button seam always gets all wrinkly by the end of the day. What's even more frustrating is that the rest of the shirt is usually fine, it's just the button seam that goes all bacon-y and bunches up. SO FRUSTRATING!

I decided to solve this problem once and for all, and keep that crisp and ironed looks to my shirts all day long. The result is a straight and wrinkle-free button seam that can hold up all day, and have survived a handful of washes without losing any stiffness. This easy clothing hack was completed in under 10 minutes and required just an iron and fabric interface.

Ready to look sharp all day long? Let's make!

Step 1: Fabric Interface

Picture of Fabric Interface

To keep my shirts looking crisp and ironed I used extra firm fusible interfacing, the extra firm stuff is really stiff and keeps the button seam straight and unwrinklable. They also make medium weight fusible interfacing if you want a more flexible seam.

You'll also need an iron and an ironing board, and of course a misbehaving garment you want to straighten out.

Step 2: Set Iron

Picture of Set Iron

Plug iron in and turn the heat to the "medium" setting, typically the cotton setting. The interface works best with steam, so if you have a steaming option on your iron fill iron with water and set it to steam.

Allow iron to come to temperature before starting.

Step 3: Iron Seam Flat

Picture of Iron Seam Flat

Before starting with any interfacing you'll need to start from a straight and flat section of fabric, so carefully iron the button seam flat.

Step 4: Measure + Cut

Picture of Measure + Cut

Unfold the fusible interfacing and line your shirt button seam with the straight edge from one side of the interfacing.

Cut a straight section from the interfacing the same width as your button seam.

Step 5: Find the Right Side + Iron

Picture of Find the Right Side + Iron

You'll probably notice that the fusible interfacing looks different on either side (if you didn't, check it out!) - there's a shiny side and a matte side. The shiny side is the side that adheres to the fabric, place your cut strip of fusible interfacing shiny side down on top of the button seam with the openings and then run your hot iron carefully down the strip.

Work the iron slowly over every step of the fusible interfacing, I spent about 20 seconds per inch of interfacing. Wait for the interfacing to cool completely. Resist the temptation to pull or peel the interfacing while it is hot as it will come off!

Step 6: Slice New Button Openings

Picture of Slice New Button Openings

Because the fusible interfacing is now covering the button openings new openings will need to be cut into the interfacing. Using a sharp hobby knife I carefully sliced through the existing openings into the interfacing creating new slits for the buttons to pass through.

Step 7: Hey, Good Looking!

Picture of Hey, Good Looking!

You're all done, and looking great!

With the interface backing behind the button seam keeping the crease crisp and straight, your button shirts will look great all day long.

Have you upgraded your button up shirts with with a no-wrinkle seam?I want to see it!
Share a picture of your version in the comments below and get a free Pro Membership to instructables!


pkg made it! (author)2016-08-31

I don't usually worry about wrinkles in my work shirts (they are far worse by the end of the day). However, that one "bacon-y" shirt...It's no longer my "I didn't have time to do laundry (so plug in the iron)" shirt, and joins the lineup of "wear them till they are worn out" shirts.

mikeasaurus (author)pkg2016-09-01

Yes! Now you'll look sharp all day long.

Thanks for sharing a picture of your work, enjoy the Pro Membership!

jeanniel1 (author)2016-08-09

Heh heh heh - really nice job! I hate the button holes loosening, too. Good easy solution. Funny how I was just HOPING it wasn't fusible interface... but it works!

catkinson54 (author)2016-08-09

Hello, I have a suggestion. Do not purchase all cotton shirts or shirts with more than 40% cotton. Find the shirts with the 60/40 polyester cotton blend or the 65/35 blend. Wash light cycle, then dry on low, as the shirts start to become dry, take shirts out ONE at a time, putting them on the hanger, and straighten the front pulling at top and bottom. You are done.

I told my husband when we got married, that I do not Iron, he ironed his shirts for a few months, then had them drycleaned, and then dumped them. Not worth the time or effort. He went with what I had told him at the beginning. It has worked for 42 years. He looks nice, not wrinkled, and neither of us iron.

Otherwise, your option sounds good. Just one more thing to have to do.

dimm0k (author)2016-08-04

genius! these types of wrinkles in clothes and my boxers always annoyed the hell out of me!

AnnabellaMarie (author)dimm0k2016-08-05

Please don't put interfacing in your boxers. Ouch! 8-\

PattyP17 (author)AnnabellaMarie2016-08-09

There are very many different thicknesses of interfacing, from "barely there" to thick.

dimm0k (author)PattyP172016-08-09

thanks, good to know!

dimm0k (author)AnnabellaMarie2016-08-05

haha after looking at where the wrinkles were I decided not to!

suzz353 (author)2016-08-08

Mikeasaurus, you da man! My world has been expanded. No longer must I turn away from a lovely button up blouse due to fear of bacony button placket. Now I dare to dream.....might this work on unruly pocket flaps?

mikeasaurus (author)suzz3532016-08-09

It sure does! I have this on all my button seams, pocket flaps, and even the ever-curling collar!

domoking3 (author)2016-08-04

Duct tape.

PattyP17 (author)domoking32016-08-09

Definitely not. It leaves residue that will stick parts of the shirt together in a mess in the dryer. But you were kidding, right?

herbprojects (author)2016-08-03

Huzahs to you and the additional sizing idea in the comments. Always have to pull out an iron if I really want to wear the "bacony" shirt. Now I will only have to do it once!!! Wonder how long it will hold up to washes?

mikeasaurus (author)herbprojects2016-08-03

I'm probably 10 washes in and it still provides a nice flat seam. After a while it'll need another application. Luckily it's a quick job!

pagepanther (author)mikeasaurus2016-08-04

As a sewer, I can tell you this stuff is permanent. There's no "how many washes?" aspect to it. I do have to correct something you said -- the "cotton" setting on an iron is NOT "medium". The only setting hotter than the cotton setting is "linen", so it's quite hot. Follow directions on the interfacing package. I believe some say use the wool setting which is not as hot.

silkier (author)pagepanther2016-08-04

pagepanther, sorry but you made me laugh there. When you said you were a sewer my mind automatically pictured a waste water conduit!

Sorry again!

PattyP17 (author)silkier2016-08-09

LOL! That happens all the time on the internet, so many now call themselves "sewists" - a person who sews without denoting skill level. To say one is a "seamstress" implies very expert skill level. Waste conduit? Maybe a skirt would be a waist conduit?

TheAZAndyman (author)2016-08-04

Well my mom used to make shirts and this was part of the making of a good shirt, added to the collar and button seem and cuffs. Alas you have discovered a fix for something that should not have needed fixing but does since all of the US's clothing manufacturing has moved to China and the 3rd world. #madeinchina #fixedinUSA

PattyP17 (author)TheAZAndyman2016-08-09

Agreed. Many commercial shirts have no interfacing at all!

rajeshp4 (author)TheAZAndyman2016-08-05

In India we have bonded cuffs, collars and plackets. Formal shirts are always like this. Only casual shirts do not have the stiff bonding material.

teddiw1957 (author)rajeshp42016-08-05

I have seen some of the clothes from India and they are beautifully made.

teddiw1957 (author)TheAZAndyman2016-08-05

All of our shirts should have this. When my mother made our clothes, she used this to keep the items looking sharp. We have lost so much in order for corporations to keep the almighty dollar.

e5frog (author)2016-08-04

Hmm... doesn't that stuff you iron on get wrinkled even worse next time it's washed - and it's even worse getting the wrinkles out?
Isn't ironing it enough?

PattyP17 (author)e5frog2016-08-09

No, if laundered correctly (not on super high heat, especially in the dryer), it stays there permanently, heat-bonded to the fabric.

AnnabellaMarie (author)e5frog2016-08-05


RobertB164 (author)2016-08-03

Good idea but. . . Spray Sizing also works well.

Saturate the button flap with sizing and press under a fabic cover (I use an unsed pillow case) to avoid scorching. This is the same for collars.

violetsmuse (author)RobertB1642016-08-04

*wash* geez

PattyP17 (author)violetsmuse2016-08-04

They come out of the dryer that way, so yes, he did wash it., then iron it and the persistent "memory wrinkle" comes back.

lclaiborne (author)PattyP172016-08-08

Memory wrinkle, LOL! Great term for it. But actually, it's manufacturing problem. Either the seams in the placket have too many stitches per inch, or the thread and the fabric are different blends and have different shrink 'n stretch parameters.

PattyP17 (author)lclaiborne2016-08-09

I've been sewing and altering clothing for more decades that most everyone here has been alive - not to say I know ever possible permutation of life. Yes, too tight stitching or differences in materials yields puckering along the top-stitched seam itself in teeny puckers - along the edges of the placket, not down through the middle of the placket. Think "blue jeans" on the seams after they are washed over & over or prewashed and dried a lot. Part of the appeal of jeans is that difference in thread and fabric shrinking, even if they are the same content (all cotton in the past, or close to it nowadays). even if made of the same content, they can shrink at different rates causing that puckering along the seams that make the raised wrinkles turn white with wear, adding to their appeal. Most jeans traditionally are sewn with gold colored cotton thread, and most ready-to-wear is sewn with polyester or part polyester thread, so yes, there is many times a difference in the materials. All polyester thread + all polyester fabric usually results in no shrinking unless washing/drying at a higher heat than recommended.

On the shirt, the large flap wrinkle up & down is caused by an interlining that is too light, too soft, or non-existent. There is no seam down the middle of the placket to pucker, just around the edges, except for the button holes which do not affect how that placket lays. Most buyers of cotton clothing want their clothes to feel very soft at the point of sale since that is how it will feel on the body. The manufacturer is more concerned about point-of-sale appeal and after-sale durability, not wrinkling. Anyone who buys woven cotton sports shirts and wants them to look as neat as when bought should expect to iron, or come up with clever hacks like this.

violetsmuse (author)PattyP172016-08-05

Holy Kanarsci, that's a lot of work!!

But then you have to iron it and apply the sizing every time you wash it. The interfacing is a more permanent solution.

violetsmuse (author)RobertB1642016-08-04

Hi there,

Do you have to do this everytime you was it?

teddiw1957 (author)violetsmuse2016-08-05

I have to with my shirts. No matter how many times I have pressed it, those *memory wrinkles* always come back and I have to go thought it all over again.

lclaiborne (author)2016-08-08

I really dig the dino print! Cool shirt.

lclaiborne (author)2016-08-08

This is a huge manufacturing issue. Shirt plackets of this type shouldn't need interfacing; This is the wrong sort of thread for the fabric if you iron the placket and then it reverts back. There's a problem in the seams. Or the fabric wasn't properly stretched (grained) before cutting. Factory owners in foreign countries don't really care that much.

But, it's in your closet - and this is a great fix!

rhemus (author)2016-08-05

I wonder if you can do that for a sleeve seam. I have a shirt with a flap on the end of the sleeves that aaboslutely will not stay straight.

AnnabellaMarie (author)rhemus2016-08-05

Of course you can! Use the sleeve flap as a pattern to cut out the bonding and iron away!

maka (author)2016-08-05

I do this on the button side of the placket on a few shirts that have overstatement wrinkles there as well. Learned from years of watching my mom sew our family's clothes.

kstruve (author)2016-08-05

Great idea! I have a couple shirts that I refuse to wear because of this problem. I've tried starch, but that only lasts for a wash or two - tops! I'll definitely try this!!!

JuliaD21 (author)2016-08-05

Great hack! Thank you for sharing. Simple but a real help to maintain a groomed appearance. Well done.

carl5blum (author)2016-08-04

I've been saving time by never un-buttoning my shirts. So many I have just ironed and sewn the front shut up to the third button from the top. Stays flat and never any gaps!


thundrepance (author)carl5blum2016-08-04

ha-ha! me, too! i started sewing them closed 15 yrs ago ~~ the buttons kept coming off & needing to be replaced. after replacing or pinning, the gaps still bugged me. sewed them closed to a few inches from the top. i'm happy as a clam, now. x^D

PattyP17 (author)carl5blum2016-08-04

I am female and have sewn some button plackets shut too. Who has time not only to iron them every time washed, but to button over a dozen buttons on some garments? It also prevents the dreaded "bra-revealing boob gap"! Anyway, the sewn shut ones do look very neat.

Kaibosh (author)2016-08-04

Great idea - I use a hair straightening iron (since it's always the side with the button holes that this happens to with me) as it's nice and easy to use while it's hanging up.
Way easier than ironing the shirt when that's the only bit that needs straightening, but it still annoys me everytime I have to do it. Plus, being a guy with a buzzcut, buying a straightening iron specifically for shirts was annoying.
How do you go with the very top of the shirt being slightly open at the neck? I'm guessing that unless it's perfectly straight like in your pictures, the interfacing would be very visible..

mikeasaurus (author)Kaibosh2016-08-04

The interfacing is visible, but it's white and not that obtrusive.

PattyP17 (author)2016-08-04

I sew and you did a great job! The rule of thumb when constructing a garment is to use interfacing that is only heavy enough to support the construction, because otherwise the garment may hang strangely or look weird if heavier ones are used. There is already very lightweight interfacing inside most button plackets, collars and pocket flaps. But in your case, yeah, it works!

I think it's strange that once you ironed your shirt, it went all "bacony" during the day (a great expression, BTW!). I use a lot of steam when removing bad wrinkles, but once a cotton garment "learns" a particular wrinkle in the dryer, it can be hard to tame without getting the cotton really wet before ironing or using starch to beat it into submission after every wash.

I agree with rigtenzin - a great service to "men"kind might have said it even better tho'.

arjay67 (author)2016-08-04

Here's another idea. Don't buy shirts in that same material. If I stick with cotton oxford I never have the issue. But poplin and other types will do.

fixfireleo (author)2016-08-04

this is a great idea and would be great for the ends of a short sleeve shirt also!

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Bio: I'm Mike and I make crazy things at Instructables HQ in San Francisco. Follow me and try a few of my projects for yourself!
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