United States Patent 3575120

Described herein is a combined template and binding holding apparatus made of a thin flexible material and defining an elongated rectangular opening near one longitudinal end and transverse parallel slits are spaced from each end of the opening and are oriented transverse to the opening. Portions between adjacent slits are elastically deflected, and binding tapes are inserted therein and are extended across the opening. The resilient portions hold the bindings firmly positioned across the opening as the outline of the opening is traced with a sewing machine needle.

Paulson, Patricia A. (Poway, CA)
Lahey, Margaret J. (La Jolla, CA)
Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
International Classes:
D05B3/24; (IPC1-7): D05B35/06
Field of Search:
112/136,152,153,137,131,77,65 226
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3380173Buttonhole sewing guide1968-04-30Pasqualetti
3331342Bound buttonhole guide1967-07-18Herrmann
2824530Marker for making buttonholes1958-02-25Katz
2487926Hem binding gauge1949-11-15Hoffman
1693227Brick-course gauge1928-11-27Ellis

Primary Examiner:
Hunter, Hampton H.
We claim

1. Combined bound buttonhole template and binding holding apparatus comprising a relatively thin, flat and elongated plate constructed of flexible material having sufficient resilience to allow slight displacement of portions thereof from a plane of the plate, within the elastic limits of the materials so that the portions tend to return to the plane of the plate, the plate defining an elongated buttonhole opening therein, and the plate further defining two pairs of parallel slits spaced from opposite longitudinal ends of the elongated opening and oriented transversely to an elongated direction of the opening, whereby portions of the plate adjacent the slit means are deflected within the elastic limits of the plate while inserting binding tapes through the slits so that the tapes span the opening, and whereby releasing the plate tends to return the portions to the plane of the plate thereby gripping the tapes in the slits.

2. The bound buttonhole template and binding holding apparatus of claim 1 wherein the slits are oriented perpendicular to an elongated direction of the opening.

3. The bound buttonhole template and binding holding apparatus of claim 1 wherein the opening and slits are spaced from external walls of the plate and are entirely bounded by internal walls of the plate.

4. The bound buttonhole template and binding holding apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a perforation extending in a straight line across the plate at an acute angle to an elongated direction of the plate and at an acute angle to an elongated direction of the opening.

5. The bound buttonhole template and binding holding apparatus of claim 1 further comprising parallel interrupted straight line perforations at acute angles to an elongated direction of the plate and to an elongated direction of the opening.

6. The bound buttonhole template and binding holding apparatus of claim 1 wherein the opening is positioned closer to a first longitudinal end of the plate than to a second opposite longitudinal end of the plate.

7. The bond buttonhole template and binding holding apparatus of claim 1 wherein the slits further define rounded openings in the material at longitudinal ends of the slit means.


Bound buttonholes have long presented problems to seamstresses and clothing manufacturers. Bound buttonholes are formed in a material in one conventional manner by medially and longitudinally folding two binding strips. The two strips are laid parallel to each other, with the folds pointing outwardly, and with the free longitudinal edges of the two strips in contact with each other. The binding strips are temporarily held in place while the outline of a buttonhole is stitched through the strips and through the base material. The strips are unfastened from their temporary holding and a buttonhole slit is cut between the strips, free ends of the strips are tucked through the hole and are anchored in place on the backside of the material and are pressed so that a neat looking buttonhole is formed. As alternatives, the material may be slit before adding the bindings, or single bindings which are double folded may be used. In the finished buttonhole, two layers of material are apparent; the first outer layer of the basic material is folded inwardly so that only the folded edge is seen, and the folded edges of the strips are presented adjacent each other in the center of the buttonhole.

Holding binding strips while stitching buttonholes has always been one of the major problems in forming bound buttonholes. Additionally, it has been difficult to sew such buttonholes by machine, because the precise location of the opening in the material is occluded by the overlying tapes. Difficulty is often encountered in construction of bound buttonholes in properly positioning the stitches with respect to the binding tape and with respect to the locus of the opening in the base material.

Known devices for holding binding tapes and forming outlines of buttonholes have been cumbersome to employ and have required much time for their use. Moreover, known devices have several parts and are constructed with thicknesses and materials which prevent their widespread use. Relative expense of materials and of difficulty in assembly and packaging are further drawbacks of known templates and binding holders.

Grooves in known devices and bands and attachments thereto prevent the use of such devices with a wide number of conventional sewing machines and prevent the turning and handling of the devices with other sewing machines. Moreover, the expense of constructing the known devices from thick materials and from several parts has prevented widespread acceptance of such devices. The use of thick and rigid devices necessitates the use of separate holding elements.


The present invention is a buttonhole template and binding holder in combined form, which is made out of a single flat thin piece of flexible stock. The flat thin flexible plate has an opening which is elongated, preferably rectangular, and comparable to the size of the desired buttonhole. The opening is centered with respect to the longitudinal center of a plate. Slit means are cut in the plate spaced from each longitudinal end of the opening; preferably the slit means are transverse to the longitudinal direction of the opening. The slit means may be single slits on each side of the opening, but in a preferred form the slit means comprise two parallel slits so that binding tapes may be passed through the slits, underlying the majority of the plates, and overlying portions of the plates between adjacent slits and each end of the main opening. Bindings are assembled into the device simply by flexing the template, deflecting the portions between the slits, and sliding the tapes through the slits over those portions. Thus, all of the binding including the loose ends is beneath the template out of the way of the seamstress or machine operator. The resilience of the plates squeezes the bindings in the slits as the portion between the slits tends to return to the plane of the template. To facilitate proper location of buttonholes, templates are constructed so that the first slit adjacent the opening is an appropriate distance to space the buttonhole from the edge of goods.

Parallel lines are provided on surfaces of the templates at angles to the longitudinal direction of the opening and to the directions of the slits for aligning edges of material with the dotted lines to align buttonholes at angles to the edges of the material. In single use templates, the lines may be perforated to further enhance alignment.

Templates are constructed of thin flexible plastic or cardboard; preferably the plastics which are transparent. The templates are marketed in kits containing four plates with openings of different sizes commensurate with sizes of the four most popular buttonholes. The plates are perfectly flat, and, in the most convenient form, they are approximately 61/2 inches long by 21/2 inches wide. In the most common size, buttonhole openings of approximately 1 inch by three-eighths inch are provided, with the openings centered on longitudinal centerlines of the templates. Preferably, the openings are offset approximately one-half inch in either direction from a longitudinal center of the device. Slits or slashes are approximately 1 inch long. First slits are spaced about one-half inch from longitudinal ends of the buttonhole opening, which is a conventionally accepted useful distance from a buttonhole to the edge of a goods. Second slits may be positioned about one-half inch outward from the first slits. When angular dotted or perforated lines are provided, a series of parallel lines usually continues outward in the elongated end of the plate with the closest line about one-half inch from the opening. For convenience, scales may be provided along lateral edges on one side of the plate.

Because of the inexpensive construction and because of the use of disposable materials, besides being marketed in assembled kits, buttonhole templates of the present invention are enclosed in conventional pattern kits in which directions suggest the use of bound buttonholes. In such kits, only a single plate with the appropriate hole is included, or a number of plates may be included with the proper size holes. In an alternative embodiment of the invention, double ended plates may have varied size buttonhole openings. In the latter embodiment, six slits arranged in three pairs are used. The central slits are employed with either buttonhole opening.

In operation, binding strips are first constructed from the same material as the base material of the garment being made, or from complimentary or contrasting materials. The bindings are made simply by cutting elongated strips of the material and folding the material longitudinally. Alternatively, the binding strips may be constructed of single pieces of material with parallel folds. Binding strips are slipped into the holding slits by depressing portions of the plates between parallel slits and inserting the ends of the binding strips therebetween. The strips are held with the folded edges facing outwardly, and the template with the assembled strips is placed over the material in which the buttonhole is to be formed. The first slit is aligned with the edge of the material by which buttonholes are to be made, thereby placing the template opening at the appropriate buttonhole locus. The template is on top of the binding strips, which are between the template and the material, with free ends out of the way of the machine operator or seamstress. The enlarged end of the plate is pressed toward the material with one hand of the operator, while the operator's other hand aligns the material and plate beneath a sewing machine needle and lowers the foot of the sewing machine in place adjacent the opening in the template. The template and the underlying material are then moved by hand beneath the needle so that the needle traces along the edge of the template and sews through the binding strips and the basic material. Alternatively, an automatic feed may be used to move the work beneath the moving needle. After stitching around the entire circumference of the opening, the thread is cut, so that the sewn bindings may be removed from the template simply by lifting the template from the work. No auxiliary or preliminary steps of releasing the bindings is necessary, as the bindings which are now sewed to the material slide out of the slits upon lifting the template from the material.

One objective of this invention is the provision of a flat simply constructed template for the holding of binding tapes and for the outlining of buttonholes, which template is constructed of a thin flat resilient piece of material having a buttonhole-size opening therein and having transverse slits spaced from longitudinal ends of the opening to hold the binding material. This invention has as another objective the provision of a bound buttonhole template and binding holder made of a single piece. A further objective of this invention is the provision of a bound buttonhole template and binding holder which requires a single step, that of lifting the template in order to release therefrom bindings which have been sewn to a material.

These and other objectives of the invention will be apparent from this disclosure which comprises the drawings and the specification, including the claims.


FIG. 1 is a plan view of a template and binding holder of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side elevation of a template showing the flexing of the template and the displacement of portions of the template for the insertion of binding tapes therein.

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the template with binding tapes inserted.

FIG. 4 is a side elevation showing the lifting of the template and the automatic release of binding tapes which have been sewn to a material.


Referring to FIG. 1, a template holder, generally indicated by the numeral 1, is made out of a thin cardboard material having an elongated rectangular shape. A rectangular opening 2 is bounded on all sides by internal walls 4 of the plate. Opening 2 is formed along the longitudinal centerline of the plate midway between lateral edges thereof and is offset longitudinally from a center of the plate. Slit means 6 are spaced from longitudinal ends of opening 2. Each slit means comprises a first slit means 8, which is near opening 2, and a second slit means 9, which is further spaced from the opening. Between slits 8 and 9 are plate portions 10 which are depressed to receive free ends of the binding tapes. Circular openings 8' and 9' prevent carrying in outward continuation of slits 8 and 9. As shown on the right-hand side of FIG. 1, diagonal lines 12 may be inscribed on surfaces of the plate so that buttonholes may be constructed at an angle to the edge of a cloth which is aligned with the diagonal lines. Alternatively, the diagonal lines may be replaced by perforations, and corners of disposable templates may be removed before constructing angle buttonholes in a material. For convenience, scales 14 are provided along lateral edges of surfaces of the template.

Template 1 in FIG. 2 is flexed, and portions 10 between slits 8 and 9 are depressed, presenting a loop to receive free ends of binding strips 16. After the binding strips are inserted, the plate is released, and as it tends to return to its plane, bindings are tightly grasped by the slits. In FIG. 3, an operator views an assembled template and binding strips seeing only medial portions 18 of the binding strips 16, which appear in the buttonhole opening 2. Free ends of the strips are beneath template 1, out of a position in which they might encumber the sewing operation.

As shown in FIG. 4, after strips 18 have been sewn to cloth 20, template 1 is lifted from the material, and the free ends of the binding strips pull out of slits 8 and 9 simply by the lifting motion. The binding material may be provided in elongated strips, in which case, the strips are cut at point 22, and the free ends are pulled through the opposite slits in the template to ready the template for use over the next buttonhole. After all the stitching has been accomplished, and the bindings are all in place, cuts are made through the base material to form the buttonholes, and ends of the strips are tucked into the buttonholes and fixed to the backs of the base material, leaving neatly finished bound buttonholes.

While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to a preferred embodiment thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.