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Make Buttonhole Stitch Your Best Friend

By Di, Jan 29 2017 04:10PM

I love to encourage garment makers to find ways to give their garments a professional finish. It was the way I was taught so it only seems natural to me to want others to share that experience.

Buttonhole stitch can be one of the most versatile stitches you can master. I'm going to show you how to create the stitch and then show you the various ways you can use it in your garment making.

For buttonholes I use buttonhole thread, whereas most of the time I use a double strand of regular sewing thread. In my examples I've used thicker thread as it makes the stitches easier to see.

1. Stitches are made close together and a knot is formed along one edge.

2. Make a small stitch from right to left, leave the needle in the fabric - don't pull it all the way through

3.Hold the thread near the eye of the needle. Wrap the thread behind the point of the needle from bottom to top.

4. Pull the needle through the fabric, pulling gently towards the right. a knot will form near the fabric.

5. Pull the thread firmly so that the knot is tight.

Once you have the hang of this you can use buttonhole stitch for other things before you pluck up the courage to make handmade buttonholes.

Press Studs

Hooks and Eyes

I rarely use the eye part, preferring hooks and bars.

Hand Stitched Bars

Make a few short stitches where you want the bar to be. They are made on top of each other forming a small loop.

Make your buttonhole stitches over the threads that make the loop. The first and last stitch is made in the fabric. For the rest of the stitches the needle is placed through the loop before wrapping the thread around it.

Button Loops

Loops for fastening small buttons are made in the same way as the stitched bars. The loop needs to be the same as the diameter of the button.

Keep Linings From Twisting at The Hem.

If you make a skirt, dress or coat with a lining that hangs sperately to the main fabric the lining often twists when being worn.

At the side seams make a buttonhole stitch covered bar. Make stitches between the seam allowances of the lining and the main fabric and then buttonhole stitch over them. The bar needs to be about 2cm long.


Hand worked buttonholes do take practise. Here's the link to my tutorial

Jan 29 2017 06:31PM by Claire

This does look very professional. It looks really sturdy too. Thanks for sharing!

Jan 30 2017 07:20AM by Sonja

Great show of beautiful tailor skills

Jan 31 2017 05:04AM by Diana Balfour

Watching your post reminded me that buttonhole stitch can be used when sewing a button onto thick fabric. I use it around the shank instead of just winding the thread around. It is neater and stronger.

Jul 1 2018 02:28PM by Gavin

I need more tuition on sewing.

Jul 18 2018 12:44PM by diofheage

I've been making clothes and experimenting with many elements of textile related crafts for over 50 yrs and I'm still learning, that's what makes it fun! Keep following and please ask questions, I'm passionate in insiring and helping others towards their goals. Di

Nov 14 2018 04:38PM by Vivian

I love all if the tutorials on tailoring and corture sewing. I'm a self taught learner who has been on hiatus for a while due to severe Arthritis. Praying to be able to get back very soon. Thanks for your articles!

Nov 19 2018 05:36PM by diofheage

I hope you get back into it. I know a few people who write about sewing when their health. both physical and mental inhibits their progress. As much as you love couture techniques it might be that you need to investigate good quality techniques that use a sewing machine to avoid the fine motor skills. Best wishes Di

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