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Make Buttonhole Stitch Your Best Friend

Buttonhole stitch isn't just for Buttonholes....learn how to make it and see how it can take your sewing to another level

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


Please note the edge of the hook is level with the edge of the fabric and held down by a few stitches under the end of the hook.

I rarely use the eye as I prefer hand made loops. The eye can also be sewn on with buttonhole stitch and positioned so the fabric edges lie together when fastened. In my photo I've buttonhole stitched 


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.


If you make a skirt, dress or coat with a lining that hangs separately 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

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