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Sewing Save: Correct a Miscut Buttonhole

Quick fixes for when you cut too far
Threads #183, February/March 2016
A slip of the seam ripper doesn’t mean a ruined garment.

Accidents happen, even when you’re trying to be careful. Luckily, some of the mistakes that seem beyond repair—such as a buttonhole that’s been cut past its end bar—can be corrected fairly easily. 

To fix a miscut buttonhole, it’s not necessary to remove stitches and resew the buttonhole. You can do one of two simple things to correct the mistake: Appliqué over the cut and turn the mistake into an embellishment opportunity; or convert the closure to hidden snaps and add decorative buttons atop the too-long buttonholes.

Patch with Appliqué

Cut a piece of fabric into as many small triangles (or other shape) as there are buttonholes on the garment. Reinforce the triangles on the wrong sides with lightweight fusible interfacing. Position and pin a triangle over the portion of the buttonhole cut past the end bar, and sew it in place with tiny fell stitches or with machine topstitching (a satin stitch gives a clean, attractive finish). Add the remaining triangles to the other buttonholes in the same way. This solution will look like a planned embellishment rather than a fixed mistake.


A triangle appliqué patch positioned over the accidental cut.
Position a triangle appliqué over the accidental cut.


A triangle sewn in place with a tiny hand fell stitch.
Sew the triangle in place with a tiny hand fell stitch, or . . .


A machine satin stitch to appliqué the triangle in place.
. . . use a machine satin stitch to appliqué the triangle in place.

Convert to snaps

Sew the buttonholes closed, by hand with a small whipstitch or by machine with a zigzag stitch; use thread that matches the buttonhole stitching. Extend the stitching to repair the cut area. Mark snap positions on the garment opening underlap. Sew half of a snap closure at each marking on the underlap. Sew the remaining halves of the snap closures on the overlap’s wrong side, atop each buttonhole. Sew decorative buttons atop each buttonhole on the right side.


Converting the damaged buttonhole to snaps.
Sew the buttonhole closed, add snaps to the underlap, and stitch a button over the buttonhole.

Stephani L. Miller is special projects editor.


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