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Faced buttonholes

joansewz | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I am thinking of making some faced buttonholes using a contrast color for a linen jacket. 

My question: is the opening (the slash) a raw edge?  The limited reading I have encountered appears that is the case.  How does that work on woven fabric??




  1. joansewz | | #1

    Dummy me....I think I have figured it out.  The facing fabric will be two pieces of fabric basted right sides together and attached to the back side with the basted seam centered as the opening and then the basting removed.

    Thanks anyway.  If this is not correct someone let me know.  I am off to try a sample.


    1. Josefly | | #2

      I wonder if you mean bound buttonholes? There are some articles in back issues of Threads on the topic. But there is also a video tip, called "Manual's Piped Pockets" I think, among the available Threads video tips, which shows a method for making pockets that is very similar to making a bound buttonhole, only using piping and much bigger, of course.To make a bound buttonhole, briefly, a rectangle of fabric is sewn over the buttonhole site, right sides together, that is, from the outside of the garment. A narrow rectangle is straight-stitched in the middle of the fabric rectangle, about the length of the desired finished buttonhole, and approximately 1/4 inch wide. Then a slit is cut in the middle of the stitched rectangle, stopping a short distance from the end of the rectangle, and cutting to the corners in "V" shapes at each end. Then the facing is turned to the inside through the cut slit, and folded around the cut edges, and stitched. This is by no means adequate instruction... you need to determine the size of the rectangles, etc., depending on the size of buttonhole, thickness of fabric and facing material used, AND the stitching done on the inside after the facing, or binding, is turned inside, is more complicated than I can describe here. I think you would find the video helpful to give you a general idea of what is being done, but it won't be enough either. You'll probably find a printed article with photos much more helpful. Good luck.I'm Joan, too.

      1. joansewz | | #3

        Thanks, for your reply.  Actually it is similar to a bound buttonhole, but more decorative.  The opening is larger and can be any shape....circle, triangle, rectangle etc.  The facing, would fill the whole opening.  I saw something on the old Sew Perfect program when Lois Ericson was a guest and she talked about with host Sandra Betzina. 

        I did search Threads and found nothing.  I think I have got if figured out......haven't had a chance to make a sample yet....had dinner guests coming.  Don't you hate it when something interferes with a new sewing idea you want to try?

        This is my first post on this site, so I was glad to get a response.  Will have to lurk around a bit and get the flavor of the communications


        1. User avater
          VKStitcher | | #4

          Hi Joan,

          Sandra Betzina did a workshop for our ASG chapter last year, and demonstrated how to make faced buttonholes.  Pretty neat!  I'm not positive, but the technique may be in her book "Power Sewing".  (I'm at work, and the book's at home, so I can't check to make sure!)  You've probably figured out how to do them by now, but this is a great book anyway, maybe you can check it out at your library.

          Vickie  :-)

          Edit:  I just looked through "Power Sewing", and although there is information on bound buttonholes, the faced ones aren't in there.  Sorrry!  :-(But it's still a nifty book!

          Edited 8/8/2006 2:44 pm ET by VKStitcher

          1. joansewz | | #5

            Thanks, Vickie,

            I made a 'wobbly' sample and I think I got if figured out.

            And yes, I do have  Power Sewing Step By Step, and I was able to do the facing part from those instructions, and am just using the method for finishing Bound Buttonholes to complete the back side i.e. the front facing of garment.  Am on my way now.



  2. mem | | #6

    what do you mean by a faced buttonhole ?? I have made welted buttonholes also known as bound buttonholes.Is that what you mean?

    1. joansewz | | #7

      Hi mem,

      As best as I can describe them....you approach the construction same as a bound button hole.  they are used frequently for larger buttons and can be as colorful as you like for accent.............could be any shape you like, say for a 1" button it could be:

      a 1 1/8" X 1/4" rectangle, or a 1" circle or a 1" triangle.   Make the opening in that shape like you would when constructing bound button holes.  The equivalent of the lips would be 2 pieces of fabric, (many times of a contrast or print fabric), that would fill the  space then continue as you would to finish bound ones.  That is a very truncated version.

      Wish I could tell you where to look for a sample.....does anyone else know where to find a picture of one? Like I said in my initial message I saw Lois Ericson demonstrate it on Sandra Betzina's now defunct Sew Perfect TV Show (how I grieved when that show taken off the air, and according to Sandra, it was not her choice!)


      1. mem | | #8

        They are made in the same way as a bound buttonhole and are very well described in Palmer Pletsch publication called Couture Sewing by Roberta Carr. I have made them and they are fun to make but you will need to practise alot . In my case it too 6 attempts before I was happy . The quality goes up a lot if you use silk organza to make the window facing  .

        1. joansewz | | #9

          Hi mem,

          Thanks, for that input about Roberta Carr's book.  Why didn't I think to look there??,

          Yes, I pulled it off my bookshelf shelf and sure enuf' there they are.  I did remember that using organza is the way to go.


          My project is on hold.  I am going to rethink it.  I have the main pieces basted with the piping and now I don't like that.  I was going to make the buttonhole facings of the piping fabric.  I think I may still use the buttonhole idea, but without any piping, and use a different facing fabric for the buttonholes.  It takes me several tries to put together any kind of embellishement.....I am such a traditionalist, it does not come naturally for me.


          Thanks again,


          1. mem | | #10

            I always go for the less is more way . What is your project fabric like??

          2. Susannah | | #11

            There was a lovely article in an issue of Threads a couple of years ago about really interesting buttonholes like this, and yes the technique was like a bound button hole, but with a lot of extra features, contrasting fabric and larger shapes.  I can't remember which issue, but it was both inspiring and gave a lot of techical information.

            good luck



          3. joansewz | | #12

            Susannah, when I looked up that subject in the Threads Index, I didn't see it.  If you recall about what year, I will look more closely at that year.


            mem, my project is a linen, of substantial weight, short jacket. 


          4. Susannah | | #13

            Hi - didn't get chance to check my back issues at home but I think it might be in issue 95 (July 2001) in an article cakked "five foolproof bound buttonholes"

            will double check when I get a chance. 

          5. joansewz | | #14


            Bingo, I found it.  It is indeed year 2001, Threads # 95, pgs. 58-61.  It is the rightmost one on pg. 58, that I was thinking of.

            Thanks, everyone,


  3. mem | | #15

    yes the slash is raw but I would fuze a piece of light weight interfacing on the back before you start this can be really useful to draw you perfect rectangle on as well as stopping fraying .I always make the facing out of silk organza as you get a lovely edge on your "window" . Always start the stitching of your window half way down the long side and use really tiny stitches . I have also found using the open toe foot on my machine really useful

    1. joansewz | | #16

      Hi Mem,

      I have finally taken the plunge and made the 3 buttonholes.  I still have to attach the jacket front facing and finish the backside of the buttonholes.  I made the opening 1 3/4" long X 1" wide, using the organza as you suggested, and I topstitched the facing around the rectangle....and yes, I did figure out for this step using the open toe foot allowed me more accuracy, especially around the corners of the rectangle. 

      The fabric is summer brown linen and the buttonhole facing is a pale kiwi linen.  I will be using round buttons with a shank that are a mottled brown of the same hue as the jacket fabric.  When I made the rectangle my plan was to use an antique slim rectangular button, but somehow it looked too slim, so I changed my mind.

      Thanks, for all your help.  Perhaps when I am done  (still a long way to go til completion) and take a picture I can post a link for you to take a look.  .  You have almost as much invested in this project as I do.





      My pl

      1. mem | | #17

        That would be lovely . I suggest you use the organza on the facing as well . You can just cut a windowbut make a tiny machine stitch out line first and slip stitch it under but it will look alot nicer if the window is done with the silk organza. I love these deatails on clothes . I have been making a Chanel jacket in exactly the way that they are made in Paris Haute Couture houses and while my skill levels cant be compared I have really enjoyed the journey. It has been taking me weeks and I am still not finished!!

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