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handsewn buttonholes

foster | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I am determined tbe able to make buttonholes by hand; any hint or help from all your experience? So far I have not done so well. Thanks, Wanda


  1. dotty | | #1

    My mother always handsews buttonholes. After trying it out myself the only thing I can say that really helps is practice. Do one on a scrap 1st, then go to the cuffs, then the bottom. By the time you get to the bust and neck they'll be beautiful. But I haven't done any myself in years, so I can't be more specific.

    1. foster | | #2

      Dotty, is there a certain tention of the pull on the thread to make the bead; do you stitch around the buttonhole first before you you begin? Mine look so rough and I want to make them on a Christening gown. Do you cut across the grain or on the grain for the buttonhole? Thanks, Wanda

      1. dotty | | #3

        I've never made anything as fine as a christining gown. I've only tried it so that the buttonholes are horizontal on the front, which I guess would be across the grain. The tension is what gets better with practice. I honestly can't remember about stitching around the hole, but I'm sure there's someonne out there who knows more than me anyway .

      2. Catherine2 | | #9


        While I don't useually have the time for hand stitched buttonholes ... when I do I always back the area of fabric with a retangle of fusible interfacing, Then stitch them cut down the middle. The interfacing will support the fabric while stitching and being cut. If I am working on a white or pale fabric I wear a pair cotton gloves ( with thimble over the top) to keep the fabric looking good.

        Cheers Cathy.

        1. foster | | #10

          Catherine, is your fusible interfacing the kind that washing out? I am using Swiss Batist fabric; do you think I could use an interfacing on such thin material? I agree, on my many, many,many practice buttonholes interfacing is needed.Thanks, Wanda

          1. Catherine2 | | #11

            Hi Foster,

            The interfacing I use is very light weigh, fusible and non woven, I leave it in place when the garment is finished as it will continue to support the button hole. I tend to do the same thing with all my garments, especially the ones I make for my daughter ... she tends to be a bit rough on her clothes! Before applying the interfacing, cut it so that it is only a couple of millimetres larger than the botton hole will be, so you don't notice it when finished. The last fabric I used it on was a fine white silk so it should be OK on your fabric.

            Have fun, Cathy

          2. foster | | #12

            Thanks Catherine, I think I have it! It is the interfacing that I was missing. I appreciate your help.


  2. mygaley | | #4

    Dear foster--after many years of unpredictable results, I was shocked to discover I did not know to sew buttonhole stitch!  If you will go to this site: http://www.heritagesite.com/heritage/stitches/blanketstitch.html  perhaps it will help you as it helped me.  God bless you, Galey

    1. foster | | #5


      I need some help; I clicked on the web site but was unabel to find the bottonhole info.THANKS, wanda

      1. mygaley | | #6

        Dear Wanda: I'm not surprised--that address wasn't even close!  Try this one:  http://www.heritageshoppe.com/heritage/stitches/stitches.html.

        You should get a page titled How to Embroider; click on Stitches and the buttonhole essay will be the next thing.  This is a wonderful site, however there are a lot of copyright protections.  Galey 

        1. foster | | #7


          This is a great and wonderful site; thank you so much! Wanda

          1. solosmocker | | #8

            I know how to do hand buttonholes but one of the things that bugs me is the soiling of the thread. I have washed my hands really well first, but it seems the thread picks up some sort of body oils and if I am stitching them on a nice snow white hanky linen, well, they just look dirty. I find a machine made corded buttonholes to be an excellent sub for the handmade buttonholes, for me at least. I hate to make a garment then have to soak the hole thing in Biz because of one silly buttonhole, but I have done that.

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