Buttonhole Sewing

There’s nothing wrong with a machine-sewn buttonhole. However, I believe a hand-worked one often looks nicer. It does a better job too. Take for instance, if your fabric is too thick for the machine to sew the buttonhole, or when you want to make your dress, suit, or shirt look more beautiful. This guide will help you, whatever the reason.

buttonhole hand sewn

Before you go about sewing the buttonhole, whether by hand or machine, it’s essential to know how the two processes are different.

Difference between Machine and Hand Sewing

In machine sewing, the buttonhole gets created by marking the buttonhole’s opening, sewing the bar tack at the bottom and the top, and then sewing many zigzag stitches on both the sides of the opening. The buttonhole’s opening is cut later. The threads stop before the opening, and as a result there will always be some fabric between the opening and the stitching, which will go away after you wash off the first time.

buttonhole sewing

With hand sewing, on the other hand, you have to work in steps. First you must mark the place of the opening. Now, you have to first cut and then sew, instead of the other way around. Cut your opening, and then sew the threads over the fabric’s raw edge, while wrapping your fabric using the thread. This action is going to create an edge, which will not fray.

Hand Sewing the Buttonhole

Here are the steps –

Step 1 – Mark, And Then Cut Your Buttonhole

Mark the buttonhole’s placement, using the pattern markings. Mark the center, short-ends, and also the long sides so that the stitching has a consistent depth. The depth needs to be about 1/16”–1/8”. Make sure that the marks are visible and clean. Cut the buttonhole’s center from one end to the other once you are sure of the placement.

Step 2 – Sewing The First Side

buttonhole hand sewn

Thread the needle and knot your end. Make sure that the needle is going in through the top corner on the right side so that the thread is secured. Buttonhole stitching should cover the small knot. Hold the needle’s top corner and push it through the hole from the right to the underside. Your needle must go through the top and come out at the mark in the top edge. Now, push your needle into the hole and make it poke out along the top like before. But, while doing this, the thread should be looped under the needle’s point. By doing this, a purl stitch will be created along the open edge when you pull.

hand stitching

This process has to be repeated for all sides of the buttonhole.

Step 3 – Sewing the Second Side

Sew many long stitches when you reach the end to create a bar tack. Work your way around to create a purl stitch till you reach the other end. You should form another bar tack on the other short end.

Step 4 – Finish

Tuck the needle tightly after going all the way around, and thread under the stitching. Now return the thread to the wrong side for securing.