Making Buttonholes

On light and medium weight fabrics buttonholes may be stitched by hand or machine. On heavier weight fabrics buttonholes are best made by binding, as this prevents fraying. For any method, practise on a piece of leftover fabric from the garment and check the size of the but-

tonhole by inserting the button.

Never make buttonholes before you have bought the buttons. The fabric should always be interfaced to strengthen and maintain the buttonhole’s shape.

Stitched buttonholes should be worked through all layers of the garment — top, interfacing and facing — but bound buttonholes should be started on the top and interfacing layers and finished after the facing has been applied.

Machine-stitched buttonholes Mark buttonhole positions but do not cut. Work the stitching, carefully following your machine instructions. Slit the holes with a seam ripper.

Buttonhole stitch Use to make slit or loop buttonholes or to finish cut edges.

1 Working from left to right, insert needle through back of fabric 2-3 mm (1/8 inch) from edge. Before pulling through,

form a loop by bringing thread from needle under point. Pull forward into a small knot on the edge. Do not pull too tightly.

2 Work following stitches closely, but not so tightly that the edge wrinkles.

Hand-stitched buttonholes

Use regular sewing thread for light-weight fabrics and button twist for medium weights.

1 Mark all the buttonholes but do not cut until just before you are ready to work. 2/3 Overcast edges of the slit. Beginning at the lower inside end, work along the slit in buttonhole twist. At the outside end work straight stitches in a fan shape, then continue buttonholing along the opposite edge. Work buttonhole stitches across the inside end in a bar shape.

For vertical buttonholes, work a bar at both ends.

Bound buttonholes For each buttonhole cut a bias rectangle 5 cm (2 inches) wide x 4 cm (1 ½ inches) longer than the buttonhole.

1 Centre the rectangle over the buttonhole position with right sides together. Machine stitch a rectangle to finished size of buttonhole.

2 Cut along the centre of the rectangle and into each corner, taking care not to cut stitching.

3 Poke fabric through slit to the wrong side so that it forms a binding on the front; roll the edges of the binding to meet and oversew them.

4 On the wrong side, arrange the fabric to form an inverted pleat at each end of the buttonhole; oversew in place.

5 After attaching the facing, baste it to the main fabric around each buttonhole. Slit the facing in line with the buttonhole, turn under the edges and hem down neatly.

Loop buttonholes Mark ends of loop. Secure thread at top, take tiny stitch at bottom, leaving required loop Repeat, working back. Buttonhole stitch over loops.