Hello dearies! Well today I am back with the promised bound buttonhole tutorial I spoke of last week. I have been making bound buttonholes for years, but they never quite turned out the way that I wanted them to. It was always a hit and miss sort of job, some would turn out right, and others wouldn’t. Until I discovered the trick I’m going to share with you today! Would you like to learn how to make perfect bound buttonholes? Well then let’s get started!
First off, you are going to need your garment (represented here by the big square on the left), and you are going to need to determine the size of your buttonhole. For this example I was making a 3/4″ buttonhole, which would approximately fit a 5/8″ diameter button. I added a 1/2″ seam allowance to my 3/4″ measurement, and then cut out a square to that dimension (3/4″ + 1/2″ + 1/2″ = 1-3/4″ square).
Next, you are going to need to mark your buttonhole length (3/4″) on both your garment and your buttonhole square. I should mention right now that I was making the buttonhole in such a way so that the wrong side of the fabric would show in the end, so if you want your bound buttonhole to have the right side of the material showing, then make sure you mark your square on the wrong side of the material. Clear as mud? Good!
So, here I marked the square and the garment with (barely perceptible pink) thread tracing. You want to make sure that your marking on your buttonhole square is relatively centered. The best way to do that is fold your square in half, lightly press it, and then mark your buttonhole length down that line.
Next, match up your thread tracings on both your buttonhole square and your garment. If you are doing right-side showing buttonholes, make sure you have your right sides together, not wrong side to right side as I have it here.
Pin your buttonhole square to your garment. I like to stick my pins in at the ends of the buttonhole to make it easier for me to remember where to start and stop.
Now you are going to stitch, using very fine stitches (12-15 stitches per inch depending on your material) an 1/8″ away from your buttonhole marking on the long sides, but right across, on top of the marking, on the short sides, or, the ends of the buttonhole. I’ve done it in red here so the stitching would show up. You can start and stop your stitching wherever you like on your buttonhole. In order to get crisp corners however, I typically start close to an end on a long side, go all the way around, turn the corner near where I started, and back-stitch right on top of where I began.
Next you are going to slash down the middle of your buttonhole (sorry the thread disappeared didn’t it? I stitched it in matching turquoise this time), to within an 1/8″ of the end, but no further. Then you are going to make a clip out to each stitched corner, making a little triangle of sorts at each end. Clip right up to the stitching, but be very careful not to clip through it.
Pull your buttonhole square through and…
Pull the corners out completely so you get a nice rectangular window, and press. This my dears is the trick that I had been missing all along. I never did this step, until I made my peplum suit. My dears, don’t ever skip this step! It makes your buttonholes look soooo much nicer. If you can’t get your buttonhole to lay quite flat, flip it back out, and make sure that you clipped right up to the stitching at the corners.
See how nice that looks? Now we are going to fill it in with the “lips” of the buttonhole.
Fold up one side of the buttonhole square so it fills half of the “window” you just made. Press. Fold down the other side to meet it and press. Your buttonhole should now look like the photo below from the wrong side.
And the photo above is how it should look from the right side. Now we are going to secure this nice and neat buttonhole by doing the following:
Remember those funny little triangles we formed when we slashed our buttonholes, and then clipped out to the corners? Well, you will want to fold up the short end of your buttonhole to find that triangle, and…
Flip your garment over so the little triangle is on top of the buttonhole square. Making sure you keep your folds nice and neat, pin the triangle to your buttonhole square, and stitch very close to your buttonhole seam. Repeat for the other end.
Last step is to stitch “in the ditch” all around your finished buttonhole. You can either do this by hand with small running stitches, or by machine, whichever will look best on your garment.
And we are done! Yay! Now you know how to make bound buttonholes, and you can put them on whatever garment your heart desires (though I’m pretty certain they wouldn’t work too well on a chiffon dress… 😛 )
If you have any questions about any of the steps feel free to ask!
Have you ever made bound buttonholes?
Brigid, the Middle Sister and Singer