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Dateline: 06/03/99

Do you use pattern placement markings for your button holes? Have you ever needed a safety pin to prevent a revealing gap in between button holes?

Proper placement and well made buttonholes prevents a revealing gap and creates another finishing step in a tailored garment.

buttonhole diagramButtonhole placement begins with the center marking on the pattern. When marking your fabric, placing a long hand running stitch at your center line, keeps track of this while you construct the garment. Horizontal buttonholes will extend 1/8" beyond the center line marking. Vertical buttonholes will be centered over the center line marking.

Buttonholes are generally evenly spaced on a garment. The areas to determine first for placement, are the neckline, center (or fullest) bust line area, and waistline. By evenly dividing the area between these key areas, you determine your button hole placement. If a garment is buttoned all the way to a hem line, place the last button approximately 4" from the hem line, to allow for leg movement.

You can be creative and accomplish extra embellishment via buttons. Placing a group of buttons and button holes, evenly repeated down the garment, adds to your finished garment.

Determining Buttonhole Length

The length of you buttonhole is determined by adding the width of the button and the thickness of the button. I highly recommend, that you test a buttonhole in scrap fabric and put a button through the hole before making one on your finished garment. Never make a buttonhole before you chose your buttons.
For example purposes: a buttonhole, that is for a 1" button that is 1/4" thick will be placed, 1 1/8" on one side of the center marking and 1/8" towards the opening edge of the center line.

To measure a ball button,use a strip of paper around the widest part of the ball.

Most sewing machines have full directions for making machine buttonholes. Most offer varied widths and types. Be sure to refer to you machine manual when ever you are in doubt.

Sometimes we prefer a bound buttonhole due to fabric choices or eye appeal. This type of buttonhole does take extra time, but as with other time consuming procedures, the finished result is worth the time invested. Full directions for bound buttonholes.

Other Net Resources for buttonhole information

Full directions for bound buttonholes,from your guide.

Bungled Buttonholes - Taunton Press offers a great tip for making sure you do not ruin your perfect button hole while making the slit.

Instructions for Hand sewing buttonholes gives you step by step directions for making hand sewn button holes. These instructions do not contain graphics and are modeled towards creating authentic historical clothing.

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