Blanket Stitch

Materials For Practice

White Muslin,

4x4 Inches (two pieces)

Small pearl button.

White Cotton, No. 60.

Needle, No. 9.


On aprons, bags, cases, doll's clothes and full sized garments.


To fasten together parts of clothing or to give a strong edge to material.


The character of the buttonhole stitch is such that both durability and beauty may be secured in the buttonhole.


Buttonholes are worked on the right side of double material. The work may be done from right to left, or from left to right, the only difference is the manner of making the purl (the twist given to the thread about the needle). The thread must be turned about the needle in the direction in which the work is advancing. (Fig. 19.) The slits are cut at intervals about a quarter of an inch from the edge of the cloth; for flat buttons they should be cut the length of the diameter of the button, for round buttons, somewhat longer, and always even to the thread. Begin work at the lower end of the slit (farthest from the edge of the cloth). Hold the buttonhole slanting across the first finger of the left hand, with the edge of the cloth toward the outside of the hand. Make two or more stitches across the lower end, if a bar of buttonhole stitches is to complete the buttonhole; this crossbar is to keep the sides of the buttonhole from stretching.

The following description is from right to left, and is a usual method of making buttonholes in cotton material: First strand the buttonhole by taking one or more long stitches to the extreme end of the slit and back again on the opposite side; the buttonhole stitches will cover these, and will be strengthened by them. As double material is used for buttonholes, the two raw edges should be lightly overcast together, over the stranding; this overcasting must not be deep, or it will show. After finishing the overcasting on both sides, bring the needle to the right side close to the edge of the slit at the end of the buttonhole furthest from the edge of the cloth. Take the first buttonhole stitch by putting the needle into the slit close to the end and bring it out far enough from the edge of the slit to avoid danger from raveling. In muslin four to six threads above the edge will be sufficient. Before pulling the thread through, put the thread from the eye around from right to left under the point of the needle (Fig. 19) (if it be brought from left to right it will make the blanket stitch, which does not make a strong finish needed in buttonholes). The needle is drawn away from the worker so that the purl comes on the edge of the slit. Make the stitches upright, of the same depth, and about one thread of material between each stitch, to allow room for the purl. When the opposite end of the slit is reached, turn to the other edge by making a fan of stitches. (Fig. 20.) Let the purl be close together across the cut, to make it strong, as the shank of the button will rest there. The outer part of the stitches will be stretched into a fan. The round end of the buttonholes takes usually from seven to nine stitches. It is some-times made without the purl and consists of a close overhand stitch like eyelet No. 3. When the lower end of the buttonhole has been reached, the fan can be made around this end, or if this end is to be barred, put the needle into the purl on the opposite side, and draw the two sides of the slit together; take two or three stitches if it needs to be very strong; bring the needle out beyond the slit on a line with the depth of stitches just completed and make a close bar of buttonhole stitches across. (Fig. 20.) The ends of the bar should be on a line with the outside of the buttonhole stitches. Some needlewomen make the bar of the blanket stitches; it is not quite so strong made in this manner. The stitch in the bar that comes over the first stitch made in the buttonhole must pass through its loop, so as to hold it from slip-ping; fasten all securely.

Fig. 19.   Buttonhole Stitch.

Fig. 19. - Buttonhole Stitch.

Fig. 20.   Buttonhole.

Fig. 20. - Buttonhole.

Take a long enough thread to complete the buttonhole stitches, as it is very difficult to join the thread after the purl has been started; a thread about 3/4 of a yard long is enough for ordinary buttonholes. Coarse thread may be used for coarse material; but for ordinary muslin No. 60 is coarse enough. Use as fine a needle as possible. If a thread must be taken in the midst of the buttonhole put the old thread through the slit and fasten well on the other side. Insert the new thread through the last purl and continue as before. Buttonholes in cotton material may be rounded at both ends, barred at both ends, or the end where the shank of the button will come may be rounded and the other end barred.

When making buttonholes on wool material the method is not essentially different, though in rounding the ends more stitches are often taken in the fan. As each stitch is made, it may be pulled up tightly that great strength may be gained. I). silk is generally used. If the material is thick or if it frays easily, it is well to put a double line of little running or machine stitches where the buttonhole is to be and cut the slit between these stitches. Glue is also used to keep the material in place before cutting. Little plates can be purchased with the form of the buttonhole cut in them; by putting the glue through such a hole there is no danger of it spreading too far and injuring the fabric. In heavy cloth a wedge-shaped piece is usually cut in the end of the slit where the shank of the button will come, or an eyelet hole is pierced instead. (Fig. 21.) It is also cutomary in heavy material to work the buttonhole stitch over a cord as the stranding of the buttonhole twist is not sufficiently strong. When completing the buttonhole in wool material it is well to take several stitches across the end and make the button-hole stitch over them to insure strength.

The cutting of the buttonholes is always extremely important as the final appearance is greatly dependent on it. Buttonhole scissors, set to the right length, aid in obtaining regularity, but much depends on the worker, who must always cut the material to a thread, begin each cut at the same distance from the edge of the cloth, usually about 1/4 of an inch, and have the slits the same distance apart. Every point must be carefully measured and indicated before cutting. Haphazard work is almost always fatal to success.


The practice piece contains buttonholes, eyelets, loops, sewing on a button, and the blanket stitch. Take two pieces of muslin 4x4 inches. Turn in all the edges neatly, and baste the two pieces carefully together; be sure to have warp to warp, and woof to woof in the two pieces of muslin. Have a small pearl button, and cut a slit in one corner of the practice piece the size for it and as near the edge as a buttonhole would come. Make the button-hole according to directions and round both ends. Diagonally cut another slit the same size, and make this buttonhole round on one end and barred on the other. In another corner put three eyelet holes, run them toward the center of the cloth, and graduate the size, that the center one may be the smallest. (Fig. 21.) In the fourth corner make three small loops, graduating their size to balance the eyelets. In the middle of one side make a large loop, and sew the button in the middle of the cloth. The practice piece can be finished around the edge by the blanket stitch. The directions for eyelets loops, sewing on buttons, and the blanket stitch will be found below.


Good buttonholes require fine work. They take much patience to learn. The work is not adapted to the lower grades of the school. Practice in the form of the stitch and also in the making of the entire button-hole may be given on canvas if it is found to be an aid. Besides the actual making of a successful buttonhole, the classes should have practice in spacing and cutting buttonholes in various materials. It is also well for them to have practice in making buttonholes in cashmere or other light wool goods. Let the piece for such practice be prepared with a lining as would be the case in a regular waist. Paper may be utilized for spacing and cutting button-holes where woven material cannot be provided. The practice piece given above is for teachers. It is too elaborate for most pupils even in the High School. They should only practice buttonholes when they wish to use one for the necessity of direct use is a great incentive in overcoming the difficulties. It is better also for them to practice the many varieties on separate pieces of cloth.