A buttonhole is a slit or hole made to receive a button. It is always made on double material, and frequently a third ply is put in to give it additional strength.

The size of the buttonhole is determined by the diameter of the button.

A buttonhole should always be worked on the right side of the garment: and on the right-hand side of women's garments, and on the left-hand side of men's.

Buttonholes are usually cut in a horizontal position, but on shirt bosoms and shirt waists they are frequently cut vertically.

They are generally cut one-fourth of an inch from the edge of the garment.

The spacing between the buttonholes is controlled by fashion, by the size of the buttons, and by the looseness or tightness of the garment.

On woolen materials, work the buttonhole with buttonhole twist. Be careful to have the twist one shade darker than the goods, as it always works lighter.

On muslin and similar materials, buttonholes are generally worked with round ends.

The outer edge of the buttonhole stitch is called "the purl edge." Tailor-finished buttonholes are made with a bar across the end farthest from the edge of the garment.

Materials. - The materials required are: A strip of muslin, which, when folded, is two and a half inches wide and eighteen inches long; red cotton; fine white cotton; "between" needles; buttonhole scissors; tape measure.

(It is advisable to learn the stitch before trying to make a buttonhole.)

The Buttonhole Stitch.

1. Hold the folded edge of the buttonhole strip along the first finger of the left hand.


ILL. 79. - Needle and Thread in Position for the Buttonhole Stitch.

2.   Take two small running stitches on the wrong side of the strip, pointing the needle towards you.

3.   Bring the needle up from underneath close to the


ILL. 82. - Buttonhole Strip in Position.

2.   Begin at 1 and overcast to 2. (Begin without a knot, taking two running stitches on the wrong side.)

3.   Take the needle underneath and bring it up at 3, then overcast to 4. See Illustration No. 83.

4.   Do not make the overcasting stitches more than three or four threads deep, and in the proportion of five over-castings on each side of a three-fourths-of-an-inch buttonhole.

5.  Overcast a buttonhole immediately after it is cut.


1.   Slip the needle underneath from 4 to 1, then make a bar along the side of the buttonhole by taking the needle under at 2 and bringing it up at 3 and back to 4 and then to 1. See Illustration No. 83.

2.   Repeat this so that you have two bars at each side and two at each end. (The bars at the end should show only on the wrong side.) Be careful not to draw the material.

Working the Buttonhole.

1. Bring the needle halfway through at 1 with the needle pointing towards you; take the double thread at


ILL. 83. - Overcasting and Barring the Buttonhole.

folded edge of the cloth, thus bringing the thread into position for the stitch.

4.   Work from you (that is, from right to left).

5.   Again, put the needle in the same distance from the edge and directly in front of its first position.

6.   With the needle halfway through the cloth, and pointing towards you, take the double thread at the eye of the needle and bring it around and under the point of the needle from right to left. See Illustration No. 79.

7.   Pull the needle out, draw the thread so that it will form a horizontal line; in this way the purl edge is brought to the folded edge of the cloth. Make the stitches very close to each other, as the closer the stitches the more durable the buttonhole.


ILL. 80. - Buttonhole Scissors. 122

8.   Be careful to keep the depth and the spacing of the stitch uniform throughout.

9.   It is a good plan to practice the buttonhole stitch on the folded edge of the strip of cloth.

Mending the Thread.

1.   Draw the thread out of the needle; but if the thread breaks short, open up two or three stitches.

2.   Begin the new thread by taking two or three stitches on the wrong side and bringing the needle up through the purl edge of the last stitch.

3.   Make three buttonhole stitches over the two threads.

Cutting the Buttonhole.

1.   Cut from the notched part of the blade to the point of the scissors. See Illustration No. 80.

2.   Cut with the thread of the muslin, one-fourth of an inch from the folded edge.

3.   Cut and work one buttonhole at a time.

4.   The diameter of the button gives the size of the buttonhole.

5.   Be careful to keep all the buttonholes the same size.

It is well to practice cutting buttonholes on a strip of paper or muslin before cutting the cloth in which buttonholes are to be worked.


1. Hold the buttonhole along the first finger of the left hand, with the folded edge of the muslin towards the wrist,


ILL. 81.- The Spacing of the Buttonholes on the Back of a Waist, the eye of the needle and throw it under the point of the needle from right to left.

2.  Draw the thread out straight.

3.   Continue working the buttonhole in this manner until you reach the end which is generally rounded nearest the folded edge; the stitches here should present the appearance of the spokes in a wheel or an eyelet hole.

4.   After rounding this end, work along the opposite side until you are directly opposite the first stitch.

5.   Finish the last end in a similar manner to the first, taking the needle down through the purl edge of the first stitch and making two or three stitches on the wrong side.

6.   If a tailor finish is desired, work along the side from 3 to 4 until you are directly opposite the first stitch.

7.   Take the needle down through the purl edge of the first stitch; draw the thread tightly until the sides are brought close together.

8.   Make three bars across this end of the buttonhole. (These bars must be on the right side, and should extend the full width of the buttonhole stitches.)

9.   Work over the three bars with buttonhole stitches, keeping the purl edge towards the buttonhole.

10.   Take the needle down close to the last stitch and fasten the stitch on the wrong side. See Illustration No. 84.

11.  In mending the thread, follow the method in the buttonhole stitch.

12.   The buttonhole should be worked with one thread; if it is very large, it may be overcast and barred first and a new thread taken when beginning the buttonhole stitch.


ILL. 84. - Buttonhole Completed.