This section is from the book "The Boy Mechanic Vol. 2 1000 Things for Boys to Do", by Popular Mechanics Co.. Also available from Amazon: The Boy Mechanic, Vol2: 1000 Things for Boys to Do.
If the buttonhole scissors are mislaid or there are none at hand, the holes may be cut in the manner shown in the sketch. Place a piece of wood, having a width equal to the length of the buttonhole, on the table and lay the cloth over it in the line where the holes are required, then draw a sharp knife across the cloth on the wood where the holes are marked. This will cut the cloth neatly and accurately. - Contributed by A. S. Thomas, Gordon, Can.
Ill: Sharp Knife Drawn across the Cloth Laid over a Piece of Wood Cuts the Holes