Sewing – The Button Hole Stitch

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 90,573
    Sewing expert Dawn Anderson demonstrates how to sew the button hole stitch.

    Dawn Anderson

    Dawn began sewing when she was 5 years old and it has since become a lifelong pursuit. Dawn earned a B.A. from Shenandoah University and an M.F.A. from Indiana University, both in Theatre Costume Design. During graduate school she had the opportunity to study in England at Bournemouth University where she focused on corsetry techniques, traditional hand tailoring, and fashion history. During college she worked as a costume designer and patternmaker for theatre and dance, making custom clothing for performers, specialty garments, historic reproductions, corsetry, millinery, and taught basic to advanced sewing classes. After college, she went to work as a free-lance designer and cutter in Edinburgh, Scotland. She returned to the US and began her small ready to wear line and sewing pattern company in Washington DC and Northern Virginia. She currently sells sewing patterns for clothing and hats on her website and at tradeshows. She hand makes men's custom jackets and is expanding her women's ready to wear lines. Dawn currently teaches couture sewing and hat making at sewing conventions, local stores, and in her home in Northern Virginia. She is a member of the American Sewing Guild and leads her own group dedicated to Couture Sewing. Dawn has begun writing for sewing magazines and is working on a book on tailoring. She has also started filming sewing instruction videos and hopes to one day have her own TV show on sewing. Please feel free to visit her website for more information.

    Dawn Anderson: Hi! I'm Dawn Anderson and I'm showing you how to sew by hand. Right now, we're going to work on sewing the button hole stitch.

    The button hole stitch is also known as the blanket stitch. It is a hand finishing stitch that has worked over the edge, the finished edge. See, it has nice L-shape stitches on the top and vertical stitches on the reverse side. For this stitch, since it is decorative I'm going to use a double layer of thread. So, go ahead, thread your needle with approximately a yard of thread or 36 inches. Thread your needle and tie a knot with both thread ends into the knot. To begin the button hole stitch, we're going to start on the very edge. The first stitch is just going to get the thread started. So, go ahead and make one loop over the edge. The next stitch you will move forward, a nice stitch length, take the end of your thread, loop it over the needle and then pull the thread through. Again, the first stitch is just getting you started. The next stitch, go ahead about the same amount, loop your thread over the needle and pull it tight and now you can see how the stitch will be formed along the edge.

    Again, take your next stitch from the underside, nice, even spacing, loop your thread and then pull it tight. So, the button hole stitch is actually used to make hand bound button holes. Something that you rarely see today, but it's quite lovely and on the nicest hand-tailored garments. That is also known as the blanket stitches because again once upon a time, this stitch was used to hand finish the edge of wool blankets.

    Today, you commonly see this stitch incorporated into heirloom sewing a nice cotton or linen edges maybe as like a handkerchief or a christening gown and then as you go just try to keep your stitches based nice and evenly and continue down the edge of your fabric. To knot this stitch off, go ahead and take your last stitch in place, bring it underneath and then I'll take the needle back down to the reverse side. Just see your knot is not visible. Flip it over, knot it, put your thumb down and cut and that is how you sew a buttonhole stitch.

    Now, lets move on to sewing on shirt buttons.