Types of Buttonhole Methods

This sewing tutorial will show you how to make a buttonhole using your sewing machine. Some machines have a built-in feature, which uses these same steps — and each machine can vary a little in how much they’ll do for you. For instance, one one end of the spectrum, some machines will take the buttonhole measurements for you and create the buttonhole. In the middle, a machine will have pre-layouts of the steps but you have to manually do each step. And at the other end, the most basic machine will be able to perform all of the necessary techniques but it’s up to you to guide your machine. The techniques the most basic machine will need to do are the zig-zag stitch, and stitch in the reverse direction.

Buttonhole Tutorial

Mark buttonhole placement

Step 1: Calculate the Buttonhole Size & Mark It

If you’re using a pattern, most of the time it will specify the buttonhole size, and have the placement marked. If you need to customize the buttonhole, or aren’t working from a pattern, the buttonhole size should be:

the size of the button + 1/8 inch (3mm)

To determine the size of the button, you need to take into consideration the length + the height. To easily do this, wrap a piece of paper around your button and pin it snugly together. Now, measure half of that paper. This is the size of your button. Now, add 1/8inch to that, and you’ve got your buttonhole size. Now mark your buttonhole onto your fabric.

Stitch buttonhole

Step 2: Sew Your Buttonhole

1. Starting in the top right of the buttonhole marking, zigzag stitch down the right side. Make sure to not actually stitch the center line. You want to leave a little tiny space in the center.

2. At the bottom, zigzag stitch a few times in place, across the entire width of the bottom.

3. Zigzag back up the left side of the buttonhole.

4. Zigzag a few times in place at the top of the buttonhole, across the entire width.

How to sew a buttonhole

Step 3: Tie Off Thread

Pull your threads to the wrong side of the fabric. Knot and clip them.

Clip buttonhole open

Step 4: Clip Buttonhole Open

Fold your fabric in half and use sharp scissors to snip inside the buttonhole. That’s it! You should have a nice buttonhole in your fabric.

Never miss a sewing project or tutorial

Want to get my best crafty tips & tutorials to create handmade projects and heart-melting gifts? All delivered to you in a weekly-ish email, along with exclusive offers. Pop your email in the box below and hit Subscribe. Unsubscribe anytime. See my Privacy Policy for details.

Oh! And, you’ll also get 10% off your next pattern purchase.

If you found this article helpful, do us a favor and share it!