What is a Buttonhole and How to Make One
A buttonhole is a reinforced hole in fabric that allows a button to pass through and fasten a garment. Buttonholes can be made by hand or by machine, and they can have different shapes and styles depending on the type of fabric and the purpose of the garment. In this article, we will explain what are the main types of buttonholes and how to make them with simple steps.
Types of Buttonholes
There are many types of buttonholes, but here are some of the most common ones:
- Plain buttonhole: This is the simplest and most basic type of buttonhole, where the raw edges of the fabric are finished with closely spaced stitches, usually the buttonhole stitch. This type of buttonhole can be made by hand or by machine, and it is suitable for light to medium weight fabrics.
- Bound buttonhole: This is a more elegant and refined type of buttonhole, where the raw edges of the fabric are covered with narrow strips of fabric called welts. This type of buttonhole is usually made by hand, and it is suitable for medium to heavy weight fabrics.
- Keyhole buttonhole: This is a variation of the plain buttonhole, where one end of the hole is wider than the other to accommodate larger or thicker buttons. This type of buttonhole can be made by hand or by machine, and it is suitable for medium to heavy weight fabrics.
- Milanese buttonhole: This is a very decorative and elaborate type of buttonhole, where a length of silk thread called a gimp is laid around the edges of the hole, and then wrapped with a glossier buttonhole thread. This type of buttonhole is always made by hand, and it is used in bespoke menswear as a detail to embellish the jacket.
How to Make a Plain Buttonhole by Hand
To make a plain buttonhole by hand, you will need a needle, thread, scissors, a ruler, a pencil, and a pin. Here are the steps to follow:
- Mark the position and length of the buttonhole on the fabric with a pencil. The length should be slightly longer than the diameter of the button.
- Cut a small slit along the marked line with scissors. Be careful not to cut beyond the marked length.
- Insert a pin across one end of the slit to prevent it from stretching.
- Thread your needle with a matching or contrasting thread. Knot one end of the thread and insert it from the wrong side of the fabric near one end of the slit.
- Make a small stitch across the end of the slit, wrapping the thread around the edge of the fabric. This will secure the end of the buttonhole.
- Make another stitch across the slit, but this time bring your needle out slightly above the previous stitch. Pull your thread through until there is a small loop left.
- Pass your needle through this loop from front to back and pull your thread tight. This will create a knot on the edge of the fabric.
- Repeat steps 6 and 7 along one side of the slit until you reach the other end. Make sure your stitches are evenly spaced and close together.
- Make another small stitch across the other end of the slit, wrapping the thread around the edge of the fabric. This will secure the other end of the buttonhole.
- Repeat steps 6 and 7 along the other side of the slit until you reach back to where you started.
- Knot your thread on the wrong side of the fabric and cut off any excess.
Congratulations! You have just made a plain buttonhole by hand!