Free Step by Step Directions to Sew Bound Buttonholes

Buttonhole sewn into pink fabric, close-up
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  • 01 of 08

    Basic Pointers for Making Bound Buttonholes

    A completed bound buttonhole
    Debbie Colgrove
    • A perfect bound buttonhole is rectangular and no wider than 1/4" unless you are working with fabric that is exceptionally thick or bulky. This would make each side of the inset no wider than 1/8".
    • If you are making a series of these buttonholes it is best to make each step on each buttonhole before moving on to the next step.
    • When machine sewing, do not back stitch. It usually results in an unperfect rectangle.
    • Always use interfacing or underlining on the garment fabric to provide stability.
    • To practice making bound buttonhole and "get the hang of it", try making larger than normal buttonholes. Practice on scraps until you feel confident.
    Continue to 2 of 8 below.
  • 02 of 08

    Markings for a Bound Buttonhole

    Markings for a Bound Buttonhole
    Debbie Colgrove

    Fully mark your buttonhole placement. Use a running stitch of hand basting or a marking pencil on the interfacing, that will not show through.

    Mark the following:

    1. Center of garment.
    2. Buttonhole placements.
    3. 1/8" on each side of the buttonhole.
    4. Ends of buttonholes.
    Continue to 3 of 8 below.
  • 03 of 08

    Starting the Buttonhole

    Baste the buttonhole fabric to the right side
    Debbie Colgrove
    • Make a patch of the fabric which will compose the inside lips of the buttonhole. Make the patch on the straight grain of the fabric. The patch should measure 2 inches wider and 1-inch longer than the buttonhole.
    • Place the patch right sides together, centered over the buttonhole. Hand baste around the edge of the patch, to hold it in place.
    • Stitch using very small stitches along the rectangle lines.
    Continue to 4 of 8 below.
  • 04 of 08

    Cutting the Bound Buttonhole

    Cut the the buttonhole opening
    Debbie Colgrove

    Depending on the size of the buttonhole, slit the center as in the diagram. Be sure you leave yourself a triangle on each end, which is large enough to be able to grab it.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Turning to the Inside

    Turn to the inside
    Debbie Colgrove
    • Remove any hand basting stitches that were holding the patch in place.
    • Turn the patch to the inside.
      • Work the corners until they will lay flat.
    Continue to 6 of 8 below.
  • 06 of 08

    Creating the Buttonhole Edges

    Folding the Buttonhole Edges
    Debbie Colgrove

    Using the original buttonhole line as a guide. Fold the long edges of the patch to meet in the middle of the rectangle, keeping both sides equal.

    Continue to 7 of 8 below.
  • 07 of 08

    Hand Baste The Buttonhole Edges

    Hand Baste
    Debbie Colgrove

    Hand baste the folds to each other.

    Continue to 8 of 8 below.
  • 08 of 08

    Machine Sewing & Lining

    Machine Sewing
    Debbie Colgrove
    • With right side up, fold the right side back to expose the slit and original stitches. Stitch directly on these stitches.
    • Repeat for the other side of the buttonhole.
    • Working from the right side, fold back the ends, to expose the triangle of slit fabric. Tug back as far as possible, and stitch on original stitches. * Repeat for the other end of the buttonhole.
    • Press.

    For the lining

    • Sew an identical rectangle as you marked on the fabric layer, but just in a layer of lining.
    • Slit as you did the buttonhole and fold back all fabric to the stitches.
    • Hand stitch the lining into place around the buttonhole.