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
    A completed bound buttonhole. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com
    • A perfect bound buttonhole is rectangular and no wider then 1/4", unless you are working with fabric that is exceptionally thick or bulky. This would make each side of the inset no wider then 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 then 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
    Markings for a Bound Buttonhole. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com
    Fully mark your button hole 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 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
    Baste the buttonhole fabric to the right side. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com
    • 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 then 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
    Cut the the buttonhole opening. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com
    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
    Turn to the inside. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com
    • 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
    Folding the Buttonhole Edges. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com
    Using the original button hole 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
    Hand Baste. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com
    Hand baste the folds to each other.
    Continue to 8 of 8 below.
  • 08 of 08

    Machine Sewing & Lining

    Machine Sewing
    Machine Sewing. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com
    • 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.