How to sew a buttonhole by hand – a video sewing tutorial

In this sewing tutorial I will show you how to sew a buttonhole by hand.

First of all, let me tell you when we would need to sew a buttonhole stitch by hand. Most of the time we are making buttonholes by sewing machine, right? So, what is the point in learning to do it by hand?

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This may be due to the density and thickness of the fabric, which your machine can’t cope with. If you are using thick wool fabric for your coat or jacket you may need to use hand sewn buttonholes. 

Sometimes you may want to use a really big button but the buttonhole foot of your sewing machine is too small for that button.

You may need to make buttonholes by hand for small doll clothes (it can be a problem to put those pieces under the presser foot).

Or you may just want to add some exclusivity to the sewing project, so you prefer hand sewn buttonholes. 

There are some details in the clothes that are invisible to the average person, according to which the professional seamstress can quickly and accurately determine the skill level of the sewist that made those clothes. These usually include sleeves, topstitching, and fit. But one of the most important points are, of course, the buttonholes!

And leading fashion houses and couturiers pay special attention to them. You may be surprised to know that buttonholes on couture coats and jackets are made exclusively by hand. And this operation is done only by a master with extensive sewing experience, you can not risk destroying a garment almost finished.

Hand sewn buttonholes are also used in stage costumes for historical accuracy in costume design.  Designers who create authentic costumes for actors have to make buttonholes by hand if they want to accurately reflect the clothing appropriate to the period or to the environment.

Hand sewn buttonholes are also widely used in fine heirloom sewing

Hand sewn buttonholes are a delicate matter, almost jewelry work … Yes, it’s not particularly complicated, but everything must be very thoughtful, consistent and neatly executed, the missing detail will definitely affect the result. 

There are other tutorials you might want to check (for example, this is a great video by Professor Pincushion)  but I am doing it differently and it seems to me my method is simpler and faster. 

Let’s master this necessary sewing operation and learn how to make exclusive buttonholes, because your creations will benefit from this!

Now let me give you some tips that will help you with the buttonhole stitch by hand. 

1.  Before making buttonholes on the project, be sure to practice on scrap fabric from which the item is sewn. This skill is reinforced only by practice and you will learn how the fabric behaves.

2.  Sewing buttonholes by hand requires extreme precision and care.

3.  It’s necessary to observe the density and length of stitches, also do not tighten the thread too much.

4.  Sew with a single thread, since it’s difficult to avoid tangling and snagging when using a double thread.

5.  Use special threads. (More about them below)

6.  For hand sewn buttonhole I use double sided fusible interfacing or fusible web. It provides great stability and the layers of fabric will not shift during hand sewing. 

More info on fusible web here

Mistyfuse Misty Fuse 10 Yards White Sheer Fusible Webbing

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as of November 25, 2020 2:55 am

Features

  • 20" Wide x 10 Yards - Extra Value
  • White, extra fine fusible webbing
  • Suitable for wide variety of fabrics
  • Solvent Free and Recyclable
  • Great for art quilting, applique & crafts

Warm Company Bulk Buy (3-Pack) Steam A Seam 2 Double Stick Fusible Web 9 inch x 12 inch Sheets 5 Pack 5517

$25.99  in stock
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Features

  • Prices includes a total of 3-Packs of; Steam A Seam 2 Double Stick Fusible Web 9'X12' Sheets 5/Pkg (UPC: 753705055171 )
  • Dimensions: 14.5 in. H x 9.76 in. W x .05 in. D
  • Weight: .14 ounces
  • Made in United States

HeatnBond Lite Iron-On Adhesive, 17 Inches x 35 Yards

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as of November 25, 2020 2:55 am

Features

  • HeatnBond Lite is a roll of iron-on, sewable, double-sided adhesive for bonding fabric without extra weight or stiffness
  • Use it in place of pinning or basting and just stitch right thru the adhered layers of fabric
  • Heat activated; Permanent; Double-sided adhesive
  • For use on fabric
  • Does not gum up needles; Eliminates pinning

HeatnBond Lite Iron-On Adhesive Value Pack, 17 Inches x 5.25 Yards

$12.95  in stock
2 new from $10.56
Free shipping
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as of November 25, 2020 2:55 am

Features

  • HeatnBond Lite is a roll of iron-on, sewable, double-sided adhesive for bonding fabric without extra weight or stiffness
  • Use it in place of pinning or basting and just stitch right thru the adhered layers of fabric
  • Heat activated; Permanent; Double-sided adhesive
  • For use on fabric
  • Does not gum up needles; Eliminates pinning

HeatnBond SoftStretch Ultra Iron-On Adhesive, 5/8 Inch x 10 Yards

$4.34  in stock
1 new from $4.34
Free shipping
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as of November 25, 2020 2:55 am

Features

  • No sew, lightweight iron-on web adhesive specially designed to move with your stretch fabric while maintaining a strong bond
  • There is no added bulk and maintains a soft hand after fusing
  • Great to use with knits, stretch denim, spandex, jersey fabrics, fleece and flannel
  • Heat activated; Permanent; Double-sided adhesive
  • No sewing needed or used

Buttonhole thread

There is no special buttonhole thread. So, what thread to use?

It depends on the fabric you are using for your project. 

For fine lightweight silk fabric use 100% silk thread – it’s strong and flexible, wouldn’t twist or tangle and leaves a very clean edge. 

For thick wool and other heavyweight fabric use Pearl cotton, embroidery thread #10, or embroidery floss. 

I advise you to condition the thead you are going to use so it stays straight without twisting. Use a special beeswax for this – it strengthens theads and will not stain or discolor the thread. 

Buy buttonhole threads here

YLI Corporation Silk Thread 100 Weight 218 Yd. Spool: 202-10-243

$6.55  in stock
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Features

  • 200 meters on each spool.
  • Great for hand appliquÃ!
  • 100% filament silk, 2 ply, tex 12 124 denier.
  • A beautiful and delicate thread.
  • A 2009 Boston Thread Best Buy.

YLI Corporation 202-10-269 200 Metres 100 Weight Silk Thread, Light Silver

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Features

  • For applique, basting, and Fine heirloom sewing
  • This product is Made of silk
  • This product is manufactured in Japan

Threadart 20 Color Pearl Cotton Thread Set | 75yd Spools Size 8 | Perle Cotton for Friendship Bracelets, Crochet, Hardanger, Cross Stitch, Needlepoint, Embroidery | Includes Black and White - Set A

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Features

  • ✅ 20 color set of Threadart pearl 100% cotton thread - Set A. Size 8, 75 yds per spool. This set includes black and white. Set A and B have no duplicate colors so get both and enjoy a rainbow of color. Threadart pearl cotton is heirloom quality and perfect for hand embroidery and quilting. Size 8. The best pearl cotton thread money can buy. This superior quality, size 8 cotton is lustrous, non-divisible and double mercerized for a lovely pearlized sheen.
  • ✅ 100% mercerized cotton, heavy weight, lustrous thread. Create lovely embroidery designs for all your sewing projects with the Threadart Pearl Cotton spools Size 8 75Yds. The unique twist and lustrous finish gives the appearance of tiny pearls from which the name pearl cotton thread is derived.
  • ✅ 75 yds/10 grams per spool. Available in a variety of beautiful colors, this colorfast cotton embroidery thread does not kink, fluff or fray and can be used for embroidery, cross-stitch, applique, punch needle, needlepoint and other creative stitchery projects.
  • ✅ Conveniently wound on spools, 75 yds per spool. Perfect for crocheters and is also great for cross stitch, hand needle work, embroidery, friendship bracelets, and many more DIY crafts. Perfect for use with all of fabrics.
  • ✅ Also called perle cotton. Perfect for crochet, knitting, embroidery, hardanger, pulled thread, needlepoint, cross-stitch, tatting, huck weaving, friendship bracelets and more.

Threadart Pearl Cotton Thread | 75yd Spools Size 8 | Perle Cotton for Friendship Bracelets, Crochet, Hardanger, Cross Stitch, Needlepoint, Hand Embroidery | Color 415 - PEARL GRAY - 40 Colors Available

$6.99  in stock
1 new from $6.99
Get more info
Amazon.com
as of November 25, 2020 2:55 am

Features

  • ✅ Heirloom quality hand embroidery and quilting. Size 8. The best pearl cotton thread money can buy. This superior quality, size 8 cotton is lustrous, non-divisible and double mercerized for a lovely pearlized sheen.
  • ✅ 100% mercerized cotton, heavy weight, lustrous thread. Create lovely embroidery designs for all your sewing projects with the Threadart Pearl Cotton spools Size 8 75Yds. The unique twist and lustrous finish gives the appearance of tiny pearls from which the name pearl cotton thread is derived.
  • ✅ 75 yds/10 grams per spool. Available in a variety of beautiful colors, this colorfast cotton embroidery thread does not kink, fluff or fray and can be used for embroidery, cross-stitch, applique, punch needle, needlepoint and other creative stitchery projects.
  • ✅ Conveniently wound on spools, 75 yds per spool. Perfect for crocheters and is also great for cross stitch, hand needle work, embroidery, friendship bracelets, and many more DIY crafts. Perfect for use with all of fabrics.
  • ✅ Also called perle cotton. Perfect for crochet, knitting, embroidery, hardanger, pulled thread, needlepoint, cross-stitch, tatting, huck weaving, friendship bracelets and more.

Threadart Pearl Cotton Thread | 75yd Spools Size 8 | Perle Cotton for Friendship Bracelets, Crochet, Hardanger, Cross Stitch, Needlepoint, Hand Embroidery | Color 699 - GREEN - 40 Colors Available

$7.99  in stock
1 new from $7.99
Get more info
Amazon.com
as of November 25, 2020 2:55 am

Features

  • ✅ Heirloom quality hand embroidery and quilting. Size 8. The best pearl cotton thread money can buy. This superior quality, size 8 cotton is lustrous, non-divisible and double mercerized for a lovely pearlized sheen.
  • ✅ 100% mercerized cotton, heavy weight, lustrous thread. Create lovely embroidery designs for all your sewing projects with the Threadart Pearl Cotton spools Size 8 75Yds. The unique twist and lustrous finish gives the appearance of tiny pearls from which the name pearl cotton thread is derived.
  • ✅ 75 yds/10 grams per spool. Available in a variety of beautiful colors, this colorfast cotton embroidery thread does not kink, fluff or fray and can be used for embroidery, cross-stitch, applique, punch needle, needlepoint and other creative stitchery projects.
  • ✅ Conveniently wound on spools, 75 yds per spool. Perfect for crocheters and is also great for cross stitch, hand needle work, embroidery, friendship bracelets, and many more DIY crafts. Perfect for use with all of fabrics.
  • ✅ Also called perle cotton. Perfect for crochet, knitting, embroidery, hardanger, pulled thread, needlepoint, cross-stitch, tatting, huck weaving, friendship bracelets and more.

Threadart Pearl Cotton Thread | 75yd Spools Size 8 | Perle Cotton for Friendship Bracelets, Crochet, Hardanger, Cross Stitch, Needlepoint, Hand Embroidery | Color 307 - LEMON - 40 Colors Available

$7.99  in stock
1 new from $7.99
Get more info
Amazon.com
as of November 25, 2020 2:55 am

Features

  • ✅ Heirloom quality hand embroidery and quilting. Size 8. The best pearl cotton thread money can buy. This superior quality, size 8 cotton is lustrous, non-divisible and double mercerized for a lovely pearlized sheen.
  • ✅ 100% mercerized cotton, heavy weight, lustrous thread. Create lovely embroidery designs for all your sewing projects with the Threadart Pearl Cotton spools Size 8 75Yds. The unique twist and lustrous finish gives the appearance of tiny pearls from which the name pearl cotton thread is derived.
  • ✅ 75 yds/10 grams per spool. Available in a variety of beautiful colors, this colorfast cotton embroidery thread does not kink, fluff or fray and can be used for embroidery, cross-stitch, applique, punch needle, needlepoint and other creative stitchery projects.
  • ✅ Conveniently wound on spools, 75 yds per spool. Perfect for crocheters and is also great for cross stitch, hand needle work, embroidery, friendship bracelets, and many more DIY crafts. Perfect for use with all of fabrics.
  • ✅ Also called perle cotton. Perfect for crochet, knitting, embroidery, hardanger, pulled thread, needlepoint, cross-stitch, tatting, huck weaving, friendship bracelets and more.

Below is the video on how to sew a buttonhole by hand. It’s going to be a lot easier for you to see in details how to make hand sewn buttonholes than to read about it and I will explain what I do while I work.

If you have problems with making buttonholes by sewing machine check out my other tutorial Sewing machine buttonhole troubleshooting.

If you are interested in my other fast and easy sewing projects check out these tutorials:

Did you find this tutorial helpful? If so, save this pin (see below) on your sewing board so you can come to this tutorial later when you are ready to sew your own buttonholes by hand and follow me on Pinterest for more tips, tutorials, and inspiration! 

Ready to take the next step in your sewing journey? Check out more step-by-step tutorials from my blog and don’t forget to share ! 

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