No need to tell you what the buttonhole stitch is all about – the name itself is an indication. It is the stitch used in making buttonholes, surprise!. But that is not the only use of this versatile stitch.
The Buttonhole stitch is a variation of the blanket stitch. It is often confused with a closely done blanket stitch. But it is slightly different. The Buttonhole stitch is a knotted blanket stitch.
How to make the buttonhole stitch
To make this stitch you insert the needle from top to down. ( Whereas in the blanket stitch you insert the needle from bottom to the top).
As you make the blanket stitch you loop the thread on the lower portion of the needle as in the picture given below. This creates a knot on top of the loop made in the blanket stitch. When using it for buttonholes you will have to make very closely spaced buttonhole stitches.
Many uses of the buttonhole stitch in sewing
1.To make the buttonhole by hand
When you make the buttonhole (handmade) you should first mark the buttonhole, make a small running stitch around this mark, cut open the hole and make this stitch the real buttonhole stitch all around the hole.
The knot of this stitch along the edge of the buttonhole will really protect your buttonhole from being distorted/destroyed by the constant taking in and out of the button.
Many people use a closely packed blanket stitch instead of the real buttonhole stitch when making buttonholes; it is ok to do this but the blanket stitch makes their buttonholes slightly weaker than when using the buttonhole stitch.
The knot in the buttonhole stitch reinforces the blanket stitch with a knot on the top edge which makes a real hard lip on top of the stitch ( blanket stitch already has a lip, but buttonhole stitch has a knotted lip, which is the difference between them) .
Checkout the post for More details on the handmade buttonhole
2. Use this stitch in cutwork or applique
In cutwork , similar to how you use this stitch in making the hand made buttonhole, cut out the shape and then use the blanket stitch against the edge.
In applique, you can use the buttonhole stitch instead of the blanket stitch, to secure the applique pieces as well as a decorative stitch. Check out the posts on cutwork and hand applique for more details.
3. Hedebo embroidery
Hedebo embroidery, the Danish peasant embroidery which is done with white thread on white fabric uses this stitch against the outlines. This technique is an openwork which uses the buttonhole stitches to make beautiful edges which makes your fabric look like lace.Infact many variations of the blanket stitches are used here
The buttonhole stitch is combined with many other stitches like overcast bars, satin stitches, insertion stitches in this absolutely beautiful work