Sewing Buttonholes – 8 different types you could make.

Did you know that Buttonholes are sometimes used for purely embellishing purposes on garments. When I think about it, it seems such a great idea. They are so beautiful, almost like a beautiful embroidery. Especially when the buttonholes are hand made.

No need to elaborate on the very practical purpose of a buttonhole. They are the mainstay of the button fastener. When there is a button, if it has to be of use, there has to be a buttonhole. Checkout the post on making fabric covered buttons and sewing a button


Different types of buttonholes

There are many different ways that you can create buttonholes on your clothes. All of them equally great and neat. The three main categories are the Hand sewn buttonholes, machine buttonholes and fabric buttonholes.

1)Hand sewn buttonhole


Hand sewn buttonholes can also be termed as embroidered buttonholes. They are worked around a slit cut in the size of the button with closely spaced blanket stitches (buttonhole stitches) and ended at either end with a bar or a fan. Checkout how you can make an easy hand sewn buttonhole.

\Easy Handmade Buttonhole

2)Machine sewn buttonhole

Machine buttonholes are simply two parallel zig zag stitching lines on either side of a slit. They are that simple. They do terrify many people. I was terrified for a long long time, I know. But with the modern sewing machines, no one has to be. They are simple enough to make, with a buttonhole feet or the automatic buttonhole options available with many machines. Checkout the post on making machine made buttonholes for more details.

buttonholes in a sewing machine

3)Faced buttonhole

This is a favourite of mine as facing is generally very easy to sew. No fear of the ugly underbelly of a poorly stitched buttonhole. You can use this for sleeves or open lapels of jackets. You can even make a continuous facing strip for a row of buttonholes.

4)Piped Buttonhole

Piping is a decorative element and a piped buttonhole is a beauty especially when using a different coloured fabric.Checkout the tutorial to make and sew piping here

5)Bound buttonhole

This is a very pretty buttonhole which is made in a similar fashion as the piped buttonhole. There is a lip to the opening of the bound buttonhole which makes it very attractive and popular.

6)In-seam buttonhole

Buttonhole created in the seam of a garment . It is basically an opening in the seam of the fabric creating a slot for the buttons 

7)Shaped buttonhole

A specialty buttonhole which is shaped like a triangle or other shapes are equally decorative as well as practical.The special shape of the buttonhole is created with the help of a facing. 

8)Fabric loop buttonholes

This is a very commonly used buttonhole in girls’ clothing. Strip of continuous fabric loops are available in the market , ready to use. You can easily make them yourself, by making fabric tubes, with the same cloth as your garment

Check out the post on 3 different ways to make these button loops

A frog closure is one such fabric loop. Check out this tutorial to make an easy frog closure.

thread loops for buttonholes

According to the shape of the buttonhole they can be classified as the following 

1)Box buttonholes
This buttonhole is the most used type and is usually seen in shirts and pants

boxed buttonhole
2)Rounded buttonholes

rounded buttonholes
3)Keyhole buttonholes

keyhole buttonholes
4)Stretch buttonhole

As per orientation of the buttonhole, they can be classified as vertical and horizontal. Horizontal is the most used among the two types. They handle stress and strain really well. If you have a closely fitted dress you should be using a  horizontal buttonhole. Vertical buttonholes are used when you do not have enough space for horizontal buttonholes.

Some tips when sewing buttonholes

  • Always measure and mark the button before the buttonholes are made. You can make the markings with pins, pencil, thread or chalk.
  • Ensure that all the markings are of similar length
  • Remember that for men’s clothing the buttonholes will be on the left side of the garment and for women’s clothing they will be on the right side of the garment.
  • Cut the buttonhole opening with a very sharp tool, be it a scissors, or a chisel or a seam ripper. The cut should not be made in a ragged fashion. One single cut is the way to go. There are specific buttonhole cutters available if you are making a lot of them, it is worth to buy this handy sewing tool.
  • You sew the buttonholes before sewing the buttons usually
  • Pressing is an essential step that you should not bypass in every step of making fabric buttonholes
  • Checkout the tutorial to sew different types of plackets ( buttonhole stands) for the buttonholes 


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