How To Make A Buttonhole By Hand

There are many reasons why you would choose to make a buttonhole by hand while your sewing machine has hundreds of buttonhole options. You could do it to make a signature mark that you worked on the project or just to practice a recently learned skill. Handmade buttonholes are easy to make and are an easy way to embellish your project or create a buttonhole on a hard fabric.

How Do You Make A Buttonhole By Hand?


First, measure the diameter of the button to identify the length of the buttonhole. Cut out the hole on the fabric or garment and then sew a buttonhole stitch all around the buttonhole you have made.

Buttonhole stitches are embroidery stitches. You can do it by hand if you are making your buttonhole by hand. Find buttons that are just the right size for the garments you are making. If you are making a shirt, make sure you have a button that is small enough for a shirt. If you are making a large jacket, then you will need a large button.

Step-by-step Guide To Make A Buttonhole By Hand

  1. You will need the following tools to make a buttonhole by hand. Thread, marking pins, tailor’s chalk or pencil, needles, button, and a cutting tool.
  2. Mark the buttonhole position on your garment or fabric. If you need more than one buttonhole, use your chosen button to identify how many you will need. For every point that will require a buttonhole make a mark with a pencil or chalk or set a pin.
  3. Measure the diameter of your button. You can use a ruler and for precision, you can use a piece of thread or ribbon wrapped around the diameter of the button.
  4. On the buttonhole positions make a mark equal to the length of your button’s diameter. This is so that the button will easily fit in the resulting buttonhole.
  5. Cut with a knife or razor blade along this line that marks the diameter of the button to make a buttonhole.
  6. With the buttonhole or blanket stitch, stitch around the buttonhole you have just cut.
  7. You have finished making a buttonhole by hand.

Types Of Buttonholes You Can Make On Your Garments

Hand Sewn Buttonholes

Follow the instructions above to make a hand-sewn buttonhole. With the right equipment and basic sewing skills, you can easily make this buttonhole on any garment. Hand sewn buttonholes are beautiful and could be used to embellish the garment or fabric it is sewn on.

Machine Sewn Buttonhole

Machine Sewn

This buttonhole is the opposite of the hand-sewn buttonhole. Sewing machines have many buttonhole settings. You can make hundreds of buttonholes depending on the garment you are making. Unlike the buttonhole stitch made by hand, the machine-sewn buttonhole is two parallel stitches around the buttonhole.

Fabric Loop Buttonholes

These are buttonhole types that you can make with fabric loops. You can easily make the fabric loop tunes by yourself. A frog closure buttonhole is a type of fabric loop buttonhole. Fabric loop buttonholes are common in girls’ clothing.

Shaped Buttonholes

There are types of buttonholes you can make by hand or sewing machine that are identified by their shape. For example, box buttonhole, rounded, or even keyhole buttonholes. All these are buttonholes that are named after their shapes or appearance.

Other shaped buttonholes, such as triangular buttonholes are only on the fabric or garment for embellishment. They may not serve any other function until you have a triangular button.

Faced Buttonhole

This is a buttonhole used for buttons that are placed on the sleeves of the garment. It is also an embellishing buttonhole.

Piped Or Bound Buttonhole

This is another buttonhole also used to embellish garments. It is uniquely made with piping. This then results in a beautiful buttonhole.

In-seam Buttonhole

This is a buttonhole made on the seams of garments.

Benefits Of Hand Sewing Button Holes


Strong And Durable

When sewing buttonholes with a sewing machine, you first stitch, then cut out the buttonhole. This leaves the edges of the buttonhole open making them easy to fray. When you hand stitch a buttonhole, you make the stitch after you have cut the hole open. This ensures that your buttonhole maintains its size for as long as possible.

Smooth Texture

Compared, the hand-sewn stitch is much smoother than a machine sewing buttonhole. This is because the fast speed of the machine causes the thread to pull and lock as tightly as possible. This makes the stitch hard and stiff.

Easy To Do


It is quite easy to make buttonholes by hand. You can do it if you are a beginner or just have the sewing skill. All you need to do is learn how to make the buttonhole stitch and you are ready to start sewing.

Provides Precision

Sewing by hand is accurate and precise. You can see what you are doing and have an idea of how you want it to look like when you are through.

Disadvantages Of Hand Sewing Buttonholes

Time Consuming

Sewing buttonholes by hand takes a lot of time. You have a long process to follow and will spend more time doing it. With a sewing machine, especially one with automatic buttonhole settings, buttonholes are made in no time.


When you sew by hand, normally there isn’t any uniformity in your stitching. Your buttonholes may not end up looking the same even if you use the same technique on each of them.

Tips To Remember When Making Buttonholes By Hand


  1. Always mark the point at which you will cut your buttonhole. This helps to also have the button sewn on the garment at the right location. If you have the buttonhole at the right place and the button at the wrong place, your buttonhole is not functional.
  2. Always measure the diameter of your buttons. This helps you to know the length of the buttonhole you are going to make. A longer buttonhole than the button won’t hold the button tight enough.
  3. Always cut the buttonhole with a sharp tool. This ensures that you have a smooth and straight buttonhole. You will not struggle to push your button through the buttonhole when it is smooth.
  4. Sew the buttons onto the garment only after you have finished making the buttonholes. This helps you to align the button properly to its corresponding buttonhole on a garment.
  5. For men’s clothing, buttonholes are normally on the left. For women’s clothing, the buttonholes are on the right.

How To Lengthen The Buttonhole 

After making your buttonhole stitch, you may find that your stitches have covered or led to the shortening of the buttonhole. To fit your button perfectly, you will need to lengthen your buttonhole.

This is an easy process. Look for the sharpest cutting tool you have in your sewing materials. You can use scissors, a razor blade, or even a knife. At the ends of the buttonhole where there is more thread, cut the excess threads. This helps to create more space for the button by lengthening the buttonhole.

How To Sew A Button

Now that the buttonhole is ready, it is time to sew your buttons onto your garment. Buttons should be sewn after the buttonhole. Get your button, thread your needle, and mark where you will fix your button. Make sure it aligns perfectly with its buttonhole.

Position your button on its mark and push the needle through the fabric. Make sure to fix your button tightly on the garment by sewing through all its holes. Your button may have two or four holes to sew through. Choose one of the holes to make your first stitch and make a knot. Pass the thread through the holes until the button is fixed firmly on the garment.

Confirm that the button is aligned properly with its corresponding buttonhole.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *