Buttonholes and Knit

Closures in clothing seem to be one the biggest issues in sewing.  Which is why knits are fantastic, they rarely ever need them.  There are ways of getting around having buttons or zippers if you don't want them.  But what happens when you do want them?  Or even more, when you need them?  It's time to take away the fear of sewing button holes into your knit garments.  

Some items that you will need:

  • You'll need your buttons you intend on using
  • Scissors
  • Buttonhole foot attachment
  • Interfacing
  • Pin/Chalk/Marker

You'll first start out with ironing a small square of interfacing to the back of your fabric where your buttonhole is intended to go.  Do NOT skip this step.  I know, this feels unnecessary and just like more work, but take it from someone who also felt like it was irrelevant, it's really important.  Make or break in some buttonhole situations.  Your knit is stretchy (obviously) so when making that buttonhole you are going to want some sort of stability to it.  Sewing it will be easier with that foundation (your machine will less likely eat your fabric) and the constant pulling on the buttonhole when dressing and undressing will thank you having interfacing as well.  

Once you've got your interfacing in place, you will take your button and slide it into your zipper foot attachment.  You will attach your buttonhole foot to your machine.  This is where you will pull your buttonhole lever as far down as possible (this will tell your machine how big your button is, and thus when to stop and start sewing the other way).  

Put a pin/mark with chalk/marker where you would like your buttonhole to go.  Always remember where your machine is going to be starting your button hole from 'top' to 'bottom'.  I don't know why, I always have a moment of panic right before starting my buttonhole which way my machine is going to sew it.  You would think I'd remember it, but it always takes me a moment. Your machine will have a selection of buttonholes, you'll need to read up and decide which one you would like to use for whatever garment you are using.  Once you'd done that, you are ready to start sewing!  

Once your machine has done it's job and sewn your buttonhole in, take a moment to admire your work (really important step).  Then with either a sharp pair of scissors or a seam ripper, you are going to open your button hole.  Now I've heard some machines will open the hole for you as well, which is great.  Mine does not, so I need to open it myself.  I like to fold my button hole together and then snip through the middle, between the stitching.  Be careful not to cut through your stitches on the ends.

And Viola!  You have a functioning buttonhole!  Look at you and your savvy self.



ButtonholeButtons on knit

1 comment



Re interfacing: the type you choose is important too. Even though it’s only a small piece in the buttonhole area, an interfacing that is to stiff may show through or affect the drape of the garment. Always try it out on a scrap first!

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