Techniques in Depth: Making Buttonholes

May 4, 2018

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24 Comments
  • Thank you for a terrific tutorial! I was a seamstress long before I started knitting and am rarely satisfied with my untidy knit buttonholes. This has been added to my bookmarks to reference

  • You’re a genius, teaching me how to save articles. I had been wanting to do that, and now I have!

    • I’m new here. How do you save articles? I definitely want to save this one!

    • Now I just saw the link at the bottom. Oops.

  • Someday when I have nothing else to do (when I’m dead), I will go back through MDK and save all the articles I might want to find in my next life.

  • It was easy to save! Thanks–this is really worth saving.

  • Thankyou for this excellent guide to buttonholing, Succinct and great photographs. After years of trying and never achieving perfectly aligned button holes and buttons, slipped stitch mock cable trims here I come!

  • Excellent column, Kate! And I think your afterthought buttonhole is a bit of genius 🙂

  • thanks so much for putting this guide together—clear instructions and these photos are really helful. saved this!

  • Really love this series! Saved!

  • When I need a small buttonhole, I add a stitch in the first row and then on the way back I drop it and voila! A hole in the knitting. It’s a fast way to do it.

  • “Or just use a shawl pin.”

    • roflol

  • Just curious – I was wondering where the tradition of mens buttonholes being on one side, womens on the other came from?

    • Men’s buttonholes were placed on the left so the flap wouldn’t catch on their sword hand when they drew their swords. This is also the reason that Englishmen kept to the left side of the road – so they could draw their swords facing the enemy. Don’t know how they managed if they were left handed! I read one reference which suggested that their trainers tried to switch them to using their right hand.

  • Hi.. Watched so many videos and read so many articles but I understood nothing. Read your article and it’s all done.. thank u so much for this excellent and easily explained article.. you’re just amazing.. lots of love and thanks.
    Mithra from India.

  • How much space do you leave at bottom and top button band before placing button hole? Thanks.

  • And, again….another gem. Buttonholes are tricky and can look really bad and stretch waaaaaaaaaaay out of shape if not done properly. You’ve nailed it. I especially like your closing line. LOL

  • I haven’t made buttonholes in awhile, but I needed to now, so I found this column. I’m very confused by step 2 of the horizontal buttonhole. If you do a kfb in the loop before the last stitch and a kfb in the last stitch, you are adding 2 stitches. Then you cast on the number of stitches you had bound off. Then you knit 2 together. So you’ve added 2, plus the number of bind off stitches, but only decreased 1.
    It seems you should either only do a kfb in the last stitch, or cast on one less stitch than you bound off. Or am I totally missing something? (Won’t be the first time!)

    • Oops! Never mind. I WAS missing something. On the 4th or 5th time I tried to knit it, I realized “both” means BOTH, you know, like both!

      • Hello Melissa! I just found your comment, and looked into this. It’s not entirely clear, the way I wrote it, so have asked for a quick update to the text. You are 100% correct, it’s both, as in together. Sorry for the confusion!

        • Thanks Kate. The correction is more clear. It seems I was the only one who had trouble in all this time, so it was just me not reading correctly.
          My buttonholes came out great! I like how sturdy they feel.

  • Is there a way to add a missed buttonhole? I didn’t notice it till after the child’s cardigan was completed!. It’s in the yoke.

  • Wow. So many genius tips. I’m trying to find a method of tidying up eyelet button holes, that l’ve decided l don’t like, in a very fine mohair/silk yarn. IMO because it’s such a loose knit l can see myself buttoning up through a non existing hole next to the actual buttonhole. I DO wish l’d found you before I got to the last button hole but, definitely better late than never. As a lefthander l’m constantly worried about knitting the holes in the wrong band. Lol. Shall be following the tip of knitting them in both bands and definitely will be using your slip stitch mock cable band as l would love to decide where to put buttonholes once l’ve tried on the garment. Thank you so much!