Saturday, July 16, 2016

Bound Buttonhole Tutorial

I have had several requests for a little picture tutorial of my method for making bound buttonholes. I posted this photo last week on my Facebook page and the Classic Sewing Magazine Facebook page. 
It is a close up of a bound buttonhole made with (somewhat enhanced) mini piping using a piping foot on my sewing machine.  

The bound buttonholes are featured on this project which will be a new class in 2017.  The jacket and dress fabric are cotton twill from Fabric Finders paired with a 100% pima cotton traditional tartan from Spechler/Vogel.  The easy fitting raglan sleeve jacket has lots of construction details....bound buttonholes, double welt bias cut front pockets (which look like huge bound buttonholes), bias cut collar overlay, bias cut cuff turnbacks, mini piping on all perimeter edges, and  a pleated back with piped tab. 

The coordinating dress features a bodice front overlay with a bias cut contrast tartan band, bias cut tartan sleeve overlays, piped back belt with bound buttonholes, and buttons all the way down the back.  The hem is bound and shaped to accomodate the A-line of the pleated skirt.

Project kits will be available in several color options - should be something that appeals to everyone.

Here is a picture step-by-step of my methond for making the bound buttonholes.  

1.  Clearly mark the placement of the buttonhole(s) on the right side of the fabric.  For a 1" button (for the  jacket) I marked a 1 1/8" buttonhole and for a 1/2" button (back belt on dress) I marked a 5/8" buttonhole. Work over interfaced fabric.   

  2. Draw in two more lines each an accurate 1/8" away from the center placement line.

3.  Make enough piping for the length of each buttonhole plus 1" (x's 2).  For this weight of fabric I found using two strands of filler cord instead of one made for a studier, better proportioned bound buttonhole.  I did not adjust my needle position as close to the cord as I normally would for single strand piping.  Trim the seam allowance down to an accurate 1/8".  I checked and it appears none of the piping rulers on the market will cut a seam allowance down to 1/8" so you will have to have a steady hand to make an accurate cut.

4. Cut the piping the length of the buttonhole plus 1".  Lay the seamline of the piping on the outer line of the marked buttonhole.  The raw edge of the seam allowance should just touch the center marked line.  Using your piping foot and adjusting the needle position as necessary to stitch close to the cord, stitch (1.5L) over the seamline on the piping  EXACTLY between the two marked vertical edges.  Backstitch at the beginning and the end.  Repeat for the second strip of piping.  The two 1/8" seam allowances should just touch on the center line.  I prefer to use the open toe applique foot to make piping on my Pfaff (rather than the mini piping foot).  One 'toe' on the foot is exactly 1/4" wide which is super helpful when lining up the strips for the buttonhole. I love my Pfaff - it has 29 needle positions which allows superb accuracy when working with piping.   

5.  The back should look like this,  Slash down the center of the back to within 1/4" at each end. Make a 'Y' cut out to the end of the stitching at each end,  

6.  Pull the piping strips through to the wrong side.  Gently press.  

7. Fold the jacket front out of the way and stitch down the little triangle at each end of the buttonhole.  Trim the excess piping down to 1/4" at each end of the buttonhole.  

8.  The following photos show the method I used to finish the lining side of the bound buttonhole.  I used silk organza with the lining window 'patch'. 


  1. Great Tutorial, Gail. This will be another wonderful class!

  2. As always, a clear, concise tutorial (with pictures!) that we can refer to and learn from for our projects! Love the new outfit, would love to tackle this,love bound buttonholes and welt pockets! And the tartan trim? Heavenly! Another "must do" for my new granddaughter! Maybe March???

  3. great tutorial... thanks! So..... where and when will these classes be??
    Marie - db

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  5. Hi Marie,
    At the moment this set is one of the proposed classes at It's Sew Heavenly ( in Youngsville Louisiana in March 2017, Children's Corner (www.children' in Nashville Tennessee in April 2017, and probably severval other locations throughout the year. I will TRY to keep my teaching schedule updated at the very end of the blog.

    1. I am so excited to see you in Nashville. This is one part of my prayer and if God will supply the money needed. I am praying for my husband to get well enough to get back to work ( this is my first and foremost prayer) maybe we can catch up enough for me to take this class

    2. I am so excited to see you in Nashville. This is one part of my prayer and if God will supply the money needed. I am praying for my husband to get well enough to get back to work ( this is my first and foremost prayer) maybe we can catch up enough for me to take this class

  6. Thank you so much for posting this tutorial Gail. I have already passed on the link to another sewing sister who is in the midst of working on bound buttonholes.

  7. Thank you so much for this tutorial and this is a beautiful outfit. I am praying to attend your cl.ass soon. I had planned to attend the SAGA and take a class but my husband still hasn't gone back to work after his stroke so I may have to wait longer

  8. I just now saw you were going to be at Children's Corner in Nashville Tn. That is close enough for me to go. I pray I can come up with the money for your class, if my husband can get back to work it might be possible. I am going to pray God supplies a way for me to take your class. I am so excited!!!!! Maybe God will supply a way....

  9. Perfect buttonholes. Great work Thank you for share

  10. Oh I just saw you are going to be back at Children's Corner in April 2018. I am going to start praying for the funds to go this year. I want to take a class with you so much. It has been on my bucket list for several years, maybe this is my year.


Teaching Schedule for 2018

6-11 Sewing at the Beach
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

22-26 - Private Class

19-23 Teaching Studio
St. Louis, Missouri
(or text 314 974 7561)

7-8 Bewitching Stitchers
Boston, Mass

10-14 Children's Corner
Nashville, Tennessee
Contact; www.children'

20-22 Bewitching Stitchers

30-June 2 Private Class

4-9 Private class

23-27 Private Class

7-8 New Orleans/Baton Rouge SAGA

17-23 SAGA National Convntion
Winston/Salem North Carolina

4-10 Beating Around the Bush
Adelaide, Australia

29 - Nov 2
Teaching Studio
St. Louis, Missouri
(or text 314 974 7561)

6-10 Private Class

I have several open dates in 2018 for private or public groups.
For teaching information, a current class list, and available dates, contact