Friday, July 24, 2009

Quick Tip: Marking Buttonholes

Sewing buttonholes can be a bit scary. First you have to get the buttonhole placements marked on the garment. Getting them evenly spaced can be a nightmare if you don't have the guide that comes with the pattern, or if you don't have one of those handy expandable buttonhole guide things. I don't have one of them, and I don't like math, so I sort of eyeball the spacing and then take a ruler to it to even out the distances between buttonholes. Anyway, my tip is not about spacing your buttonholes...though I'd love to hear how you do them, minus any math involved.

This tip is about marking your buttonholes on your garment....

Normally I just mark a "T" shaped mark for each buttonhole with sewing chalk; the line across the top marking the top where I start the buttonhole and the center line going down being the center of my buttonhole to be. Usually my chalk markings still show on the top, but I never let it bother me too much. They wash out after the first wash.

Yesterday though, I didn't want to get chalk marks on this lovely regency dress I was helping my sister-in-law make, and I had a stoke of genius (at least it felt like one!). To mark the buttonhole placement without marking on the dress, I put down a piece of 1/4 inch quilters tape along the edge of the dress back. All my buttonholes would butt up against the tape to start and thus all be exactly 1/4 inch away from the back edge. I then drew little marks on the tape to space the buttonholes apart evenly and show me where to start sewing them. Afterward, I pulled the tape off, and there were my perfectly spaced buttonholes and no chalk marks!

I'm telling you, this 1/4 inch tape comes in handy for so many things....



  1. That's a great idea.

    My grandma taught me to sew and the way she taught me to mark buttonholes is by machine basting. If the buttonholes are up and down, machine baste down the garment, and then mark the tops and bottoms of buttonholes with either chalk or a disappearing marker. If the buttonholes are to be sideways (as yours are), then machine baste two lines the width of the buttonholes, and mark the positions of the buttonholes with chalk or marker.

    Make sense? :-)

    Anyhow, that's how I do it, except that I have a buttonhole attachment to my machine, and it makes buttonholes all the same size. So I just have to worry about my starting point now.

  2. AnonymousJuly 25, 2009

    That is such a GREAT tip Jessica!!!

  3. Thank you so much for the tip. I know I will be using this one.

  4. Jillian's dress is going to be breathtakingly beautiful! Did she sew the buttonholes? I love the tip of using the quilting tape. I usually start buttonholes further from the edge, (about 1/2 an inch) but one could always use 2 strips of the tape. Great idea! The things we learn from our children.... :)

    Tammy--you description made perfect sense to me. :)

  5. this is great! thanks...I am always scared away by these. :) thanks for all your great comments on my blog, you should definatley comment more often.
    ill be back to visit again...I enjoyed your cooking blog too.:)

  6. Great tip! For years I managed to avoid buttonholes but I've had to bite the bullet and actually do some. I've got 8 to do on a dress for my DD and this tip will be handy. Thanks

  7. Brilliant beyond brilliant! I'm trying this today...thanks!