How to Make Buttonholes - Step by Step Guide

Some ardent lovers of sewing crafts never look forward to making buttonholes. They find them tricky and time-wasting but once they learn the fast and simple way of sewing a buttonhole, they discover it’s not as difficult as it appears.

This article will show you a simple step-by-step guide on how to make a buttonhole with a basic sewing machine. If you possess one of those high-tech sewing machines, then making them will be ‘a breeze’. Just follow these five simple steps and you are on your way to making the perfect buttonhole.

To sew the perfect buttonhole, you will first need to know the measurement of the button you intend to use and the exact position where you intend to fix it.

For instance, if you plan to use a button that’s half an inch wide (measure its diameter if it’s a round button and its widest part for square or oddly shaped buttons), you will have to make your buttonhole size, minus the top and bottom finished ends, half an inch.


Step-by-Step Instructions


  1. Measure and mark the 1/2″ measurement (we are using a half-inch diameter button as our example) exactly where you want the button to be. The centre-line of the cut buttonhole must correspond with the centre-line of your button.
  2. Use a tailor’s chalk or a chalk pencil to make your markings. Ensure your measurements are exact. Many sewing machines have a buttonhole setting (or foot), but if yours doesn’t come with one, you can use the following methods to make a buttonhole.
  3. Use the zigzag function of your machine to mark a “bar tack”. A bar tack is made by using a wide zigzag stitch to sew stitches back and forth a few times in place on the fabric. These bar tacks are sewn at the top and bottom of the buttonhole, but the first one you should start with is the one at the top end of the buttonhole position. The bar tack is made with tight and wide stitching.
  4. When this is achieved, set your sewing machine’s zigzag function to a narrow and tight stitch and sew the first side of the hole. Go down this side till you reach the other end of the buttonhole.
  5. Repeat the tight wide bar tack stitches at the bottom as you did the top bar tack.
  6. Reset your machine to give you a tight narrow zigzag and then sew your narrow stitches up the second side of the buttonhole to complete the function.


Lock the stitches in place by setting your stitch width to zero. Sew a few stitches to finish your buttonhole. On completion of the process, carefully make a cut in the middle of the buttonhole with a seam ripper (see above sketch).

Your buttonhole making task is completed.








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