How to hand embroider Reversed Buttonhole Bar

Reversed Buttonhole Bar creates a textured braid like stitch that is great to use as a textured border or edging. You can use it as a linear stitch too making it a very versatile stitch to add to the stitches you use. This stitch is also known as Buttonhole with extra line.

Reversed Buttonhole Bar  is worked on a foundation row of buttonhole stitch.

How to work Reversed Buttonhole Bar

Reversed Buttonhole Bar
Commence this stitch by creating a foundation row of buttonhole stitches spaced evenly apart. In the sample I have illustrated these with the aqua thread.

Turn your work so that the base of the buttonhole is at the top.
Work from right to left. Bring your needle out on the right of the first buttonhole ladder.
Tuck the needle under the bar, then wrap the thread under the needle like you would in buttonhole.

Reversed Buttonhole Bar 2
Pull the needle through so that the thread forms a loop around the bar

Reversed Buttonhole Bar 3
Note : You are not stitching through the fabric. You are just looping the thread around the bar.
I have changed the colour of my threads so that you can see clearly how the stitch is worked.

Reversed Buttonhole Bar 4
Move to the next bar and create the second loop the same way as you did the first. Continue along the band until you have reached the end.

Reversed Buttonhole Bar 5

Variations on Reversed Buttonhole Bar

All the written references to this stitch I have leave the stitch at that. However,  you can increase the number of lines to produce a thick braid like stitch.

This stitch is also very effective worked in a circle. Two varieties are illustrated here. The first has the foundation buttonhole arms pointing outwards and the second points inwards.
Since the foundation of this stitch is buttonhole it will follow a curve well and you can vary the direction and height of the buttonhole arms to create even more interesting effects. This is where all those experiments with buttonhole come in handy.

This stitch looks particularly good in a thread that has a firm twist like perle 5 but the top looping stitches can be done in fine ribbons and textured threads. You can also add beads too!

I hope you enjoy experimenting with Reversed Buttonhole Bar stitch as once you get the rhythm of working you can be very creative with it.

Have you seen my book?

holding my book in front of quilt

My book The Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design: Simple Stitches, Stunning Results  shares detailed practical methods about how to design and make a crazy quilt. From fabric choice, to balancing colour, texture and pattern, in order to balance and direct the eye around the block.  I cover how to stitch, build decorative seam treatments in interesting and creative ways. My book is profusely illustrated as my aim was to be practical and inspiring.
Crazy quilt template set 2 Have you seen my Stitchers Templates?

As someone who loves crazy quilting and embroidery I designed these templates with other stitchers in mind. With my templates you can create hundreds of different patterns to use in your stitching projects. They are easy to use, totally clear so you can position them easily and are compact in your sewing box.

Templates set 1 you will find here 
Templates set 2 you will find here 


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15 Responses to How to hand embroider Reversed Buttonhole Bar

  1. Volkstein says:

    Tres joli et agréable merci Sharon

  2. Hi Sharon,
    A lovely stitch to work with, started on my sampler here-
    Thank you, And a very Happy Christmas!

  3. Barbara M says:

    A lovely stitch, very quick to work!
    I used 2 rows back to back to form the wreath and included fly stitch, back stitch, satin stitch, french knots and stem stitch.

  4. Angela says:

    Thanks for the instructions for this stitch Sharon. I really enjoyed learning it. You can see my first attempt at

    I definitely want to try it again!

  5. Annet says:

    I stitched crossed and plaited feather stitch on the last space that was left on my 14 count Aida sampler:
    There’s a Flickr album with my Aida sampler and all details:

  6. Annet says:

    Again, this is one of those stitches I tried ones and forgot all about it. I’ve made 2 simple rows in 2010 when I was catching up on TAST 2007 and wrote about them here:

  7. michele says:

    as usual your lesson is clear and I think we follow easily the class . I like your works . Thank you very much for your offers .
    I wish you a merry Xmas and that 2014 will give you , support , health and friendship
    best regards


  8. Jayne Slovick says:

    I have admired your work and dedication to teaching ever since I stumbled onto your site many years ago. Thank you for all that you’ve taught me. I don’t comment usually, but I really appreciate all that you do. I am signed up for your class next year so will be keeping in touch.

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