Buttonhole Stitch

Buttonhole Stitch

buttonhole stitch sample 9

Buttonhole stitch, or blanket stitch as many people call it, is actually the foundation stitch for many varieties of buttonhole. This stitch is often used along the edge of projects — often blankets — hence the name. Never underestimate a stitch like buttonhole, as it is a marvellously versatile stitch. Buttonhole can also be worked in a freeform manner with the rows stacked to create texture. The illustration above is worked in a fine woollen yarn, which was hand-dyed. Other textures and patterns can be created if you experiment with changing the spacing and height of the upright arms.

How to work Buttonhole Stitch (Blanket stitch)

Buttonhole stitch is worked from left to right along two imaginary lines. Bring the thread out on the lower line. Insert the needle on the upper line making a straight downward motion.

buttonhole stitch step by step 1Loop the working thread under the needle point. Pull the needle through the fabric to form a loop. Repeat this process along the line.

buttonhole stitch step by step 2

You can create many interesting patterns with this stitch. For example,  by varying the arm length you can create shapes.

buttonhole stitch sample 1If you change the baseline you can create interesting variations too.

buttonhole stitch sample 3It can be fun to work out different patterns

buttonhole stitch sample 2Some become little motifs in their own right

buttonhole stitch sample 4Or buttonhole stitches can be worked back-to-back.

buttonhole stitch sample 6You can build up interesting patterned bands

buttonhole stitch sample 5Play with the spacing working the upright parts closely together, or work them further apart.

buttonhole stitch sample 10This sample is buttonhole worked in various threads. Try working it different threads, on different fabrics, or fabrics that have been hand-dyed or you can add beads,  overlap lines of the stitch, or use it to couch down another thread or ribbon.

buttonhole stitch sample 11Here I was experimenting with leaf shapes

buttonhole stitch sample 8Of course, this is a popular stitch used in crazy quilting.

Crazy quilt Block 74 detail 488
Here I have worked a line of buttonhole stitch in perle #5 cotton. With a silk thread I added French knots and Cast on stitch loops. The seam was then finished with seed beads and bugle beads.You can see the crazy quilt block this detail came from here

Have you seen my Stitchers Templates?

marking a seam using my stitchers Templates

As someone who loves crazy quilting and embroidery, I designed these templates with fellow stitchers in mind. You can use them to create hundreds of different patterns to apply to your stitching and crazy quilting projects. They are easy to use, totally clear so you can position them easily and they are compact in your sewing box. And we laser cut them in our own studio to ensure the best quality.

To see what they look like, find out about the free ebook of patterns that come with them visit the information pages. You can find out more about set 1 on this page.  To find out more about set 2 visit this page
Or go directly to the Pintangle shop to purchase them.

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  1. Pingback: embroidery stitches buttonhole stitch - Studio Paars: embroidery classes

  2. Fabulous stitch Sharon, with so many permutations and variations ! I do my buttonhole stitch another way so need to do a quick training in that, anyway many thanks,
    Kind regards Andy LW, Bath.

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  8. I am afraid I have done a bit of very ordinary burttonhole stitch as I was making a tiny felt heart and used it to sew the heart together and to put on a bit of embellishment. I havent a lot of time at the moment as I have family and friend commitments, promise to do better with the variations, but I had done a lot of that on other challenges I have done with Sharon. on my blog

  9. Hi! I just started sewing again. Mom tried to teach me when I was a kid, but I just wasn't interested. As an adult, I've beaded jewelry, played with polymer clay, crocheted tons of afghans, done a bit of drawing, and dabbled with loom knitting. This year I decided to try to sew again. I kind of like it. Who knew? I posted my first two attempts on FLICKR, both on the Take a Stitch Tuesday site and on my own, Jandikk. Take a peek and let me know what you think.

    Karen Jandik
  10. Good morning, after procrastinating, and feeling behind, I finally decided to make my cover piece using the fly and buttonhole stitches. This was really fun, and I look forward to learning more each week. I am enjoying all of the links to all the wonderful stitchery. visiting is such an eye opener and inspiration to all the creativity that is around the world. Thank you all.

    Here is the link to my page.

  11. A favorite of mine, so it was quick and fun to do! I went with 'blanket' because buttonhole has more letters to stitch! ;D


    Also, a question from a newbie for you, Sharon:

    On the stitch dictionary page of each stitch you list other stitches that the current stitch is related to; should we be considering those as options for the sample, as well, or will TAST eventually get around to devoting a week to each of those other stitches? Ex. will I get a chance later in the year to work buttonhole bars, or closed feather, or the wonderfully titled Up and Down Buttonhole Feathered (!), or was this week my only chance to do all those? Just wondering how far I can take it further.
    Thanks for your time, sorry for these elementary questions.
    XX Nat

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