How to hand Embroider a Buttonhole bar

How to hand Embroider a Buttonhole bar

hand embroidered buttonhole bar sample 1Buttonhole bar is often used in traditional pulled and drawn needlework or in combination with needle weaving. However it is an underestimated stitch as if you use it in a freeform manner it is interesting, fun and I find it highly addictive!

hand embroidered buttonhole bar sampleButtonhole bar is also easier to sew than most people realise. The main trick is to keep your tension even, so stretch the fabric in an needlework hoop or frame while you work.

In order to work a buttonhole bar you need to know how to work buttonhole stitch so if you are beginner make sure you know basic buttonhole first.

How to work a Buttonhole bar

Start with two or three horizontal straight stitches across the area you wish the bar to lay.

buttonhole bar step 1This forms the bar on which you sew.

buttonhole bar step 2Work from left to right. Bring the thread out on the lower left hand side of the straight stitches you have just created.

Work a buttonhole stitch over the bar of straight stitches. You do not pass the needle through the fabric, just under the bar.

buttonhole bar step 3As you work nudge the stitches long the bar so that they are snug but not so tight they twist the bar.

buttonhole bar step 4Take your needle to the back and secure it.

buttonhole bar step 5


Here are a few more samples of contemporary hand embroidery that contain Buttonhole bar stitch.

hand embroidered buttonhole barhand embroidered buttonhole barhand embroidered buttonhole barWhen you first learn this stitch use a thread such perle #8 or #5. When you have mastered it experiment with other threads such as metallic, novelty or textured threads.

Hand dyed multicoloured threads can also look interesting as with this type of thread the colour shifts along the bar.

Since it is important to sew the buttonhole stitches over the foundation threads without entering the fabric use a blunt ended needle such as a Tapestry needle of suitable size for the buttonhole stage of the stitch.

I hope you enjoy the stitch!


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