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Three Ways to Open a Buttonhole

Learn about different ways to cut open a buttonhole for a clean look. Each uses a different tool and would work best for different fabrics.

I know a lot of people are afraid of buttonholes, but the truth for me is that I would rather sew buttons and buttonholes than inserting a zipper. There’s something classic about buttons and buttonholes that can’t be broken like a zipper or snaps.

I really love buttons and buttonholes on childrens’ clothing because of the extra details it adds. I’ve opened buttonholes in the same way for years and years. More than a decade. I had learned a certain way how to open buttonholes and didn’t realize there was different ways.

3 Ways to Open a Buttonhole // heatherhandmade.com

I wanted to test some different ways to open a buttonhole, and found three that I prefer. These are the ones I’ll use in the future depending on my fabric and project.

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Comparing Three Cheyenne Tunics // heatherhandmade.com

how to open a buttonhole

It’s hard to show these tools in action through pictures, so I made a video to show the techniques better. Each of these are simple, but can be used when it’s best for you.

1. Dritz Seam Ripper* and Glass Head Pins*

Insert a glass head pin on each side of the buttonhole to protect the edges from being cut. Starting in the middle insert the seam ripper and cut through the fabric.

Cut through the other side too. (Always use pins! If you think you won’t cut through the stitches, you will. I have!) Open the buttonhole to make sure it has a clean and fully open hole.

3 Ways to Open a Buttonhole // heatherhandmade.com

2. Fiskars Fabric Knife* and Glass Head Pins*

Insert a glass head pin on each side of the buttonhole to protect the edges from being cut. Starting in the middle use the fabric knife to cut through to the end. Then cut through the other side.

The knife uses a pulling motion while the seam ripper uses a pushing motion. You can use the tool that works best for you. Open the buttonhole to make sure it has a clean and fully open hole.

3 Ways to Open a Buttonhole // heatherhandmade.com

3. Fiskars Fabric Knife* and Cutting Mat*

Put the cutting mat underneath the fabric with the buttonhole stitches. Place the buttonhole blade on one side and push down until the you feel the blade cut the fabric.

Move the blade to the other end and push down again to cut through the fabric. Open the buttonhole to make sure it has a clean and fully open hole.

3 Ways to Open a Buttonhole // heatherhandmade.com

Have you tried all of these techniques? How do you like to open a buttonhole?

If you make something using this tutorial, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and tag me!

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[…] around to the front. I left off the waistband and added two buttonholes for the straps to come out. Learn how to open a buttonhole. I also added to rows of stitching around the waist for the […]