Did you know you should have special thread to make buttonholes by hand? I definitely didn’t!
My friend asked me to make a cushion for a reading cube she uses at her preschool. She wanted a cover she could take off and wash, so I ordered a 27×27″ pillow off Amazon and made a simple cover to go with it. I decided at the end that I wanted the cover to button shut but sadly my sewing machine doesn’t do fancy things like that. I did find an awesome tutorial on how to sew a buttonhole by hand, but I didn’t have any of the kinds of thread it called for. I didn’t really want to run out and spend money on fancy thread so I decided to improvise!
Regular thread seemed way too thin so I decided to substitute normal weight embroidery floss for buttonhole gimp (apparently upholstery thread would work too but I don’t have any of that either) and I used pearl cotton thread (size 8) in the place of buttonhole twist. I already had pearl cotton because it’s what I used to crochet lace edges on handkerchiefs I gave away for my wedding.
I followed the instructions and worked my way around the hole (the blue is wash-away embroidery needle I used to mark the places I wanted the buttons). The tutorial warned that the first couple would look terrible – I think you can see an improvement between the first and the third. The pearl cotton is thicker than what I needed I think but it got the job done alright.
Hot tip: measure the opening and make sure your buttons will fit before you sew the hole! I skipped this step and then ended up wetting the fabric and blow-drying the hole with the button wedged mid-pass to stretch it so it would fit easier. It worked, but I can’t say I recommend it!
I also noticed after I had finished all three that I put the “knot bump” on the outside and it should be on the inside! Oh well. Good thing the pillow will be sat on by children all day and no one will notice!
It also is funny to think that making buttonholes by hand is becoming a lost art! I am so glad that there are people sharing their wisdom on blogs to share these skills before they are forgotten.
I have a new appreciation for buttonholes tonight – when was the last time you looked at something you use everyday in a different light?