Most sewing directions instruct you to mark buttonholes’ placement by putting pins in the fabric above and below where each button should go or by using dressmaker’s chalk to draw lines on the fabric. If you’ve had trouble with these techniques, try marking the buttonhole placements on a paper towel pinned to the garment instead. When you sew the buttonholes, the paper towel marks provide an easy-to-see guide for perfect positioning. You can then reuse the same paper towel to place the buttons.
Things You’ll Need
- paper towel
- measuring tape
- pen or fine marker
- straight pins
- sewing machine
- seam ripper
- hand sewing needle
Mark the Buttonholes on the Paper Towel
- Pin a paper towel to the garment next to where you want the buttonholes so that the paper towel’s edge is slight to the left of where the buttonholes will be. (You don’t want to sew the paper towel to the garment.) For some garments, you may need to use several sheets to make the paper towel large enough.
- Lay the buttons out on the paper towel, spacing them evenly. Use a measuring tape to check the distance between each button and adjust them as needed.
- With a fine pen or marker, draw a line on the paper towel at the top and bottom of each button to mark its place. Then remove the buttons.
Sew the Buttonholes
- Set your sewing machine to buttonhole stitch the first side of the buttonhole. (If you don’t have a buttonhole stitch, a narrow zig-zag stitch with a concise stitch length will work.)
- Position the garment in the sewing machine, with the needle next to the top buttonhole mark on the paper towel.
- Lower the needle and begin stitching. Stop when you reach the lower mark for the buttonhole.
- Stitch the lower end of the buttonhole.
- Stitch the right side of the buttonhole. Stop when you reach the upper mark for the buttonhole.
- Stitch the top of the buttonhole.
- Remove the garment from the sewing machine. Clip any threads.
- Carefully use the seam ripper to poke a hole in the buttonhole’s fabric, near the bottom and the top.
- Carefully use the seam ripper to tear open the fabric within the buttonhole stitching. Clip any loose threads.
Repeat the steps above for each buttonhole.
Place the Buttons
- Unpin the paper towel from the buttonhole side of the garment and pin it to the opposite side. Make sure to position the paper towel so that the markings will line up with the buttonholes on the other garment side.
- Sew each button on the garment, using the markings on the paper towel as a guide.
- Unpin the paper towel and discard it.
The buttons and buttonholes should now line up perfectly.
Thank you for reading!