The Art of the Buttonhole Registration

Have you ever gotten to that point on a sewing project where it was time to work on the buttonholes, but just the thought filled you with anxiety or dread? I know that used to happen a lot to me!

Buttonholes are at once one of the smallest parts of tailoring, yet one of the most important. A buttonhole must be strong enough to take years of stress from buttoning and unbuttoning. And a good buttonhole makes the outfit, while a bad buttonhole can ruin an entire coat.

Years ago I put together a buttonhole tutorial, something that’s been very successful and helped a lot of people master their buttonholes. But I’ve been wanting to update it with higher-quality videos, better instruction, and have a way for you to share photos of your own work so that I could help you if necessary.

The Art of the Buttonhole

I’m now offering a free masterclass here on my website on how to sew your own buttonholes. It’s a great opportunity to learn from scratch, or improve your existing buttonhole skills.

The following material is covered in this four-day class, both in written form with photographs, and with high-definition video:

  • Buttonhole Layout
  • Cutting the Buttonholes
  • Preventing Fraying
  • Buttonhole Gimp or Four-Cord
  • The Buttonhole Stitch

You’ll also be able to post photos of your own work so that I can give you personalized tips on improving your buttonholes.

The class begins right after you join up, but you can take things at your own pace, especially if you have to order supplies.

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Enter your name and email below to register for the Art of the Buttonhole Masterclass. Be sure to check your email after signing up to confirm your registration.



Through many years of sewing, this tutorial was the most clear and comprehensive instruction I have encountered. Beginning with listing the proper materials and tools, these modules walked through precise details to make preparation, layout, and construction result in exquisite keyhole buttonholes. The professional quality videos went even further to demonstrate technique in motion.

There were steps to make layout precise, yet faster. More steps showed how to secure edges to prevent fraying, make gimp for distinctive results, and stitch beautifully.

Just as playing tennis with someone more skillful improves one’s game, sewing with this instruction will improve anyone’s level of excellence.

Kathy Bradford
Preservation Parcels
Stitch by stitch, acre by acre

I reproduce 18th century garments I only dabble in the 19th century, however, in saying this, awesome button holes have always been my down fall. When I saw your post about a workshop on button holes I said to myself, “that is exactly what I need”. Even though the button hole shape is slightly different I was positive that there would be enough similarities that I would be able to apply it to the century I specialize in, I was right. Your pictures, instruction, and video were so informative and bang on. You offer fabulous feedback on anything sent to you and tips on how to improve.


Needed Supplies

Here are the necessary supplies you’ll need for the class. I’ve provided links to some of the rarer items, but you can probably find other sources with a Googles search.

  • Tape Measure or Quilting Ruler
  • Seam Gauge
  • Beeswax
  • Small embroidery-type scissors
  • Tailor’s Chalk
  • 1/8″ Hollow Hole Punch (usually available at hardware stores).
  • 1/2″ Chisel
  • Flat Board (scraps are fine, you could go as small as a couple of inches square, used to punch open the buttonholes).
  • **Buttonhole Punch (As an alternative to the hollow punch and chisel. Only worth it if you are making hundreds of buttonholes on a professional basis).
  • Gutermann Silk Buttonhole Twist (available in 10 yard and 437 yard spools depending on the shop. Estimate 1 to 1.5 yards per buttonhole).
  • **Gutermann Buttonhole Gimp (Gives a superior buttonhole, but you can make and use four-cord instead, which is probably the better option if you’re only making a few buttonholes).
  • Sewing Thread (Something on the thin/fine side I like silk thread but cotton will work too).
  • Two equally sized pieces of fabric, approximately 4 – 6″ by 10 – 12″. These will be sewn together to mimic a coat front for practice. Wool, linen, and silk are all good options.
  • Linen (One piece to match the size of your fabric to act as a canvas).


I hope you will join me in this fun and exciting class!

— James Williams