Sewing buttonholes by hand

Something I’ve been too lazy to do myself- a video on sewing buttonholes by hand. It’s in Japanese but I think the images speak for themselves. Slightly different technique from mine, I will try this one out and report (minus the paper template- how do they get that to stick?). And if anyone speaks japanese and feels inclined to translate I am sure there are many besides just me who would be interested.


I like it. It’s a nice, low-profile buttonhole with a less bulky purl.

15 Replies to “Sewing buttonholes by hand

  1. Thank you for sharing the video. I went in search of the rest of the story. The second part of the video shows basting stitches being removed from the paper template, though it does seem that it was held down by more than just a few stitches.

  2. thanks for this…I've been looking for some clear instructions for a while, this really helps.

  3. Take a plain 3×5 card, cut the paper template to size, press it down firmly on the fabric and chalk the outline. Then turn the template over, brush it lightly with rubber cement that has been diluted somewhat with rubber cement thinner, flip it over, press it down on the fabric just inside the framework of chalk marks and allow it to set properly.

    You might also try a light spray of mastic on the contact side of the template as an alternative technique There are different kinds of mastic available–some weak, others quite strong–all of which can be found at a good art supply store.

    Whatever adhesive you end up using, test it beforehand on a scrap of fabric to made sure it can be removed easily and won't leave a permanent stain on your work.

    When you've finished handstitching the buttonhole, removed the template carefully. If there is any gummy residue of rubber cement visible, you should be able to remove it with a wipe of a clean rough rag or a brisk brush with a brand-new toothbrush. The hardness of the bristles will depend upon the weave and thickness of the fabric.

  4. Jeffery,

    Anonymous is better known as Jordan Marc Benedict, or JMB. We've exchanged comments before on another forum. You might recall we chatted about that dropdead gorgeous wedding gown you made (the bride wanted you to make it look like heavy cream had been poured over her) and the beautiful white strapless gown you whipped up for your sister so she could be the beauty at the party that night. Happy to have found your site. It's splendid!

  5. I really like sewing because i can create every thing like a skirt, blouse, pants or dresses and desing my own style. When i am sewing i usually feel my imagination flies. I think i am appationated about this.

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  6. "paper template- how do they get that to stick?"

    Not how they did it, but how I would do it:

    Option 1) Cut the template from the edge of a Post-It note.

    Option 2) Print the template on ordinary 80gm bond on the old inkjet and spray the back with 3M ReMount – which is essentially Post-It note adhesive in a spray can.
    I've used the ReMount for sticking patterns and templates to all sorts of things and nowadays I wouldn't be without a can in my box of tricks.

  7. The video does not show – what is the youtube tag cos I cant view it for some reason – using ubuntu…

    Regards – Edward James Tagg

  8. Hi there

    Thanks for posting this Jeff.I am on the start of my journey to work handmade buttonholes. Have ordered from the supplier you mentioned in your blog…..the guys in London; they have been fantastically helpful.

    May I ask, what tool do you use for the shaped end of your buttonholes, I have an awl, or do I need a special punch, for uniformity?? Also, would you share with us, what is the handstitching needle of your choice when working with the Gutermann R753 thread. I so want to get this as right as possible. You are a Master and I hope that with much practice, I may get there!!

    Oh, can you purchase the templates, or is this just too ocd of me??!! You do yours perfectly without, but I am a learner………….

  9. Try shipping labels. They are sticky and remove well. Also, another tip is to take a screen shot of the template and scale it on a photo editing program, copy it to word and make tons of templates to print out on your shipping labels. I did this and it worked very well. good luck!

  10. Hi there,

    I thought I would add an update if thats ok?
    After months of trying to get these templates, Mr Hukutsukuro found my request on his Japanese site……..I couldn't get the order page to translate.

    Mr Hukutsukuro has his manual and templates available for sale at 1,500 yen, which currently converts to £11.00. It is a secure specialist Japanese download site and you can safely pay via payal or other credit cards. The beauty of it, is you immediately get the downloads, so in minutes you have the manual and the templates. You are allowed to download them all 10 times over a specified period.

    He is a lovely gentleman, by day, a hardworking dad working in a sewing factory. The Link to purchase is info.php/productsid/215326/title/Sew-a-Buttonhole-set

    Aren't we all lucky to have Jefferey, Hukutsukuro and others helping us to perfect our buttonholes.

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