Quick Tip: Selecting and Stitching Beautiful Buttonholes

June 29, 2020By Joanne BankoFashion, Garment, Quick Tip, Sewing, Tutorial 18 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

This quick tip is designed to get you thinking about selecting and stitching beautiful buttonholes. A good start is to go ahead and stitch yourself a buttonhole sampler. Begin with two layers of a firm woven fabric and add interfacing or stabilizer between the layers. Choose a good quality, smooth sewing thread and thread top and bobbin with the same thread. Consider sewing buttonholes using the same thread you use for embroidery. I’ve been doing this for many years! On most occasions I actually prefer embroidery thread, as it mimics the sheen and smooth quality of pure silk thread. I also love the fact that Brother Polyester Embroidery Thread comes in so many colors. In the example below, standard polyester sewing thread was used on the left and embroidery thread was used on the right. See Figure #1.

Thread Types
Figure #1

To stitch your sampler, begin at the beginning of the buttonhole menu and continue until you have stitched out each and every style.
Note: Buttonholes shown here are from utility stitch menu No.4 on the Brother Luminaire Machine. See Figure #2.

Button Holes
Figure #2

Your sampler will help you determine if a style will look good on your project. There are some common practices when it comes to buttonholes but you’re the designer, so choose the buttonhole that suits your taste! Most of the rectangular or rounded end buttonholes can be used interchangeably. Keyhole buttonholes are designed for use with buttons that have an attached shank. Buttonhole 4-12 is for making a bound buttonhole. Watch for a future tutorial for that particular style! The last buttonhole on the far left is used when your button circumference is too large for the opening on the one-step “automatic” buttonhole foot. This selection allows for a manual buttonhole made by drawing the length of the buttonhole on the fabric and following four separate steps to stitch the right and left legs and the top and bottom bartacks.

Looking for more specific on each buttonhole built-in to your machine? Various Brother machine models have on screen help for you to access. Below you’ll see how I found more buttonhole information for my all-time favorite round end buttonhole on the Brother Luminaire. See Figure #3a, #3b, and #3c.

Option A
Figure #3a
Option B
Figure #3b
Option C
Figure #3c

You can also check your manual for more information and details such as those shown below in Figure #4.

Figure #4

I hope these tips set you on a path to happily stitching your own beautiful buttonholes!



  • Lovely to see a techniques post again. When you come back with the bound buttonhole technique could you please show beginners how to do a corded buttonhole too. Very few people I come across know how to do this and have no idea what the small protusion on the buttonhole foot is for. If we want our clothes to last corded buttonholes are a very good option in my opinion. They also look really nice because of the added texture.

    • Hi Sis!
      I love your suggestion for a corded button hole tutorial. It is now on my “to do” list. You are so right about the extra durability factor. Also, the cording gives that style of buttonhole and smooth filled in look. Watch for the tutorial to come in the near future. Thanks for checking in and sharing your thoughts 🙂

  • This was very interesting, unfortunately I don’t own that machine . I still
    learned some useful ideas. Thank you, love your newsletter!

    • Thanks for leaving your comment Linda! I appreciate your encouraging words on the newsletter too. Keep in touch!

  • Love this kind of post! It made me think of a techniques notebook I did for a sewing class a few years ago. This is going to be my next addition to it! A great follow up is a technique to space multiple buttonholes on a garment.

    • Hello Juanita!
      Thanks for your suggestion about buttonhole spacing. I’ll put it on my list of tips and tricks to cover. A techniques notebook is so useful. Your idea to keep adding to it is spot on!

  • That is a very good idea w the button holes & not a lot of people will play w there machines & make samples. I have not done a button hole sample & being it’s going to get real hot out today & I’m up bright & early I may set up outside cut a project up to sew & practice some button holes for a shirt I want to make for my dad. For a show & tell for a sewing club I am in.

    • Hi Renee!
      Thanks for leaving a note here. Can’t wait to hear how your samples came out. Hope I get to see the shirt too!!!

  • Thank you for the great button hole tips! I never thought to make a reference sample! And I never thought of using embroidery thread. This is a really useful article!
    Thanks so much for all of your information. It is always so helpful!

    • Hi June!
      Glad you liked the post. I hope these tips help you to make some great projects 🙂

  • Very helpful. I didn’t know the keyhole buttonholes were for shank buttons. Thank you for all the vital info you share. I appreciate you. God bless.

    • Thanks for your kind comments Daryle! I’m so happy to know you find the info helpful. Happy Sewing!

  • More options than ever to make lovely, perfect buttonholes. We’ve come a long way baby!

    • Hi Sandi! It was good to hear from you!

      I can remember making buttonholes with a big clunky attachemnt that took half a day to set up and figure out. Today they are easy and effortless on our Brother machines 🙂

  • I admit that I tend to shy away from buttonholes! I can see the merit for making a sampler of buttonholes, thank you.

    • Hi Patti!

      I am sure if you make a buttonhole sampler you will gain confidence. You’ll find that they are really fun to stitch out. Thanks for writing! I appreciate hearing from you 🙂

  • These are some great tips. I like the look of poly thread. I have to admit I haven’t utilized all of the options I have on my machine.

    • Hi Dj!

      So glad you liked the tips. I stitch almost all of my buttonholes with embroidery thread and I’ve been doing that for years. Since the thread is a bit finer you can also experiment with shortening the stitch length if you would like a denser buttonhole on some fabrics. If you do that with regular thread it tends to bunch up the stitches. Besides, I have far more colors of decorative thread on hand than I do of regular thread. I hope you’ll give this a try 🙂 These tutorials are designed to help you make the most of your machine. Happy Sewing!

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