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How to place buttonholes evenly

Jun 17, 2011

Maple Street Cardigan

The Maple Street Cardigan     

The current Knitting Daily Knit-Along is the Maple Street Cardigan, and I'm getting close to doing the buttonhole band. I've tried lots of techniques to place buttonholes evenly, including counting rows between the holes, doing some math to determine the space between each hole, and my favorite—eyeballing it and hoping for the best!

As you can guess, I've had varying degrees of success with these methods.

I decided to try and find a new method that would work for me, and my first stop was series 600 of Knitting Daily TV; I thought I remembered something that Eunny demonstrated, and I was right.


Figure 1

Figure 2

Using just a piece of paper and a pen, Eunny has put me on the road to even buttonholes every time. I just love her!

Placing Your Buttons and Buttonholes Evenly

1. Take a strip of no-stretch string or a piece of paper and make it the length of exactly the beginning and ending points for the buttons.

2. Fold the string or paper into four equal segments.

3. Mark these four segments with a pen or pencil and hold the string or paper up to the knitting (Figure 1).

4. Place markers or pins where the buttons are to be placed.

5. You can also mark the string or paper with size of button to know how big to make the buttonhole (Figure 2).

Here's a clip from KDTV to show you the process, too.

A note about buttonhole size: Don't make buttonholes exactly the same size as your buttons. Make them a little smaller if possible so the buttons will stay in the hole. I've made the mistake of making buttonholes too large, and while it's easy to stitch them closed a little bit, why not make them the right size in the first place?

There are so many tips, tricks, and inspiration in every episode of Knitting Daily TV, and we have several DVD sets on sale in our Hurt Book and Overstock sale.

So don't watch reruns this summer, get Knitting Daily TV on DVD and learn something new!


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on Jun 18, 2011 8:30 AM

I prefer horizontal button holes that will lock the button in to the corner.  Vertical button holes tend to more easily allow the button to slip out.  I too prefer to count rows in planning button hole placement. Once a garment  or section is washed and blocked, the placement is more reliable, assuming the knitter has fairly even tension throughout.  I place my buttons on the button band to align with the button holes and only after blocking.  

Agrace wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 10:36 PM

I find the margin for error for this tehnique is too great. I am a firm believer in that you can not go wrong by counting rows. It is too easy to stretch or pull knitting to make it "fit" the space you are trying to create..we all want to get finished in a hurry.

CaroleS@9 wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 7:44 PM

I am so glad you wrote this article on buttonholes.I have tried for years to get the buttons spaced out evenly. Thank you so much.  carole sisman

EllenS@2 wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 5:22 PM

It's useful to place your first button or button holes right at the bust and then arranging the other buttons or button holes.That way your sweater won't gap at the bust when you button it up.

AudreyD@2 wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 3:52 PM

I've never made knitted button holes before, just crocheted ones. I usually crochet the buttons into the work, like beads (this works better with a shank button, obviously) , so that they won't come off and then I make the holes to fit where I put the buttons.

JenniferS@6 wrote
on Jun 17, 2011 3:32 PM

I can see how that would help with the placing of the buttons but not the buttonHOLES. Eunny doesn't really cover that in the video, not to mention that her instruction is misleading--as the text points out--since you actually want the button hole to be smaller than the button. I think placing buttonholes is infinitely more challenging than placing buttons, since the latter can be easily changed. I

on Jun 17, 2011 8:26 AM

Wow. this button placement trick would have been good for the cardigan sweater that I was working on recently. I redid sections just to get the button spacing right.