Buttons remain one of the easiest ways to fasten clothing, and attaching a button is as easy as making several stitches though the little holes in its center. But if you're sewing your own clothes, you need to know more than how to attach buttons -- you also need to know how to create secure, attractive button holes. Read on to learn how to make button holes by hand.

Step 1: Mark your button holes.

Use your sewing pattern to determine where the button holes should be placed on your project. If you're sewing more free-hand and without a pattern, fold your project to see where the buttons (which you should already have placed on the project at this point) line up. Mark the proper location of each button with a chalk line. In general, you want your button holes to be 1/8 inch longer than your buttons are wide. Measure your chalk lines to these specifications. For example, if your button is 1/2 inch wide, your line should be 5/8 inch long. Your chalk line should be as thick as your button is, too. So, if your button is 1/8 inch thick, the line should be 1/8 inch thick.

Step 2: Sew a "window" around the button hole.

Once your chalk line is marked, thread a needle with the color thread that you want your button holes to be. Then, sew a narrow box around the chalk line. For instance, considering the example button above, your box should measure 5/8 inch long and 1/8 inch tall. You can use small, plain stitches to sew this box. Its main goal is just to mark off your button hole.

Step 3: Cut the button hole.

Take your scissors, and cut down the center of the box you've marked off with stitches. Make sure you do not cut through the stitches. You're just cutting a single slit.

Step 4: "Sew" the buttonhole.

Buttonholes use a specific type of stitch called the pearl stitch. Once your needle is threaded, place it underneath the fabric of the buttonhole and pull it through the fabric about 1/8 inch to the outside of the slit. You should be pulling the needle from the backside of your work to the front side. When it is all of the way through, make another stitch, a very small distance to the left of the first one, but pulling the needle from the back to the front of the fabric. But, before thread is pulled all of the way through, pass the needle through the loop that forms, and then pull it tightly. Make yet another stitch to the left of this second one, once again going bottom to top and pulling the needle through the loop. Keep going until you've gone all of the way around the button hole.

Step 5: Tying off the thread.

Once you've made pearl stitches all of the way around the button hole, pass the needle back through the material, going front to back this time. Cut the thread (the pearl stitches will keep it from unraveling).

Enjoy your new button hole! Your first few may look a bit messy, but you'll soon catch on with practice.

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