Buttonhole edging stitch
This version of buttonhole stitch, as its name suggests, is used to edge fabric. It involves trimming the fabric to the desired shape and then stitching the buttonhole stitch over the edge. It can be used to edge eyelets or small areas.
For an introduction to the basic stitch, see buttonhole stitch.
For an alternative method of working this stitch where the stitch is completed before the fabric is trimmed (suitable for hems and larger areas), see buttonhole edging stitch variation.
Work two lines of double running stitch around the shape and then begin to trim away the fabric by first cutting from the middle to each end, and then from the middle to each side.
Carefully trim each tab away and gently remove any fluff.
Cast on between the two running stitch lines. Bring the needle up through the hole and down just outside the outer line, leaving a loop.
Bring the needle up through the hole again, inside the loop.
Pull through to complete the stitch.
Repeat all around the shape, making sure that the two ends match up neatly. Cast off by running the needle under a few stitches on the back.
The finished example of cutwork with buttonhole stitch.
Structure of stitch
Cutwork removes part of the fabric, allowing any backing material to show through. Buttonhole stitch is a traditional stitch used for cutwork, and is the easiest way to get a neat finish because the stitch forms a corded edge. Stranded cotton and coton à broder work well for cutwork stitches.
This method of buttonhole edging stitch trims the fabric first and fully encases the edge, so works well for small, simple shapes such as circles, ovals or teardrops. The alternative method trims the fabric after completing the buttonhole stitch around the shape, so works well for larger and more complex shapes.
Various Authors, The Royal School of Needlework Book of Embroidery (2018) , p.344–5