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Buttonhole edging stitch variation icon
Buttonhole edging stitch variation

This version of buttonhole stitch, as its name suggests, is used to edge fabric.  The stitch is completed before the fabric is trimmed and thus lends itself to creating decorative hems.

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, see buttonhole edging stitch.

Buttonhole edging stitch variation is generously sponsored by Jenny Beal

Method

Both this method and the other version of buttonhole edging stitch can be used to create a pretty hem for your work, for example a scalloped border (although this method is more suitable for a large area).  If creating a border, work the stitches the reverse way round so that the corded edge faces outwards.
When changing thread while working, finish the last stitch by making a tiny stitch over the loop. Start a new thread and bring the needle up between the last two stitches to form the next loop.

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Buttonhole edging stitch variation method stage 1 photograph
1

Work a line of double running stitch just outside the outline. To begin buttonhole stitch, bring the needle up just inside the line and take it down just outside the line, leaving a loop.

Buttonhole edging stitch variation method stage 2 photograph
2

Bring the needle up just inside the line, right next to the first stitch, with the needle inside the loop.

Buttonhole edging stitch variation method stage 3 photograph
3

Pull the excess thread to the back and then bring the needle and thread through to complete the stitch.

Buttonhole edging stitch variation method stage 4 photograph
4

Repeat around the shape, placing the stitches as close together as you can. Make sure that the two ends match up neatly.

Buttonhole edging stitch variation method stage 5 photograph
5

Begin to trim the fabric away by first cutting from the middle to each end, and then from the middle to each side.

Buttonhole edging stitch variation method stage 6 photograph
6

Insert the scissors so that the flat of the blade rests against the stitches; this way the stitches will not be cut. Use small snipping movements to gradually trim away the fabric. Sometimes it is useful to turn to the back.

Buttonhole edging stitch variation method stage 7 photograph
7

The finished sample.

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.

Common uses

This method trims the fabric after completing the buttonhole stitch around the shape, so works well for larger and more complex shapes. This method can also be used with satin stitch or trailing, as well as buttonhole stitch as in the instructions.
The stitching may be worked at the same time as other core stitches, but the cutting away should be done at the very end.

Embroidery Techniques

Related Stitches

References

  • Various Authors, The Royal School of Needlework Book of Embroidery (2018) , p.344