clear navigate_before

Tailor’s buttonhole stitch icon
Tailor’s buttonhole stitch

  • Buttonhole twist
  • Purled buttonhole stitch
  • Buttonhole stitch
Tailor’s buttonhole stitch main image

This version of buttonhole stitch has an extra twist to hold the stitch more firmly and results in a braided effect on the edge of the fabric.  The needle is brought up in the fabric and the thread is wrapped around the needle before pulling through to form a knot.  N.B. There is another version of tailor’s buttonhole stitch which is visually similar but worked differently: this will feature in a future RSN Stitch Bank release.

The stitch can be worked over a cut edge (such as a buttonhole), as a decorative surface stitch, or as an edging stitch where it is worked as a surface stitch and then the fabric is trimmed.

N.B. It is different from knotted buttonhole stitch which has a knot at the end of each ‘leg’, rather than at the edge of the stitch.

For more information about buttonhole stitches, see the entries for buttonhole stitch and buttonhole edging (variation)

Tailor’s buttonhole stitch is generously sponsored by Lynn Klahm


Some authors wrap the thread in a figure of eight movement (see the final photo in the Method) but the knot doesn’t tighten as smoothly as the C-shape wrap.
If a shaped (e.g. scalloped) edge is required, mark the edge on your fabric, work the stitch and then trim the fabric next to the stitch.


Bring your needle out near the edge of your fabric, at the right hand end.  Insert the needle into the fabric from back to front, a short distance from the edge.


Wrap your thread behind the eye of your needle and back under the point to form a C shape.


Pull your needle through and tighten the knot by pulling away from the edge.


Repeat the stitch, keeping each stitch close together so the knots touch each other (this keeps the knots firm).


A line of tailor’s buttonhole stitch.

Tailor’s buttonhole stitch method stage 6 photograph

The reverse of the stitch showing the braided edge.


The alternative figure of eight wrapping motion.

Tailor’s buttonhole stitch

Structure of stitch

Embroidery Techniques


  • Jennifer Campbell, Ann-Marie Bakewell, Guide to Embroidery Stitches (2004) , p.82