What Beginners Should Know About Button and Buttonholes
  • By
  • Sewing Tips, Sewing Tutorials
  • Posted January 06, 2016
What Beginners Should Know About Button and Buttonholes

What Beginners in Sewing Should Know About Buttons and Buttonholes

What Beginners in Sewing Should Know About Buttons and Buttonholes

When talking about sewing clothes or garments, both button and buttonholes are two of the last things people would think about. In reality, however, choosing the appropriate ones can lead to pleasing results in terms of the finished project.

In sewing, picking the right buttons is always a good idea to consider prior to starting adding buttonholes. By doing so, you’ll know exactly what size and shape your buttonholes should be. Remember, buttons can vary in sizes and shapes; hence you need to consider its look and color to ensure that it’ll fit with your project.

Here are the types of buttons and buttonholes you need to know.

Two-Hole Flat Button

Two-hole flat buttons.

Two-hole flat buttons are great for light- or medium-weight fabrics and are usually attached with the holes lined up parallel to the fabric edge.

Four-Hole Flat Buttons

Four-hole button.

Four-hole flat buttons are better for heavy-weight fabrics, as the extra holes make for a stronger attachment.

Shank Buttons

Shank buttons.

Shank buttons have a hole or loop at the back that is used to attach it to the fabric. A larger loop helps provide extra space between the button and the garment, making it a good choice for heavy-weight fabrics and projects like winter jackets. Shank buttons can also help a garment hang or drape better because of the smaller attachment area.

Frogs Buttons

Frogs button.

Frogs, also known as Mandarin buttons, are made of string, plastic, or metal and have a loop on one side and some kind of knot on the other. These buttons are perfect if you don’t want to stitch a button hole, as they don’t necessarily require one.

On other hand, it’s also important that you have a vast knowledge about the different buttonholes out there. Well, here’s everything you need to know about them.

The Basic Button Hole

A basic buttonhole.

The first is the basic straight, square buttonhole. It is one of the more commonly used ones, particularly for the newbies in sewing. It is a good buttonhole for medium- to heavy-weight fabrics and also areas of a garment that may be subject to strain.

Many machines have a sensor setting, an auto setting, or both that can create this buttonhole. The sensor setting uses a special foot that holds the button being used and stitches the correct size buttonhole for that button. The auto setting will stitch this button hole to whatever size you tell it.

In fact, your machine may also have a setting that looks like the basic straight buttonhole but with zigzag lines spaced further apart. This is the setting you would want to use if stitching this button hole onto a stretch or knit fabric.

Buttonhole for Lightweight Fabrics

A buttonhole for lightweight fabrics.

The next buttonhole is similar to the first, but has either one or both rounded ends. This is a good choice for light-weight fabrics and can have a more delicate look than the square buttonhole, making it a good choice for something like a blouse.

The Keyhole

A keyhole buttonhole.

A keyhole is another type of buttonhole and has one slightly larger rounded end to accommodate larger buttons and buttons with shanks. This buttonhole is perfect for heavy-weight fabrics and would be a good choice for a jacket.

The Bound Buttonhole

A bound buttonhole.

A final type of button hole is a bound buttonhole. Bound button holes can add a beautiful, professional touch to your project, but they are a little more work than a machine stitched button hole.


Alvin is a fashion and lifestyle writer who has recently earned interest in sewing his own clothes. Writing for Sewing Ideas gives him another avenue to express his experiences and learning in his sewing journey.

Latest Posts


Subscribe to our newsletter for good news, sent out every week.