Knitting Blog

An Easy Method for Lining Up Buttons & Buttonholes

Have you ever come across a knitting pattern with a button band? If you have, chances are that when it came time to sew on the buttons, the pattern just said something like, "Sew on buttons."

Lining up buttons with buttonholes

Patterns often don't indicate exactly where to place the buttons since each knitter's buttonhole placement might be slightly different.

To get super accurate button placement, the designer leaves it up to the knitter to evenly space the buttonhole placement. This happened to me recently when I was knitting Craftsy instructor Amy Herzog's Options Cardigan pattern (shown above; available for free here). 

Most of us knitters are in a hurry to get past all the finishing so we can wear our sweaters, but getting those buttons in the right place is so important. Let's take a look at one great way to ensure your buttons line up with your buttonholes so you can wear your sweater ASAP!

The Knitter’s Guide to No-Fuss Finishing

A Knitter’s Guide to No-Fuss Finishing

Learn essential finishing techniques you can use to bring out the true beauty in any knitting project.Download for FREE

Tools for lining up buttonholes

Clover Locking Stitch Markers

You'll definitely need some kind of marker that can be easily added or removed from your knitting. I use locking stitch markers, like the Clover Locking Stitch Markers pictured above, to line up my buttonholes with the buttons. You can also use split ring markers, safety pins, T-pins, or any other longer pin.

Note that ring stitch markers (the ones that are round without any closures) won't work for this since you need something you can remove easily.

Lining up buttonholes

My Options cardigan has a ribbed band, which makes is super easy to evenly place the buttonholes. Even if your band isn't ribbed, you can still use the stitch marker method to help line everything up. Here's how:

Step 1:

Overlapping button band

Overlap your buttonhole band and the opposite side of the band (where the buttons will go). The band with the buttonholes should be on top. If you don't want your button band to wiggle around, you can secure the top and bottom of the band with a stitch marker or pin.

Step 2:

Placing stitch holders

Use your fingers to pull the first buttonhole open a bit. Place the stitch marker into the button band on the bottom, in the center of the buttonhole.

Note that you're not joining the two bands together; you're simply marking where you want your button to go on the other side. You should be able to lift the buttonhole band away from the marker.

Step 3:

Stitch markers to mark button placement

Repeat Step 2 for all the other buttons and buttonholes. You should have a little line of stitch markers where the buttons will go.

Step 4:

Folding button band over

You're not done quite yet! Now that you've lined up all the buttons horizontally, make sure they are lined up vertically. Fold the buttonhole band over so that you can clearly see all the stitch markers on the button band.

Take a look at the first two buttons. Do the stitch markers line up on the same row? If not, shift the stitch markers so that they lay on the same row. Repeat this down the button band, making sure everything is lined up on the same row. I just use my fingers to trace where the stitches are, but you might also find it helpful to use a ruler.

Step 5:

Overlap the buttonhole band with the stitch markers one more time to make sure everything lines up neatly before you start sewing.

Knit Options Sweater Buttons

One at a time, replace a stitch marker with a button, sewing the center of the button where the stitch marker was placed.

If you finish sewing on the buttons and find that one of them seems out of place, just cut the thread, fiddle with the placement, and sew it on again. The great thing about buttons is that they're easily replaced, which means it's OK to make mistakes when you're first lining them up.

The Knitter’s Guide to No-Fuss Finishing

A Knitter’s Guide to No-Fuss Finishing

Learn essential finishing techniques you can use to bring out the true beauty in any knitting project.Download for FREE

4 Comments

Yvonne

I use this method already. My problem is spacing the buttonholes on patterns with the band knitted with the front. Patterns usually tell you where to place first and last but that doesn’t always help. Sometimes even after carefully working out how many rows are required to the neck shaping , it all goes awry!

Reply
Joan Lemon

I would suggest knitting two more rows on the buttonhole band before binding off , also an extra two stitches at the beginning and end of the knitted-on band. This band shown looks very untidy the way it curls up when buttoned and the extra stitches will cure that.
Otherwise, a good explanation on how to line up the markers for the buttons.

Reply
Pauline

When I make my buttonholes I immediately mark the button end with a marker that opens, voila! How easy is that!

Reply

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