Bound Buttonholes are one of my favorite coat finishes and the Mackinaw Coat pattern has them as an option. Since I’m rereleasing the pattern soon with added layers and a projector file, I thought it’d be fun to share this tutorial with you. Get ready to up your sewing game!
I originally wrote this tutorial for the Project Run & Play blog, but it’s time to bring it home. If you’ve never sewn a bound buttonhole, don’t worry; I’ll walk you through it. A bound buttonhole is basically an opening with double welts that meet in the center of the opening. In order to hide the reverse side of the welt, it is best used where there are two layers of fabric, such as the lining of a coat. In the end you’ll have a lovely finish that you can use for coats, lined bodices, bags, or anywhere you’d like an extra special detail.
For a buttonhole sized for a 3/4″ button you’ll need the following:
1 3/4″ X 1 1/2″ piece of fabric for one welt
1 3/4″ X 3/4″ piece of fusible interfacing for the welt
1 3/4″ X 1 1/4″ piece of fusible interfacing for the lining
1. Fuse the welt interfacing to the wrong side of the welt, centered vertically. | 2. Press each long side toward the center with wrong sides together. | 3. Baste down the center of each side of the welt, to keep the fold in place and also to give a stitching guideline for later steps.
4. Mark the buttonhole placement on the main fabric using tailor’s chalk, extending the lines so the welt can easily be centered. | 5. Place the welt with the folded over raw edges facing up, centered between the markings. | 6. There is a 3/8″ seam allowance on each end of the welt so the welt will overhang the vertical markings by as much.
7. Using a regular stitch length, stitch directly on top of the basting stitches, starting and stopping at the vertical markings, backstitching to secure the stitching at each end. | 8. The basting stitches don’t need to be removed, but for the rest of the illustrations they won’t be shown. | 9. There needs to be two horizontal lines of stitching on each welt, centered between the folded edge and the raw edge, and it’s important that the stitches start and stop at the same point vertically.
10. Using a sharp and slender pair of scissors, cut through the center of the welt, following the line where the raw edges meet in the middle, taking care not to cut the main fabric. | 11. The markings have been removed in this illustration to show how the welt is now split into two parallel, matching welts.
12. Turn so the wrong side of the main fabric is up, revealing two horizontal lines of stitching from sewing the welts. | 13. Between the two lines, clip through the main fabric in a straight line down the center which goes out in a ‘y’ shape to the stitching at each end. It’s important to clip right to the stitching, taking care not to clip the actual stitches. | 14. The little v shaped flap of fabric at each end needs to be at least 1/4″ long as it is used to hold the bound buttonhole in place in later steps.
15. Lift up the edges of the opening and press them flat. | 16. Here the main fabric is opaque to show what the welt looks like from the other side. | 17. Push the welts through the sit in the main fabric, from the right side to the wrong side, so the welt is now flat on the wrong side of the main fabric. The folded edges of the welts should now meet in the center and the raw edges should be on the outside edges.
18. The folded edges of the welt should be seen from the right side of the fabric. | 19. Pull the rest of the main fabric back to reveal the cut ‘v’ shape. | 20. To secure the welts in place and ensure they won’t fray with use, stitch across the v, attaching it to the seam allowance portion of the welt.
21. Moving on, in order to function as a buttonhole there needs to be a similar opening in the lining, without a welt in the center. Mark the buttonhole placement on the right side of lining, directly where the bound buttonhole of the main fabric will end up. | 22. Center the interfacing over the marking on the right side of the lining, with the WRONG side of the fusible interfacing up. | 23. Stitch a rectangle through the interfacing, around the buttonhole marking, approximately 1″ wide by 3/8″ high.
24. Clip through the center of the rectangle, through all layers, angling out to a ‘y’ to the stitching at each corner, taking care not to clip the stitches. | 25. From the wrong side of the lining, pull the clipped interfacing flaps through the opening and finger press. | 26. Pull the rest of the interfacing through to the wrong side so none is showing on the right side of the lining. Using an iron and pressing cloth, press the fusible interfacing, fusing it to the wrong side of the fabric. This makes a clean opening on the right side of the lining fabric.
27. Complete the rest of the steps for whatever it is you’re making, so that now the main and lining fabrics are where they will end up. | 28. Line up the lining with the bound buttonhole, wrong side of main meeting the wrong side of the lining. | 29. From the lining side, whip stitch the lining to the bound buttonhole to secure the layers together and conceal any raw edges.
And now we celebrate because your bound buttonhole – complete with lining – is finished! These illustrations are from my Mackinaw Coat pattern, but this method can be used for any bound buttonhole. The fusible interfaced openings for the lining are especially useful for fabrics which may fray easily or faux fur. Just be sure to use a pressing cloth and low heat on sensitive fabrics. Ask me how I know, hehe. I hope you enjoy this tutorial!