Once you’ve worked out the specifics of where and by which method to knit the holes into a buttonhole band, it seems like an easy enough proposition to sew the buttons onto the button band in corresponding positions. And that’s not hard: Most people will line up the two bands, put a pin (or removable stitch marker) in each spot where a button should be sewn, and then commence sewing. But how often have you seen (or experienced) a case where, once the buttons are buttoned, the two bands no longer overlap correctly? You wind up seeing the buttonhole band plus 1/4 or 1/3 of the button band peeking out alongside it. It’s a common mistake: centering the buttons horizontally on the band.
What? How can centering the buttons be wrong? When a garment is on you (this applies to sewn garments and their plackets as well as sweaters and their bands), the two bands will naturally attempt to pull apart. The button doesn’t magically float in the center of the hole. Gravity and body mass cause the edge of the buttonhole to rest against the stitching of the button. So if it’s to anchor the buttonhole band directly over the button band, the stitching of the button needs to line up with the edge of the buttonhole. I used to have to stop and think about this every time, which direction to shift the button, but then I heard Pam Allen say it so plainly on a knit.fm podcast: You need to sew the buttons slightly closer to the body side of the band. That’s all there is to remember. Sew the buttons slightly closer to the body side of the band.
ON A RELATED SHOP NOTE: These stunning blackened brass buttons I used for my vintage waistcoat are now available at Fringe Supply Co. I ordered a small batch of them awhile back to have a look at, and forgot all about them until I was digging around for the perfect buttons for this vest. I’ll be ordering more, but what I have on hand are now up for grabs! ALSO: the coolest little scissors you ever did see. Available in black, silver and gold.
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