Simulated Buttonholes

So, the ladies at the Woman’s Institute Library of Dressmaking #WILD next walk us through making a simulated buttonhole, also called a blind buttonhole, also called a fake buttonhole. Truly, it’s just a line of decorative stitching laid out to make it look like buttons could be there.

Mary Brooks Pickens points out the advantages of the fake buttonhole are that you don’t need interlining, and it can be worked very quickly, given that you don’t need to check the buttonhole for fit.

First thing you do, after marking placement and cutting your thread, is lay down a strand of thread to either side of the buttonhole. This doubles as a stitch line to measure your stitches against and doubles as a stay stitch for the buttonhole itself.

One to either side of your buttonhole mark

One to either side of your buttonhole mark

Notice the first stitch was about 1/4” away from where the buttonhole will be and enters the piece from the TOP of the fabric. Don’t worry, this will be cut away later, but for now, this ensures the stay stitches will STAY as you work the rest of the decorative stitch.

Once you have those strands down, the buttonhole itself can be worked in any decorative stitch you like. This being my first one, I opted to keep it simple and utilized the same buttonhole stitch I used for making the tailored buttonhole. Two birds with one stone: Got to practice the buttonhole stitch AND learn a new use for it.

There it is again! The buttonhole stitch.

There it is again! The buttonhole stitch.

Now, halfway through I decided to just NOT turn the fabric to see which way I liked the stitches to lay, with the looped end in toward the center or out to the edge of the buttonhole. Turns out, it doesn’t really matter, as long as you are CONSISTENT with the direction. As I was not consistent, I have again created a very ugly buttonhole (fake).

To wrap it up, simply push your needle through to the back of the buttonhole, then push the needle under the existing stitches. One single knot, then cut away the start stitch and your threaded needle.

Push the needle through UNDER the existing threads.

Push the needle through UNDER the existing threads.

And voila! One very ugly FAKE buttonhole.

Not as bad as the tailored buttonhole, but I’m sure I can do better.

Not as bad as the tailored buttonhole, but I’m sure I can do better.

For a quick video run down of the process, here’s the TL; DR.

The next buttonhole in the Woman's Institute Library of Dressmaking isn't even a buttonhole. It's a fake buttonhole. Mary Brooks Pickens calls it simulated, but that's just 1920's slang for fake. Once more, the picture in the book turned out way better than mine, but it's all in the name of learning. So here it is: How to Make a Simulated (fake) Buttonhole.