Step-by-Step Guide on How to Knit Buttonholes

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Knit Buttonholes

Knitting buttonholes can be a useful skill to have, as it allows you to add functional closures to your knitted garments and accessories. Whether you’re designing your own pattern or following a pre-existing one, knowing how to create buttonholes can give your projects a professional finish. In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn the easy techniques and tips to knit buttonholes successfully.

Step 1: Choose the Right Size and Placement

Before you start knitting your buttonholes, it’s essential to determine the size and placement of your buttons. The size of your buttonhole should correspond to the diameter of your buttons. As a general rule, the buttonhole should be slightly smaller than the button, so it fits snugly without slipping out. Consider the number of buttons and the distance between them to evenly space your buttonholes.

Step 2: Work the Buttonhole

There are several methods for knitting buttonholes, but the most common ones are the eyelet method and the horizontal method. The eyelet method involves creating an opening by yarn overs, while the horizontal method requires binding off stitches and casting them back on in the next row. Choose the method that best suits your project’s needs and follow the instructions carefully.

Step 3: Finishing the Buttonhole

Once you have completed the buttonhole row or rounds, it’s important to reinforce and secure the edges to prevent them from stretching or unraveling. You can do this by using a reinforcing stitch, such as a running stitch or a whipstitch, along the sides of the buttonhole. This will give your buttonhole a neater appearance and make it more durable.

Tip: It’s a good idea to practice creating buttonholes on a swatch or scrap piece of fabric before attempting them on your actual project. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the techniques and make any necessary adjustments before committing to the final product.

With these easy step-by-step instructions, you’ll be able to knit buttonholes effortlessly for all your knitting projects. Whether you’re adding button closures to sweaters, cardigans, or accessories like headbands or gloves, mastering this skill will give your handmade items a polished and professional look. So grab your knitting needles, choose your buttons, and get ready to create beautiful buttonholes!

Tools and Materials Required for Knitting Buttonholes

Before you start knitting buttonholes, it’s important to gather the necessary tools and materials. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • Knitting Needles: Choose knitting needles that match the recommended size for your project. The needle size will depend on the yarn weight and the desired tension.
  • Yarn: Select a yarn that fits the gauge and weight specified in your knitting pattern. Different yarns will create different effects, so consider the look and feel you want for your buttonholes.
  • Scissors: You’ll need a pair of sharp scissors to cut the yarn when necessary. Make sure they are easy to handle and have a clean cutting edge.
  • Tapestry Needle: A tapestry needle, also known as a yarn needle or darning needle, is essential for weaving in loose ends and finishing your buttonholes neatly.
  • Buttons: Choose buttons that complement your knitting project and fit through the buttonholes you plan to make. Consider the size, shape, color, and style of the buttons to achieve the desired look.
  • Measuring Tape: A measuring tape can be useful for determining the correct size and placement of your buttonholes. It will help ensure that your buttons fit properly and are evenly spaced.
  • Stitch Markers: Stitch markers can be helpful for marking the positions where you will create your buttonholes. They will help you keep track of your stitches and ensure accuracy.

By having these tools and materials on hand, you’ll be well-equipped to knit buttonholes and create professional-looking finished projects. Remember to always follow the instructions provided in your knitting pattern for the best results.

Choosing the Right Yarn for Buttonholes

Choosing the Right Yarn for Buttonholes

When it comes to knitting buttonholes, choosing the right yarn is crucial. The yarn you use can greatly affect the appearance and functionality of your buttonholes. Here are some factors to consider when selecting yarn for buttonholes:

  • Yarn Thickness: The thickness of the yarn can impact the size and durability of the buttonhole. Thicker yarns may create larger, more robust buttonholes, while thinner yarns may result in smaller, more delicate buttonholes.
  • Elasticity: Consider the elasticity of the yarn you choose. Buttonholes need to stretch to accommodate the button, so using a yarn with good stretch and recovery can ensure a snug and secure fit.
  • Fiber Content: Different fibers have different properties that can affect the buttonholes. Natural fibers like wool and cotton can provide good stability and durability. Synthetic fibers like acrylic and nylon can offer added stretch and resilience.
  • Texture: The texture of the yarn can also impact the appearance of the buttonholes. Smooth yarns can create clean and polished buttonholes, while textured yarns may add a decorative element to the buttonholes.
  • Color: Consider the color of the yarn and how it will complement your garment’s design. A contrasting color can make the buttonholes stand out, while a matching color can create a more subtle look.

It’s important to experiment with different types of yarn to find the one that best suits your needs and desired aesthetic. Ultimately, the right yarn for buttonholes will depend on your specific project and personal preferences. With the right yarn, you’ll be on your way to creating beautiful and functional buttonholes in your knitting projects.

Preparing the Knitting Needles for Buttonholes

Before you can start creating buttonholes in your knitting project, it’s important to properly prepare your knitting needles. This will ensure that the buttonholes are neat and secure.

Step 1: Make sure you have the right size knitting needles for your project. The size of the needle should match the gauge of your yarn and the pattern you are following.

Step 2: If you haven’t already done so, cast on the required number of stitches for your project. It’s best to mark the position of the buttonholes before knitting, so keep this in mind as you cast on.

Step 3: Once you have cast on, knit a few rows in your chosen stitch pattern. This will create a stable foundation for the buttonholes.

Step 4: Determine the size and spacing of your buttonholes. You can use stitch markers or pins to mark the positions where you want your buttonholes to be. Make sure to leave enough space between each buttonhole to accommodate the buttons.

Step 5: To prevent the edges of the buttonholes from unraveling, you can reinforce them with a few rows of garter stitch or seed stitch. This will make the buttonholes more durable and secure.

Step 6: Once you have prepared your knitting needles and marked the positions of the buttonholes, you are ready to start creating them. Refer to the specific buttonhole instructions in your knitting pattern or follow a buttonhole tutorial to learn the technique.

By taking the time to properly prepare your knitting needles, you can ensure that your buttonholes are strong, neat, and secure in your finished project. Happy knitting!

Step 1: Creating the Base Row for Buttonholes

To begin creating buttonholes, you’ll first need to create the base row where your buttonholes will be placed. This base row will serve as the foundation for the buttonholes and will determine their placement and size.


  • Yarn
  • Knitting needles
  • Tape measure


  1. Start by casting on the desired number of stitches for your project. The number of stitches will depend on the width of the buttonhole and the pattern you are following.
  2. Next, knit the first row of your project. This will be the base row for your buttonholes.
  3. Decide on the placement of your buttonholes. Measure the distance between each buttonhole and mark the spots on your base row.
  4. Once you have marked the spots for your buttonholes, knit to the first marked spot.
  5. To create a buttonhole, you will need to cast off a certain number of stitches. The number of stitches to cast off will depend on the size of the button you are using. For a standard-sized button, cast off 2 to 4 stitches.
  6. After casting off the desired number of stitches, continue knitting the remaining stitches on the row.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 for each marked buttonhole spot on your base row.
  8. Once you have completed all the buttonholes, continue knitting your project as instructed in your pattern.

By following these steps, you will have created the base row for your buttonholes and be ready to move on to the next step in creating your knitted project.

Step 2: Knitting the Buttonhole Stitches

Step 2: Knitting the Buttonhole Stitches

Once you have cast on the required number of stitches for your buttonhole, you can begin knitting the buttonhole stitches. Follow the steps below to complete this process:

  1. Position your working yarn to the front of the work.
  2. Insert the right needle into the next stitch as if to purl.
  3. Take the working yarn and bring it over the right needle, towards the back of the work.
  4. Wrap the working yarn under the right needle and towards the front of the work. This creates a yarn over (YO) and increases one stitch.
  5. Continue knitting the rest of the stitches in the row as normal until you reach the desired number of stitches for your buttonhole.
  6. On the next row, when you come to the yarn over (YO), work it as a regular stitch by knitting or purling into it, depending on the stitch pattern of your project.

By following these steps, you will create a buttonhole by increasing one stitch and then working it as a regular stitch on the following row. This will create a space within your knitting for the button to pass through.

Remember to refer to your specific knitting pattern for any additional instructions or variations on how to knit buttonholes, as techniques may differ depending on the design.

Step 3: Finishing the Buttonhole

After completing the buttonhole opening, it’s time to finish it off and make it functional. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Remove the waste yarn: Carefully cut the waste yarn that was used to create the buttonhole. Take extra caution not to cut through the working yarn or the stitches around the buttonhole.
  2. Secure the edges: To prevent the edges of the buttonhole from unraveling, you can use a crochet hook or a tapestry needle to weave the working yarn through the stitches along the edges. This will create a neat and secure finish.
  3. Reinforce the buttonhole: To make the buttonhole stronger and more durable, you can reinforce it by sewing a small bar tack or a few stitches at each end. This will help prevent the buttonhole from stretching or tearing.
  4. Add a button: Finally, you can sew a button onto the garment, positioning it directly above the buttonhole. Make sure the button is the appropriate size for the buttonhole and that it aligns correctly. Use a strong thread and secure the button firmly in place.

Once you have completed these steps, your buttonhole will be finished and ready to use. You can now enjoy the satisfaction of creating a functional buttonhole in your knitting project!

Tips and Tricks for Knitting Buttonholes

When it comes to knitting buttonholes, there are a few tips and tricks that can make the process easier and ensure a professional-looking result. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Choose the right method: There are several different methods for knitting buttonholes, including yarn-over, eyelet, and horizontal methods. Consider the fabric and the desired buttonhole size to determine the best method for your project.
  • Place markers: Markers can be helpful to indicate where the buttonholes should be placed. Use yarn markers or removable stitch markers to easily keep track of the buttonhole locations.
  • Calculate spacing: To ensure that your buttonholes are evenly spaced, calculate the number of stitches and rows between each buttonhole. Divide the space evenly and mark the locations before you start knitting.
  • Reinforce the edges: Buttonholes can create stress on the fabric, so it’s a good idea to reinforce the edges. You can do this by using a smaller needle size for the edges or by working a few rows of garter stitch before starting the buttonholes.
  • Practice on a swatch: If you’re unsure about the buttonhole method or want to test the size, it’s a good idea to practice on a swatch first. This will give you the opportunity to make any necessary adjustments before working on your actual project.
  • Use a buttonhole stitch: After knitting the buttonhole, you can use a buttonhole stitch to tidy up the edges and prevent them from stretching or fraying. This simple stitch can add a nice finishing touch to your buttonholes.
  • Experiment with different techniques: Don’t be afraid to try out different buttonhole techniques to find the one that works best for your project. Some methods may be more suitable for thicker or thinner yarns, or for different types of buttons.

Taking the time to learn how to knit buttonholes properly can elevate your knitting projects and add a professional touch. By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to creating neat and functional buttonholes every time.


What is a buttonhole?

A buttonhole is a small opening in a piece of fabric that allows a button to pass through, securing the fabric closed.

Why do I need to learn how to knit buttonholes?

Learning how to knit buttonholes is important if you want to create garments or accessories that require buttons for closure. Knitting buttonholes allows you to add functionality and a professional finish to your knitting projects.


Knit Horizontal Buttonholes for Sweaters

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