Other techniques exist for adding a crocheted edging to fabrics that are easier, less time-consuming and more advisable than making holes in the fabric. The main concern with making holes is that the fabric will be ruined by runs in knit fabrics or fray with other fabric types. However, damaging your fabric can be avoided with this labor-intensive technique.
Things You'll Need:
- Button-Hole Foot
- Fabric Marker
- Quilter'S Straight Ruler Or Yardstick
- Manual Sewing Machine
- Seam Ripper
Preparing Your Fabric
Measure and mark 1/4 inch down from the hem or at least 1/2 inch down from the unfinished selvage of your fabric. Repeat this measurement at 1-inch intervals along the side of the fabric where you would like to crochet an edging.
Connect your marks using your ruler to assure a straight line that runs parallel to your hem or selvage. This line will mark the bottom of each of your buttonhole stitches.
Measure and mark 1/2 inch below the line you have just drawn. This line will mark the top of each of your buttonhole stitches.
Measure and mark in 1-inch intervals between the two lines you have drawn. These marks represent each hole's placement. You may adjust this measurement for smaller intervals; however, the closer your buttonholes are placed to each other, the stiffer your fabric will become once you have stitched the buttonholes.
Sewing A Buttonhole
Turn your sewing machine's pattern selector knob to the setting designated for the left side of your buttonhole. This is sometimes referred to as "Buttonhole Step One" on your selector knob. Otherwise, you should see a diagram of a buttonhole with the left side highlighted.
Adjust your stitch length knob to .5 millimeters.
Place your fabric under the machine so that your needle lines up with the line you have marked for the top of your buttonhole.
Slowly depress the foot controller for your machine and stitch to the line you have marked for the bottom of your buttonhole. Your sewing machine will perform a zigzag stitch between your markers.
Stop sewing down the left side of your buttonhole with the needle on the left side of the zigzag stitch and your needle raised out of the fabric. It is advisable to stop well before your mark and use the hand wheel on the side of your machine for accuracy.
Turn the pattern selector knob to the second buttonhole step. This will either be labeled "Buttonhole Step Two" or with a diagram highlighting the bottom stitches of a buttonhole.
Sew an odd number of stitches to create a bar-tack stitch for the base of your buttonhole. Your fabric will not move in this step, but your needle should zigzag from left to right in a wider stitch.
Stop stitching when the needle is on the right side of your bar tack and clear of the fabric.
Turn the pattern selector knob to the third buttonhole step. This will either be labeled "Buttonhole Step Three" or with a diagram highlighting the right side of a buttonhole.
Zigzag back to your top mark, ending with your needle raised and on the right side of the stitches you just sewed.
Turn the pattern selector knob to the fourth buttonhole step. This will either be labeled "Buttonhole Step Four" or with a diagram highlighting the top stitches of a buttonhole.
Sew an odd number of stitches to make the top bar tack of your buttonhole so that your needle is raised and on the left side of your stitches.
Turn the pattern selector knob to the straight-stitch setting and adjust your stitch length to 0 millimeters.
Make a few stitches to secure your buttonhole. Your fabric will not move, but this step will ensure that your stitching does not unravel.
Cut your thread close to your work and snip your starting thread tail.
Insert your seam ripper between the right and left sides of your buttonhole. Carefully slice the fabric, and stop cutting before you reach the bar tack.
Sew buttonholes at each predetermined interval for the length of your fabric.
- Always make a couple of practice buttonholes on a scrap of the same type of fabric. These directions are designed for use with mechanical sewing machines so that you can control the length of your buttonhole and make the smallest possible stitch. You may use a sewing machine with an automatic buttonhole function, but you will need a very small button to serve as your machine's guide.
- This is not the best technique for attaching a crocheted edging to fabric since the holes will be noticeable and the fabric will not drape as well as it would have without the dense sewing necessary for this technique. Please consider using a hand-embroidered blanket stitch along the top of your fabric to retain your fabric's flexibility and stability.
Kim Keith-Philan holds a B.A. in English with a minor in psychology. Her freelance articles have covered topics such as technology, drug testing, addiction and mental health. Keith-Philan's creative writing has appeared in numerous literary journals including "Skive Magazine," "Fissure Magazine," "Kerouac's Dog Magazine" and "Barrier Islands Review."