Buttonhole Bar Stitch

This is a multipurpose stitch made over a foundation of a long straight stitch. The blanket stitch covers this straight stitch, without touching the fabric, hanging out like a loop. This method of stitch can be seen in some traditional needlelace embroidery forms like Aemilia Ars, from Bologna, Italy.

This technique is also used to make hook loops in clothing.

Since this stitch throws out a dimensional effect, it can be easily used and experimented with in dimensional embroideries as well.

Though this stitch is popularly known as buttonhole bar stitch, it uses the blanket stitch. So, you need to know the blanket stitch to be able to continue with this tutorial.

Fig 1: Begin by making the foundation of straight stitches. The illustration shows two straight stitches made between points A and B.
For the sake of the tutorial, a contrasting colored thread is used, but ideally, a similar colored thread is better.
Fig 2: Now, Bring the needle out from the point A. Take the needle from under the straight stitches without plucking the fabric underneath. Loop the thread around the needle as we would for the blanket stitch.
Fig 3: Pull the needle out. We get our first blanket stitch over the bars of straight stitches. Now, continue with the process for the entire length of the straight stitch. Fig 4: Half way through the stitch would look like this. Keep nudging the finished stitches to keep them close to each other.
Fig 5: A finished buttonhole bar stitch looks like this. You can make the straight stitches loose to give it a more outstanding effect.
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11 Responses

  1. jain India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    hi, I am from Idukki. This site is more effective for me. from where I can buy hand embroidery needle ?

    • sarah India Internet Explorer Windows says:

      Dear Jain,
      You should be able to find hand embroidery needle in most shops that sells threads or any ‘fancy’ shop. It is not difficult to find.

  2. Pallavi India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    dear sarah..

    I am amazed to see ur wrk…itz easy yet so creative..I am a teacher n one of my subjects is embroidery..wid ur tutorials i am able to teachmy students soo many new thngs ..thnq u soo much for sharing ur ideas n creativity..Its my request if u cld also tell us where each of the stitches can be used as it wld be easy to relate ….thnx again

    god bless..

    • sarah India Internet Explorer Windows says:

      Dear Pallavi,

      It is nice that you are finding our tutorials an easy and good referal to teach your students. You can upload some fo your students’ work on our website for others to see and feel inspired.
      In many cases, where I can tell about the stitch, I do mention the kind of embroidery or where the stitches can be used. Just read the beginning of each stitch page. 🙂

      • Pallavi India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

        dear sarah

        thnk u soo much for ur reply….i will surely upload the piks of my students wrok as soon as possible….


  3. Kathleen United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    I love your tutorials on embroidery stitches. I am learning new stitches all the time. I just took hand embroidery up again after decades of not doing it, and am thoroughly enjoying. But I never knew anything but the basic stitches. I have a question. I have always used 6 strand embroidery floss divided as needed. But I was at the store and noticed some larger skeins of thread that seem twisted, like yarn. And I notice that some of your stitch directions seem to use this type of thread. Is there an advantage for different stitches. I realize it will look different that the floss when stitching, but is it normal to mix the two at times. I assume you just use one of those threads at a time as it seems to be about the thickness of a 6-strand floss. Any suggestions or input?

    • sarah India Internet Explorer Windows says:

      Hi Kathleen,

      Thanks. 🙂

      I think what you saw at the store are perle cotton yarns. They are also used popularly in embrodiery work. The difference is that unlike the 6 strand cotton floss which can be divided, perle cotton cannot be divided. Instead they come in a range of thicknesses which you can choose from to suit your needs. I have used perle cotton in some of my illustrations, like the chain stitch family and the satin stitch family.

      Perle cotton has a nice sheen to it, so you might prefer it in some of your embrodiery works. I hope this information helped.

  4. Jisha Oman Google Chrome Windows says:

    Sarah.. I couldn’t subscribe to your embroidery tutorials. when I click the link it displays lots of HTML tags only (http://www.embroidery.rocksea.org/feed/). What should I do?

  5. rocksea United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    wonderful, colorful! caterpillar feeling 🙂

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