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Bound Buttonholes Through a Lining or Facing, Video Tutorial

How to Sew Bound Buttonholes through a facing or lining, video tutorial | Vintage on Tap

Bound buttonholes can seem intimidating, but they don’t have to be.

The fear of bound buttonholes seems to lay in the perceived amount of steps that go into the process.

To be honest, there aren’t as many steps as you might think. 

Adding fuel to that fire is that there are multiple ways to sew bound buttonholes. With the sheer amount of ways to get the job done, anyone encountering the technique for the first time can be intimidated.

For me, I was put off from them for a long time because I kept using a tutorial that was making it harder for me to understand the concept, not easier.

At one point I had made over 20 buttonholes and they all kept coming out wrong.


Bound buttonhole practice | @vintageontap


I was using what I’m dubbing the “two lips” method. With that technique, you were instructed to cut out two tiny lips and then attach them to the buttonhole and in the process, becoming stressed out and angry.


Sewing bound buttonholes should not make you angry.


Bound buttonhole close up, showing you what the completed button looks like | Vintage on Tap

When getting started with bound buttonholes, expect to make multiple samples before tackling your fashion fabric.

Ultimately, practicing ANY new technique, it’s a good rule of thumb to go through at least four or five iterations. One or two iterations to mess up the technique entirely, but then by the time you get to version five+, the process looks and sews cleaner and more gorgeous.


Setting up a bound buttonhole sample, perfect for practicing a vintage-style technique for a better buttonhole! | Vintage on Tap

Step One: Sew your bound buttonhole rectangles.

In my video tutorial, my rectangles were 2in x .5in (5.08cm x 1.27cm.)

Trace your rectangle onto both your fashion fabric and the fabric that I’m dubbing the “lips” of the buttonhole. Using a couple pins, line up both rectangles as closely as possible (timestamp 1:30) and then pin the two layers of fabric together.

Sew along the rectangle, all the way around. Start and end your stitches as exact on the corners as possible.


Marked rectangles for a bound buttonhole. This video tutorial shows you step by step the sewing process for this vintage technique! | Vintage on Tap


Step Two: Mark your cut lines, cut, and turn inside out.

Starting at timestamp 2:38, draw your cutting lines. You need one line directly down the middle of the buttonhole, then as you approach the corners, create Y-shape from the center line to the corners.

Making a quick snip into a bound buttonhole guide line, making the opening for this technique | Vintage on Tap

Using a pin, find the center of the bound buttonhole (timestamp 2:50) and then snip down the guidelines, careful not to cut through your previous stitch line.

Carefully turn inside out.

Snipping through the center of bound buttonholes is definitely not scary! Practice this technique for perfect bound buttonholes | Vintage on Tap

Snipping guide lines on bound buttonholes. Learn how to make bound buttonholes with this tutorial! | Vintage on Tap

Turning a bound buttonhole inside out. | Vintage on Tap

Step Three: Tack your Bound Buttonhole “lips” in place.

Inside out tab for bound buttonhole. | Vintage on Tap


At your iron, press the buttonhole lips in place, taking care that the corner tabs are laying correctly (timestamp 4:53.) Also be sure that your buttonhole lips are straight and look correct from the right side.

When everything is pressed and pinned, stitch the short ends of your buttonhole, through all layers, stitching “in the ditch” (the crease.) This step will keep the buttonhole from pulling open and and will tack everything in place, timestamp 6:34.

Trim from the wrong side any excess buttonhole lip fabric, leaving roughly 3/4″in around the buttonhole.


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If you’re attaching a facing or lining to your bound buttonhole…

Be sure to complete the steps above before attaching the facing or lining. You want to be sure the shell is prepared with its buttonholes so you can focus entirely on the facing/lining.

 Tacking down facing and lining to bound buttonholes, stabilizing the area for finishing the area. | Vintage on Tap

Step Four: Stabilize the facing or lining around the bound buttonhole.

After sewing your lining or facing to the garment as a whole, pin the facing/lining approximately 2in (5cm) around the buttonhole.

The exact amount of pins or the exact distance is not important, however, you’re aiming for the facing/lining to not wiggle or pull during the remaining process. 

Using pins at the edges of the bound buttonhole, identify the center of the buttonhole, timestamp 7:34.


Back of bound buttonhole, specifically sewing the stitching attaching the lining or facing. | Vintage on Tap

Step Five: Cut through facing/lining and handsew in place.

Carefully snip through the facing/lining, careful not to cut through the lips of the buttonhole. Cut all the way to the edges of the opening.

Fingerpress the facing/lining approximately 1/16in-1/8in (0.15cm – 0.32cm) under, pinning it carefully in place. Hand sew the facing to the lips of the buttonhole.

Press and admire your work!


Sewing bound buttonholes does not have to be a chore.

If anything, with this type of technique you can consistently make something small but beautiful. For me personally, because I tend to use older machines with considerably janky-er buttonhole attachments, this comes out more beautifully long term. It also gives my sewing more of that Intentional Vintage Sewing look, elevating it past the standard machine made buttonhole.


Have you made bound buttonholes before? What was your experience?

Pin this Post!!


How to Sew Bound Buttonholes Through a Facing or Lining, video tutorial and walkthrough for making perfect buttonholes in your favorite coat! | Vintage on Tap



This post is part of the Vintage Vogue 9280 Video series! Check out the other installment of this series by clicking the image below:


Sewing Vintage Vogue V9280 video series! This series breaks down the fitting and sewing process for this 1940s piece | Vintage on Tap

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  1. Linda Linda

    Great video! That’s the method I’ve been using, but I hadn’t found a good way to put the button hole through the facing until now. One comment for anyone who hasn’t ever done these before is make sure you sew your little rectangle onto the FRONT, or right side of your fashion fabric, which I think is counter intuitive at first. Once you’ve made one it all comes together. No matter how many times I’ve made these I always practice again before I go to my garment. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

  2. Melody Melody

    Thank you for this tutorial, very helpful :)

    • So glad the video was useful!!

  3. Danita Danita

    Best explanation and demonstration of bound button holes EVER!!! I think I can now practice these and feel confident they will turn out just fine! Thank you, Bianca!!!

    • Woo hoo!! So glad the instructions made sense– so many tiny little steps, but I think the video definitely helps haha! I hope your practice tries go well!

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Vintage on Tap started in 2013

Since then, it has become not only a photo blog, but also a popular YouTube channel and Instagram Feed.

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