I’ll share with you my favorite method for sewing on buttons to a sweater & some tips for making it perfect!
1. After all of the knitting is completed, block the garment, weave in ends, lay it on a flat surface and place split ring markers where you want each button to go. Start by laying the button hole band on top and marking each hole on the band underneath. Then flop the button hole band out of the way and use a tape measure to measure the distance between the center of each button. Make adjustments here so they are evenly spaced.
2. Measure out a piece of yarn (the same that used for the buttonband usually works fine) about 2 times the length of the buttonband.
TIP 1 Shank buttons are a knitter’s best friend. Shank buttons with a metal or plastic loop sticking out of the back of the button, can be pushed in between stitches so it protrudes out on the WS, making it super easy to catch.
3. With WS facing, use a thin tapestry needle and weave in the end over the first inch or so into the band seam so the end is flush with the seam. [photo 1]
TIP 2 If you’re using thick yarn and you have small buttonholes, you will need to:
* Use the thinnest tapestry needle you can find, or
* Use a sewing needle and split the yarn so you are only using 2 plies, or
* Change buttons to a shank button which will accommodate a larger needle
4. Weave yarn from the side seam towards the middle of the band to the spot for the first button.
5. *Insert tapestry needle through a stitch, then through the shank or button holes and through another stitch on the other side and pull yarn through loosely, just enough to hold the button in place without it slipping away. Don’t tighten it up yet. Rep from * but this time tug yarn firmly to secure button to fabric. [photo 2].
6. Weave yarn across band to the seam, spiral weave it up the seam until you reach the height for the next button then weave into the spot where you want your button.
TIP 3 Make sure the spiral weave has some give to it so it doesn’t change the lay of the band. You don’t want a tight piece of yarn running the length of the garment. It should mimic the flexibility of the fabric. Since you’re only using the seam as place to carry the yarn, you don’t need to go into every stitch. Just spiral it around stitches so that there are no long pieces and it looks tidy.
7. Continue working this way until all buttons are sewn on. After the last button is finished, weave back to the seam, weave in the last of the yarn tail and cut excess yarn. [photo 3].
I hope you like this method. It definitely save time cutting and weaving in ends, it's sturdier and takes less loops than using thread, and the back looks tidy and almost invisible.
I'd love to hear what you think or if you have a different favorite method!
Hello! I'm Donna Estin, knitwear designer, certified master knitter and instructor. I enjoy designing artistic knitwear that is comfortable. I specialize in sweaters with a contemporary silhouette.