Buttonhole Bar Stitch

a member of the buttonhole family

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illustration of buttonhole bar stitch used in contemporary embroidery

Buttonhole bar is often used in traditional pulled and drawn needlework and often seen used in combination with needle weaving.

As a stitch it is raised from the foundation cloth and can be employed in effective and imaginative manner. It is also easier to sew than most people realise.




a step by step illustration of how to work buttonhole bar stitch

In order to work a buttonhole bar you need to know how to work buttonhole stitch.

Start with two or three horizontal straight stitches across the area you wish the bar to lay.

This forms the bar on which you sew.

illustration of buttonhole bar stitch used in contemporary embroidery

Bring the thread out on the lower left hand side of the straight stitches you have just created.

Work from left to right. Work a buttonhole stitch over the straight stitches being careful not pass the needle through the foundation fabric.

As you work slide the stitches long the bar so that the finished stitches are spaced closely together.

When you first learn this stitch use a thread with a firm twist. When it is mastered experiment with other threads.

For a contemporary treatment you can use a variety of threads such as metallic or slightly textured threads. Hand dyed multicoloured threads can also look interesting as with this type of thread the colour shifts along the bar.

Since it is important to sew the buttonhole stitches over the foundation threads without entering the foundation fabric use a blunt ended needle such as a Tapestry needle of suitable size for the buttonhole stage of the stitch.

Keeping your tension even is important so stretch the fabric in an needlework hoop or frame while you work.

Buttonhole family:

There are many other stitches that are classified in this group. The stitches that I have listed here in the Buttonhole family are: