How to make a buttonhole—I learned this nifty trick from a book on rigid heddle weaving and saw that it would easily adapt to pin loom weaving.

Before plunging in with buttonholes on your treasured project, it’s a good idea to practice first.

The buttonhole in the sample photos was woven on a 2″ (15 x 15) square loom and centered in the middle of the square. On a larger loom it would be more desirable to weave the buttonhole(s) off-center, perhaps 1/2-to-1 inch away from the outer edge. Also, be aware that this technique requires two layer warping (2LW). If you’re planning to use mattress stitch to join your squares, note that the 1-3 and 2-4 edges of the buttonhole squares won’t match up with the corresponding edges of your other squares. (There’s a way to weave 2LW and create four scallop edges, but that will be a bit complicated to explain. For now I’ll just address the buttonhole procedure.)

Because I was practicing, I didn’t photograph the whole process. (I may have to try this again and take step by step photos. For now, use your imagination…)

  • First, warp L1 and L3 (standard two-layer warping).
  • Begin weaving at Cr3. Weave desired number of rows. (I wove four. And because I wasn’t following my own instructions, I wasn’t sure about pin wrapping at the beginning of the square. My finished square has two extra [total of 17] rows.)
  • Begin buttonhole rows: weave partway over (I wove 7 warps), then turn around and weave back. Continue weaving partial rows till you reach desired buttonhole length. (I made an eight-row buttonhole.) BE CAREFUL TO NOT PULL TOO TIGHTLY.  Try to keep the inner warp straight upright as you weave.
  • After weaving desired number of partial rows, weave rows all the way across the loom. On the 2″ (15 x 15) loom, I wove to the end of the square; on a larger loom you might have room to make two or more buttonholes. In the case of multiple buttonholes on a square, you’ll keep weaving a section of full rows, section of partial rows, full rows, partial rows, full rows… till you get to the end of the square. THEN you’ll go back and finish the second half of all the buttonholes.

    Weaving ended at Cr2 with one half of buttonhole created.

  • If desired, you can weave back through the edge of the square till you get to the buttonhole row (which is what I did). This makes the edge look a little thick. The other option is to cut the yarn here and start at the buttonhole row; this creates more ends to work in.

    Weave back through the outer loops to get to initial buttonhole row.

  • Proceed as before, weaving partial rows to complete the buttonhole (and the square). Be sure to weave the same number of rows on this side of the buttonhole as on the other.

    Begin weaving the second half of the buttonhole.

  • The last row will be a bit tricky since it must be inserted between rows that want to cling together. Be careful not to pierce existing threads as you weave.

    Buttonhole—last row

  • Buttonhole may appear too open on the loom, but will relax when taken off.
  • Notice that the beginning yarn tail is at Cr1 while the ending tail is near-but-not-at Cr4.

    Finished square off the loom (being pulled open to reveal the buttonhole). Cr1 is at bottom left, Cr2 at bottom right.
    Notice where the yarn was woven through outer loops just above Cr2 to get back to the buttonhole rows.

Obviously you can make the buttonhole larger or smaller than the sample. I tried several buttons in this eight-row buttonhole. The red button might be a bit too small, the pink a bit too big, but they all fit.


Button size range: 11/16 inch (red), 3/4 inch (rose), 7/8 inch (purple), 1 inch (pink)

2 Thoughts on “Buttonholes!

  1. Judy Sologinkin on 18 June 2018 at 6:40 AM said:

    How very clever of you to work this out.
    Thankyou for your great idea’s.

    • Sue Burton on 18 June 2018 at 6:45 AM said:

      You’re welcome. Just when I think I’ve exhausted ideas for things to try on the pin loom, I stumble onto something new.

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