One Row Buttonhole Tutorial

Posted on | March 28, 2009 | 22 Comments

Since most of my designs are cardigans, I thought it might be nice to share one of my favorite buttonhole techniques. I’ve been told by some knitters and tech editors that it that is not used too often. Or maybe it’s just one of those secret knitting techniques people just don’t talk about. Either way, it is too nice of a buttonhole to have it languish in the cold, dark, overlooked world of good finishing techniques. Enjoy!

One row buttonhole tutorial

1. Work to the point of your first buttonhole and with your yarn in front, slip 1 stitch purlwise.

2. Move yarn to back.

3. Slip 1 st purlwise from the left needle to the right needle.

4. Pass the 2nd st on the right needle over the first st as if to bind off.

5. Repeat slip 1, bind off 1 for as many stitches needed to fit your button, I am binding off 4 total.

6. Slip the last stitch from the right needle back to the left needle.

7. Turn the work.

8. Using the cable cast on, begin casting on for the top of the buttonhole.

8a. To work cable cast on, put right needle between first and second stitch on left needle.

8b. Wrap yarn.

8c. Pull yarn through between 2 stitches.

8d. Place new stitch on left needle. Be sure not to pull too tight when making new stitches! You want the tension to be close as possible to your bind off edge on the bottom.


9. Cast on one more stitch than you bound off. In my case, I’m casting on 5 sts (4+1).

10. Turn the work, slip the first stitch on the left needle over to the right needle.

11. Pass the extra stitch from the cast on over the stitch just slipped to the right needle to close the buttonhole.

Completed buttonhole

Work in rib, stockinette or pattern until you get to your next buttonhole and repeat.

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  • –Deb


  • Gudrun Johnston

    I love this buttonhole technique and use it whenever buttons are required! Great tutorial!

  • ysolda

    Great tutorial – I’ve been meaning to do one for this for ages, so thank you for doing it for me!

  • jsdknits

    Thank you so much. I’m curious why it isn’t used that much. Now, I’m wondering how I can mark this to refer back whenever I need it or whenever I want to point someone to it.

  • Veronique

    OK, now I feel weird. This is the only buttonhole technique I know!
    Your tutorial is great, I think the more pictures, the better :)

  • kayT

    Oh Wow; what a great idea to turn and go back. Plus your pictures are perfect. Big help too as I am just about to the buttonhole stage of my black cardigan. Thanks!

  • Alissia Huntzinger

    Thanks for the tutorial! Also, your ZickZack Tunic from the Spring IK is on the Knitting Daily Gallery email thingy. It seriously looks good on each model! Congrats on another beautiful design!

  • ivete

    That’s a great tutorial for the one-row buttonhole! And I totally agree, it’s the best buttonhole technique I know!

  • dobarah

    Thank you for the tutorial!

  • Julie

    This is a wonderful modification of the buttonhole technique I often use; for mine I cast on those top stitches when knitting back across the next row. But yours is nicely streamlined and one I will definitely try in future. Hope your wrists are better! I just got cortisone shots (ouch) in two fingers that were triggering badly from all the knitting and computer typing.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you a million times, thank you!!! I am new to knitting, and I have been eliminating patterns for my next project that has buttonholes because I had no clue what they were talking about (the instructions they gave to do them). Thanks to you, I now know exactly how to do it, and I am SOOO happy!

  • Michelle

    I'm so happy you posted this! I found your blog through ravelry due to somebody posting a finished project you made on their flickr account. I liked the sweater (oddly I guess I'd already seen it in Knitscene too, and I liked it then as well) a lot.

    Strangely, I was working half a buttonhole last night and got tired and gave up because I couldn't figure out the second half based on my books! Glad you put this up. ; D

  • MissAnh

    Thanks for this – I saw this method on youtube through Interweaves but youTube doesn't play on my computer – I'm almost certain this post with your photos is much better anyway!

  • jill lord

    Thank you for the button hole instructions, they are fantastic, it’s the picture for each stage that makes it so good, doesn’t leave any room for doubt.

  • Dorothy

    Trying for two days to get master this technique.
    With still photographs it is clear.
    Thank you a million times.

  • Eileen

    Thanks so much for this clear explanation of how to make the one-row buttonholes.

  • Pingback: Buttonhole Rescue | AndreSue Knits()

  • Anne

    Thanks. I hadn’t used this technique before but a recent pattern required it. The instructions were so confusing, I decided to search online. These instructions are suburb, definitely keepers! Thanks.

  • Nancy Anderson

    Well done tutorial; I have worked this before, but don’t yet have it memorized, so this is a nice go-to resource. So much easier than digging in my paper file!

  • Beverly

    Thank you – I’m a seasoned knitter but for whatever reason, I got stumped! This buttonhole is on ysolda’s peaks island hood – and looks beautiful – I was just pulling too tight on the cast ons and came up with a teeny tiny whole … Thank you!

  • Carole

    When doing this in 1×1 rib, is there a preference where to start: on the k st or the p stitch?

  • neoknits

    It can start with either. In fact, if your buttonhole is an odd number, you will be switching between starting with a k or p.