Stitch of the Month
May 2008: Circular Buttonhole

by Lois Kershner

Our May Stitch of the Month with a circle theme is the Buttonhole stitch done in a circular shape. This stitch is also called a Buttonhole Wheel, Wheel Stitch, or Buttonhole Ring. Do this stitch in a variety of thread colors to create a lovely bouquet of spring flowers.

Circular Buttonhole Bouquet

The stitch is made by bringing your needle up along the outer rim of the circle inside the thread of the previous stitch. All stitches go through a shared hole in the center of the circle.

  1. Bring the needle up at the outer rim of the circle.
  2. Take the needle down in the center of the circle. Do not pull the thread tight, but rather leave a little slack in the thread along the circle rim.
  3. Bring the needle up at the outer rim of the circle several canvas threads from the first stitch and inside the thread from the previous stitch.
  4. Gently pull the thread to remove the slack.

Circular Buttonhole Chart

Circular Buttonhole Stitch Illustration

  1. Continue with steps 2 through 4 around the circle.
  2. When you have gone all the way around the circle, end by taking your needle down in the hole where you came up in step #1, rather than in the center of the circle. (Shown by the red stitch in the diagram below)

Circular Buttonhole Chart Showing Last Stitch (in red)

Buttonhole Circle Variations

It is also possible to make a large circle with a center of other decorative stitches. Notice in the illustration and chart below that the "center" of the buttonhole stitch is not in a common center hole, but rather an Eyelet variation.

Buttonhole Circle Variation

Buttonhole Circle Variation Chart

The canvas will show if you wish to stitch a large circle and stitches are not close together. If this is not desired, you can “line” the stitch with an under layer of thread spokes as shown in the illustration of the Buttonhole Fan below. This stitch is done in two steps — first the straight stitches, then the buttonhole stitches. Notice that the spokes of the buttonhole stitch are spaced between the straight stitches of the under layer.

Buttonhole Fan Chart

The illustration below shows the Buttonhole fan stitched as partial circles.

Partial Buttonhole Fans

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