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21 Comments
  • Excellent hints for a chore that no one looks forward to tackling. One other thought: if you have a rather large “front porch”, it’s important to position a button at the bust point. The bust point is the apex of the bust. This keeps gaposis from setting in if the cardigan or jacket is buttoned. Sometimes this will mean that the number of buttons might need to be adjusted.

    Thank you so much for the helpul post.

    • The Front Porch Rule is a very good rule for those blessed with a veranda. Thank you!

      • Well said. ;o)

  • In all my years knitting, I’ve never knit a real cardigan, but I have many in my queue. I need to file this tip away (including Urbanite’s Front Porch Rule), so I can find in when I really do take the plunge! Thanks!

  • I am so glad the blog is back!

    I avoid patterns that require buttons. In part because there are too many types of buttons to choose from and picking just one makes my eyes cross.

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  • Here’s a brilliant tip I learned from Lily Chin: take a length of 1″wide elastic. With a felt-tip marker, mark a big dot or a notch every inch (without stretching the elastic). Then pin the elastic along the length of your sweater front, with the top dot at the top 1/2 mark, where your top button will be. Counting every dot as a future button, stretch the band all the way down to where you want the last button to be. All the dots will mark perfectly spaced rows (or stitches) for buttonholes. Youtube tutorial here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSu3G4obnhI

  • It’s sewing on the buttons that makes me consign the cardigan to its little project bag and never finish it. If they are not sewn on at the right point the cardigan will “hang funny.” You see a fair number of “hanging funnies” on Ravelry. I basically make open cardigans as a result.

  • Thanks for the tips! I have a cardi that is all done except for the buttons themselves. I even bought really cute ones. Why can’t I get up the gumption to sew the blasted things on??

  • Thank you for the warning about actually sewing the buttons on. I have a sweater in button-hole purgatory. I found a way to get them sewn on faster though – I’ve bribed others to do it for me!

  • Thanks for a great instructional piece; it is always heartening to hear that experienced knitters have problems with patterns too! I absolutely love this sweater. Is there any way you can give the source of the pattern?

  • Well, I’m late to the “button band party”, but here’s what I do: Sew the top button and bottom button onto the button band. With wrong sides together, fold the button band in half, with backs of the sewn-on buttons touching each other. The fold becomes the halfway point between top and bottom. Mark that fold with a pin, or actually sew on the middle button. For your 7-button example, all you now have to measure is the distance between the middle button and either the top or bottom button, and determine the even spacing for two buttons between the existing button marks. As already noted above, it is important for a button to be at the full-bust point, for those who are well-endowed, and the button placements (and, perhaps, the number of buttons) will need to be adjusted accordingly.

    Welcome back to the blog; you two have been sorely missed!

    Mary G. in Texas (who actually enjoys sewing on buttons–I know, I’m a freak!)

    • Mary G—

      YOU ARE A FREAK! But I love your method. No counting or measuring! I’m so wedded to counting because it helps me do the button holes in the exact right place by counting the rows as I knit. But you could still place them your way, and THEN count and THEN knit the button band.

      Overthink much? Who, me?

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  • I’ve never tried it for a knit cardigan, but I inherited a nifty sewing tool that does buttonhole spacing, I know it works for sewing, so maybe I’ll give it a go for my next cardigan.

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  • Well, the elastic dots and stretch method beats mine. I would cut a piece of paper and do even folds. Or measuring. Or use my eyeballs.
    THEN, very importantly, I would mistrust myself or get clever about where to nestle the buttons and sew them on a little bit…still…wrong.

    • I know, Amber, just locating the piece of elastic would be a whole new Procrastination Activity. So good to hear from you. Hope the Bs are thriving. xo

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