My mom’s 50-year-old cardigan has a crochet button band. (You can read about it here.) It is a marvel of firmness and tidiness. When we all wondered how such a button band could be made, MDK reader Diane Gerlach kindly explained how in the heck to create a crochet button band.
1. Use a crochet hook the same size as the needle you used for the knitted garment. Measure both of them with a needle gauge to be sure.
2. You need to be able to single crochet and make a swatch. Here’s a YouTube Video.
Don’t worry about the tail; on a sweater you can just weave the tail in.
3. After swatching for several rows, practice making the buttonhole like this.
4. Determine your crochet gauge, measuring in the center of the row on your swatch; be sure to count partial stitches.
5. Now take your (blocked) sweater front or a knitted practice swatch approximately the same height as the width of your crochet swatch. Lay it on a flat hard surface and measure the edge where you want to do the button band stitches. Figure out from the crochet gauge how many crochet stitches you will need to fit this many inches or cm.
6. Count the number of rows in the sweater front. For example, if your sweater front contains 80 rows and your calculation in #5 tells you that you need 64 single crochet stitches then 64/80 = 8/10 = 4/5.
This means that you need 4 single crochets in each 5 rows.
7. Now, on your knitted edge, work the required number of single crochets directly into the knitted piece, crocheting over one full stitch rather than into the chain as you did to set up the practice swatch. If the edge puckers or waves, you will need to add or subtract the number of single crochets until you have a band that lies perfectly flat.
8. If working on a sweater front, work the single crochet rows, 4 sc’s skip one row in example above, on the button side first. Work as many rows as you want in your final sample. Now you can determine and mark the placement of buttons, with the first button 1-1.5″, 2.5-7 cm, from top and bottom edge. Mark the spots where the center of buttons will be sewn on.
9. Now you have a decision to make. a. If you want the buttonholes to look like Ann’s mom’s with the buttonhole adjacent to the first row of sc, make the buttonhole in the next row just as in the video and your practice swatch. Then work 2 more rows of sc. b. If you prefer to have the buttonholes centered in your button band, then work them where they look best to you. Crocheter’s choice. Bear in mind that to prevent gaping, it’s better to have the buttonholes farther from the edge rather than closer; when Ann’s mom knit that sweater, the modern gaping look was most definitely not in!
10. Once you have done the straight edges, you should be able to figure out how to determine the correct number of sc’s to fit a curved edge like the neckline if you haven’t worked a knitted neckband first.