Construction of a 1830-60 men´s shirt Part 4: buttonholes

Part 1  General Information 
Part 2  Fronts 
Part 3  Sleeves and collar 

The sewing pattern is available via Etsy.

Now the shirt is already finished, just the buttonholes and buttons are missing. An 1830-60 shirt has three vertical buttonholes at the button tab and one vertical buttonhole at the collar. If you prefer e detachable collar instead of a stock collar you have to make small vertical buttonholes on both collar sides and one vertical buttonhole at the center back of the collar. The collar will be attached with collar studs.

However, how to sew a buttonhole by hand? First mark the position of your buttonholes, they should be about 1/16” -1/8” (2-3mm) longer than the diameter of your button. I know, it isn´t historically accurate, but I prefer to add some Fray Check along the marked cutting line. First it prevents the fabric from fraying, second is stabilizes the edges for easier sewing. Let´s start! Cut open the buttonhole with scissors, better with a punching tool.


Thread your needle with a stronger hadsewing thread (a thick buttonhole thread  would create a bulky buttonhole) and insert the thread between the layers from the wrong side to hide the notch at the threads end and gouge out the needle at the right side.


To make the first buttonhole stitch pierce the needle from the wrong to the right side and guide the thread as shown around the needle. Pull the thread to create a small notch, this notch should sit exactly at the edge. Proceed with regular stitches until you reach the corner. Spread stitches around the corner and continue, until you reach the start of your buttonhole stitch.


After you did your last stitch, introduce the needle underneath the first stitch and guide the thread to the wrong side, secure the thread with some stitches


Insert buttonholes to the front part of cuffs depending the chosen cuff version.

IMG_5712The finished Shirt:

IMAG0806 IMG_5704

The sewing pattern is available via Etsy.

Stock Collar 

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