Detached Button Hole Filling


This stitch is no different to any other so don’t panic or dismiss trying it. Practice will help you understand the mechanics of the stitch. Then you will fall into its rhythm and be able to perfect your tension.

Tension is important – it is easy to work it too tightly or too loosely. Practice on a doodle cloth until you feel comfortable.

Let’s look at a symmetrical shape to practice with. An acorn cup is a good one.

The first step is to stitch out the shape of the acorn cup using double running or back stitch. I have used double running.


Without piercing the fabric go under the first double running stitch and under the trailing thread.


Go over the the loop of your working thread and pull gently.


This completes the first button hole stitch.


Repeat through each double running stitch until the row is complete.


I found it useful to use my needle to prevent pulling the thread too tight and maintain an even tension across the motif.


Ensure you include the last double running stitch.


Take the thread down under the fabric here.


The first row is complete.


Repeat the whole process again starting with laying another trailing thread.





Lay the last trailing thread. Anchor the last row by taking your needle not only under the buttonhole loop, the trailing thread but also under the double running stitch.



From the back of the fabric you can see that the fabric has not been pierced by the detached buttonhole stitches.

18Let us look at a more complicated shape- a flower.


I began by outlining the first petal in double running stitch. Then started to stitch the rows of detached buttonhole in the right hand tip.


Don’t worry too much how the row looks as you stitch it. When adding the following row you will see the prior row take shape.  Have confidence in your work – see how the same rows look in the photo above and then the photo below.

Then I worked the left hand tip followed by a line of stitches across the entire width of the petal


Cast on extra stitches as you work across so that there is room to add padding to the petal to give it shape.

I used ends of thread (ORTS) of the same colour, scrunched up and pushed under the stitching before the last row was stitched and then secured the petal by anchoring down the last row.

I then worked the petals either side of the first one, followed by the fourth, then finally the centre.


Please excuse the lines on this photo.


I used a Mill Hill petite bead to pad the petals of the little flower as they were too small to pad with thread.


Detached Buttonhole Filling can be used to create wonderful textures and add dimension to your work. The same flower has been stitched above in satin stitch and detached buttonhole filling.

1 & 2 are acorn cups using the shape we practiced with above. The leaf marked at 3 has been padded and the leaf at 4 has no padding.

Have fun experimenting with this stitch.