01/29/19                            #798
Buttons, buttons, who's got the buttons?
There are few things as classic to knit as a simple button-down cardigan. They go with most any outfits, and can be worn all year long (especially if you live in places that like to blast the air-conditioning in the summer months). But a button-down cardigan means attaching buttons, and for some of us, that can be a bit of a chore. I'm pointing to myself here, as a person who knit a lovely cardigan last year and still hasn't attached the buttons (in my defense, I moved apartments and haven't quite found all of them yet).
I came across this post on the Berroco Blog that Cirilia wrote a while ago about her love of cardigans, and it included some great tips for sewing on buttons to cardigans! Since this week's free pattern, Regan, calls for buttons, I thought I'd share some of them in today's email. 

Cirilia's first tip is to pick a button before you finish your sweater. You’ll need to coordinate the size of your buttonholes with the size of your buttons. Try to pick buttons that aren’t too heavy. They might be gorgeous, but heavy buttons will quickly pull your sweater out of shape.

To add stability to the button band, especially if you’re using a heavy button, use a flat plastic button as a backing button: sandwich the sweater fabric between the two buttons and sew through the buttons. This will keep the strain on the backing button and not the fabric. A row of grosgrain ribbon can also serve as a supportive backing.

As for sewing the buttons on, debate rages on what to use. Often the yarn you’ve knit with will be too thick to pass through a regular needle eye or a button. Some people suggest using sewing thread, but others feel that this can eventually cut through the yarn. Using yarn to attach the buttons might work but a rough button might eventually cut through the yarn! My favorite compromise is using a sock yarn, or a thin yarn that contains silk, mohair, or nylon. These are naturally strong fibers and will stand up to lots of wear. And blog reader Kathleen left a brilliant suggestion in the comments–she uses embroidery floss!

Cirilia even made a video about ten years ago showing how you can add a button loop as an afterthought—maybe you want to add a simple closure to an open-front cardigan, or just want a more decorative look for your buttons.
Download This Week's Free Pattern
Practice any of these tips with this week's free pattern! Regan features knit-as-you-go buttonbands and buttonholes. A simple eyelet stitch pattern is set into the front edges, set against the reverse stockinette stitch background.
Do you have any button-sewing tips to share? Let us know on the Berroco blog!

Happy knitting,

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