Making the cut

Slicing open completed buttonholes with a seam ripper is a little akin to pruning a rose bush with a chain saw; not the optimal tool for the job.

But both you and I have been cutting open buttonholes with a seam ripper for years, mostly without mishap, right? Well, sometimes we do slice thru the bar tack stitching. Occasionally we even nick a few threads in one of the two parallel rows of zig-zag stitches. Not exactly a disaster, but buttonholes are not generally improved by adding even MORE stitching to repair cut threads.

Back in the day my mom used to have a set of black buttonhole cutters with several different blade lengths, and in my infinite wisdom I threw them out many years ago. Did I somehow get the mistaken notion that the seam ripper was superior? Maybe I wasn’t making many buttonholes at that time and another specialty tool seemed superfluous (WAH-aaat? I LOVE tools!) Criminy, now that I make dress shirts for my DH, I am constantly making batches of buttonholes, which, of course, just increases the opportunities for mishaps.

Enter the Japanese buttonhole cutters. I coveted them. I tested them. I fell in love.

Buttonhole tools

A block of wood, a hammer, and a stinkin’ sharp Japanese steel blade will make buttonhole slicing a joy. Just position the blade (yep, the stinkin’ sharp one) right between the 2 parallel rows of zig-zag stitches. Do NOT get your fingers under that blade!

Positioning the blade

Give a gentle tap on the handle end, and DONE!

Making the cut!

I love these blades so much I added them to my Etsy store.  C’mon, I dare you to try them and NOT find them vastly superior to a seam ripper.


Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen





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