Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Buttonhole Wheels Video Tutorial


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The Buttonhole Wheel uses the buttonhole stitch (also called the blanket stitch) to create a wheel. You can work buttonhole wheels with radiating spokes from a center point. You can also work the buttonhole wheel around a center dot, to create a flower or other similar element.

Buttonhole / Blanket Stitch Wheel

The trickiest part of working a buttonhole wheel is keeping the stitches from closing up on you as go around the circle. The trick to avoiding this is to always pull your working thread in the direction that you’re moving around the wheel. You want to keep a fairly tight tension on the working thread, but not so tight that the stitch buckles. This is demonstrated in the video.

Buttonhole / Blanket Stitch Wheel

Another trick to a well-made buttonhole wheel is ending the wheel in such a way that you can’t tell where the wheel begins or ends. This is also explained in the video.

Buttonhole Wheels

By changing the shape of the wheels slightly and closing up the space between them, you can produce different effects with the stitch. In the sample above, the buttonhole wheel was used to create a bunch of hollyhocks out of wool thread.

Here’s the buttonhole wheel video:

If you’d like to explore other hand embroidery stitches, feel free to check out my hand embroidery how-to videos here on Needle ‘n Thread!

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(26) Comments

  1. I just wanted to say thank you so much for these videos. I refer to them often. You do such a wonderful job in explaining the stitches as well as showing them. I’m left-handed and yet I have absolutely no difficulty in being about to make my own stitches work. Thanks Again!

  2. I just wanted to say thank you so much for these videos. I refer to them often. You do such a wonderful job in explaining the stitches as well as showing them. I’m left-handed and yet I have absolutely no difficulty in being about to make my own stitches work. Thanks Again!

  3. Thank you so much for video’s of stitches. These are really helpful in so many ways. One way is slowing a collection of the sticthes to gether to make something like what you did with the button hole wheels. Linda

  4. Thanks so much for this video! I just could not “get” this stitch from written instructions, and wasted too much time and yarn in frustration! Watching the video, I instantly saw what I was doing wrong. Thanks so much! – Ivy

  5. Mary, This video is great (as they ALL are!). And when I took a look at your hollyhocks from the link, I can see how it can be used so beautifully. Thanks again for bringing my love for embroidery back into my life. You make it so so easy. Linda in Israel

  6. Thanks, Linda! I’m glad you’re enjoying embroidery again! It’s such a pleasure, isn’t it? Relaxing, creative…. Enjoy your stitching!


  7. I really appreciate that you took the time to make these videos to share with us. They are so incredibly helpful! I could never quite figure out how to start the buttonhole wheel until seeing your tutorial.

    Your web page and blog are such a great resource for people who are interested in embroidery!

  8. im looking for the circle pattern that goes good with checked fabric can you help me it has a x inside the circle its something like blackwork star pleas help laura

  9. Your videos are great… just great especially for beginners like me! Can I ask what kind of thread you used in the video? Thanks!!

  10. Thanks a lot Mary for the guidance. You gave me a very helpful guide. I really like your design. You always use bright colours, very interesting.I am using DMC thread too for my special design,it is colorful and long-lasting.Not faded.
    Thanks again!

  11. Hi Mary,

    When I do buttonhole flowers, the outside edge seems to work its way loose and roll in towards the center over time. Any tips to avoid this?



    1. I was hoping there would be an answer to this as I’m having the same problem. I’m wondering if it’s because my fabric isn’t stiff enough to hold the shape.

  12. WOW! this will be great for my project! And I am also looking for really cool and hard stitches like curlicues always accepting help

    Natalie age ten in FL

  13. Could you please tell me which fabric are you using in the tutorials? I am totally lost when it comes to the materials. I mean I know you can embroidery on anything, but if you’re doing something to frame or make a pillow covering out of, it should be a little sturdier I would think, and I’m not sure what to look for. Thank you.

    1. Hi, Judy – For all purpose embroidery, I like Alba Maxima by Legacy. It’s available at Hedgehog Handworks, where you can buy it in a fat quarter, fat half, or hard – the fat quarter is a pretty good sized piece!

  14. your videos are so helpful to my daughter she uses them for different stiches for her textiles work for school she loves your website thank you for your amazing tutorials!!!!

  15. I am having such a hard time with the buttonhole wheel. I finish the stitch and it looks great but the the sides slowly start to buckle. Any thoughts.

    And thanks. Your videos are my go to!

    1. Hi, Anne – try working them in the other direction. For some people, that helps! You need to pull away from the center of the wheel with the working thread, as you pull the thread through on the design line (the outer section where the twist forms), and keep tension on the thread to hold the previous stitch in place while you work the next stitch. But I’d try working them in the opposite direction you’ve been working them in, just to see if it helps you a bit. No harm trying! 🙂

  16. Mary,
    I am new to embroidery and recently discovered your website. I have watched a lot of how to videos on YouTube and I just want you to know, that I find yours to be the best! They are clear, instructions are concise and information is presented so we beginners can understand and absorb. I am also thankful for all of the tips and solid, helpful information you have on your website. Thank you!

    Best of luck with your new studio. and please keep up the great work!

    Judy Purman

  17. I love this stitch, but mine ALWAYS closes in on itself. Is it just because of the way I’m pulling the thread? Any further pointers you may have would be helpful. Thank you, Mary. I watch your videos ALL the time. Being somewhat new to embroidery, I find your videos the most helpful.


    1. Yes, it has to do with your tension and the direction you’re pulling your thread when you work the stitch. Hold the working thread under tension when you pull through to the front of the fabric, inside the “crook” of the buttonhole, and pull out away from the center of the circle in the direction that you are stitching. Stop pulling as soon as the stitch touches the working thread – don’t keep pulling. If it’s pulled too tightly, the wheel will pull into the center.

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