Buttonhole stitch and the related blanket stitch are hand-sewing stitches used in tailoring, embroidery, and needle lace-making.
Traditionally, this stitch has been used to secure the edges of buttonholes. In addition to reinforcing buttonholes and preventing cut fabric from raveling, buttonhole stitches are used to make stems in crewel embroidery, to make sewn eyelets, to attach applique to ground fabric, and as couching stitches. Buttonhole stitch scallops, usually raised or padded by rows of straight or chain stitches, were a popular edging in the 19th century. Buttonhole stitches are also used in cutwork, including Broderie Anglaise, and form the basis for many forms of needlelace. This stitch is well represented on 16th- and 17th-century whitework items. The buttonhole stitch appeared on the Jane Bostocke sampler (1598) which is the earliest, signed sampler known to date and is presently housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Examples of buttonhole or blanket stitches include: