Buttons and button holes used to put me on edge and I avoided them for many years. I worried that the holes would not line up with the buttons or that the automatic button hole feature on my machine would somehow malfunction causing a gnarled and unsightly hole. Eventually, I overcame my fears through patience and practice and developed a method that works great for me. Assuming you are at least comfortable sewing the actual button hole but are still having issues with having them line up with the buttons, read through this post and give this simple technique a try. If my wording is confusing, the pictures say it all, well most of it. :)
Before I make the first button hole on a garment I always do a test hole on a scrap of the same fabric. I usually fold the scrap in half so that it mimics the thickness of what I will eventually make the real hole on. I then hold this test hole up to the markings I have made on the garment and adjust the length by either shorting or lengthening the lines (button size will determine this). The next step is to make all the button holes and then split them open.
Overlap or lay the button hole side of the garment onto the side of the garment where the buttons will be sewn. Position it appropriately and if you want, put a few straight pins to keep it in place while you do the next step. The next step is to take a marking tool (I use the fine tip disappearing ink pen by Dritz that we sell at the shop) and push it through the center of the button hole making a dot on the button side of the garment.
These dots are where you will place and stitch on the buttons. This is essentially, the gist of this tutorial- using the holes you just made as a guide for where you will sew the buttons. Simple!
Stitch all the buttons on.
And there you go! Perfectly matched up buttons and holes! The difference between my way and the way of most patterns out there is that I make my markings after I sew the garment. I am not a perfect sewer and my seam allowances are not always exactly what is required. This is why I love doing buttons this way. I hope all this makes sense. If you have a question feel free to ask it in the comments. Happy button sewing everyone!