There are lots of ways to combine the button rags with the needlework rage, thanks to those little mounting buttons you can get at the dime store. A tiny place of embroidered linen can pop easily into the metal button form. Or how about doing needlepoint buttons in No. 24 interiocked canvas - that versatile much that becomes soft and supple when you wash it?

Strangely enough, there's much controversy about the buttonhole stitch. The embroidery buttonhole - or blanket stitch - is often referred to simply as "buttonhole stitch." And this where the confusion sets in. Really, the embroidery buttonhole is quite distinct from the tailor's - or real - buttonhole, the fabric. There's an extra twist that makes a ridge at the edge, which the embroidery buttonhole, or blanket stitch, just does not have.

It's not surprising that sewing machine manufacturers have put much of their time and energy into developing and improving upon buttonhole attachments, for making buttonholes is usually no laughing matter. In fact, I remember weeping many tears as a child, trying to get a perfectly attached buttonhole. I find they're about the hardest thing to do.

Why not "improvise" on buttonholes and make an oval opening, then use a shank (long and narrow) button that will slip through the hole and lie across it to hold firmly in place. To make the oval, you can borrow from white work's Broderie Anglaise. First, draw a teardrop shape horizontally on your garment, then do tiny running stitches around in outline, slit it straight down the center and make two slits on either side as in the diagram. Fold back the four flags - and oversew with little stitches in matching thread.

If you find making these "simple" buttonholes infections, go one step further - the Elizabethan method. They had a genius fo layering.

You can work buttonholes all over an evening blouse, and then for fun pull individual lace handkerchiefs half-way though them here and there. Guaranteed to evoke some comment at your party.

Q: Recently I traced a beautiful sampler from a magarine using your "stitch witchery" transferring method.

When it came to doing the flowers, I became very disappointed - the dressmaker's carbon caused my lighter threads to be tinged with blue. The thread picked up the blue from the Granted, this may be a good way to maintain a high standard of work, but I feel something is lost along the way because I love to see a tremendous variety displayed. Frequently, what wins the popular vote (the piece chosen by the viewing public as their favorite) as not necessarily a prize winner.

Q: Do you have any ideas for tooth-fairy pillows? These are small pillows with a little pocket so that a child can leave a tooth in exchange for money from the fairy.

A: The most original tooth-fairy pillow I've seen was at a needlework show in La Jolla, Calif., recently. It was a tooth-fairy "bank" - a square pillow with a building stitched in red and blue, with a pocket labeled "night deposits" (for the tooth) and another one that said "cash withdrawals" (for the loot.)