Button bands, button bands....
Use a much smaller needle to do your front bands -- I knit the body on 3.25mm needles, and got 8 sts to the inch. The cardigan button bands I'm using a 2.5mm needle.
Knit up a stitch for every row. By knit up I mean -- designate the space between your steek edge stitch (which is in the background shade always which makes it a definite row that you can see) and the first stitch of the body -- you need to go down between these two stitches, wrap your yarn around the needle and pull a stitch up through your knitting.
You do this for each and every row.
I picked up 182 stitches on my front button bands -- I also count how many I did on each edge of existing ribbing (the bottom rib and the neckline rib) to make sure that I picked up the same amount on both sides -- the rest of the stitches being picked up on the body rows.
Because this is corrugated ribbing, being done on a smaller needle, it will pull in a bit on it's own -- but will easily block out. You actually want your front rib to look a little short -- because with blocking, it will be perfect and not "droop" when worn.
Here's a photo of the Alcea body -- the button side band is knit and I've picked up for the button hole band.
You can see that the side with the band on it is slightly shorter, and the side where I've picked up the stitches isn't.
Here's a closeup.
You can see how close the knitted up stitches are -- if you miss a row, it is obvious!
I've got the perfect buttons, so I'll sew them on, press Alcea to make it look really pretty, cut open my armhole steeks, and measure for the sleeves!