Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sewing Buttonholes Without A Buttonhole Foot

Recently someone asked be to explain how I sew buttonholes, since I sew exclusively on my vintage Singer 401a, and it doesn't have an automatic button hole feature.  Now, I know there are buttonhole feet specially designed for these types of vintage machines, but for me it's just as easy to do it the old fashioned way.  And the fasted way to explain was to make a quick video.  I thought I'd go ahead and share it here, since I do mine a bit differently than most tutorials will tell you to do.

Some things to note before you watch the vid:

- I mark my lines the exact width of my button.  It makes for a pretty tight buttonhole, but I've found that they will stretch over time, so it's better to have them tighter to begin with.  Especially for clothing items.

- For my method I sew a "box", stopping and turning at the ends, as opposed to lengthening and shortening the zig zag width.  I do this mainly because I think it makes a stronger buttonhole that is less likely to unravel.

- When you stop and turn at the corners, you want your needle to be down in the outside position.  Additionally, you'll need to sew past your end mark a little bit before turning, so that the inside of your buttonhole is the correct length.  I usually just approximate, but if you need to measure it should be equal to the width of your zig zag stitch.

- I set my zig zag stitch to the widest setting, and my stitch length is just a bit less than a satin stitch.

- Normally I'd clean up all the inside bits after cutting open the buttonhole, so that there's no frayed bits poking out.

I hope you enjoyed my little impromptu video!  It was actually kind of fun to make.  Maybe I'll do more videos like this in the future, if there's any interest.  What sorts of things would you like to see? 


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