Monday, November 8, 2010

An Old Fashioned Good Idea, The Buttonholer

I see them all the time in my thrift shop adventures.  Odd looking contraptions used to make buttonholes on your home creations.  I gathered a few and never used them until maybe a year ago.  How foolish.  These things are fun, and do an amazingly nice job.  Be warned, they are crazy to watch and they make a lot of noise.   An "entertains kids and pets" kind of thing.  For those interested in learning to sew, here's a good example of economy.  Save yourself some money and get a good older machine then add some fun stuff to make it more useful, like a buttonholer.  You won't have a one step computerized buttonhole, but this is pretty good and costs a lot less.

Usually the buttonholer box has a small manual in it.  To help make it easier to understand and a bit less scary, here are some visuals on set up and use.  The manual will tell you about changing the settings, making samples and where to start on the garment.  Enjoy!
Low Shank. Not all will fit all machines. Check This before you buy one.  This is shown on a Singer 15-91.

Fit hook over needle screw as you put it on.

Set template in, moving the plate if necessary

Screw cloth plate onto bed. This can be hard to do.

I use tape to secure the front.

Now, here is a buttonholer in action....


  1. Correction: It costs a WHOLE lot less!!! Maybe $20 for a nice old machine and $5 for a buttonholer, versus at least $300 for the least expensive quality new machine.

  2. You are so right!!! For a person learning, they are simpler and more durable too. I recommend those starting out to get a good vintage machine, some accessories then spend any extra money on a serger.

  3. When I attach my Greist/Singer buttonholer to my machine, I use the following sequence:
    1. Remove the presser foot
    2. Install the feed dog cover plate
    3. Select and install the template/cam into the buttonholer (you *can't* do it after it's attached to the machine)
    4. Attach buttonholer to presser foot bar
    5. Stitch multiple perfect buttonholes while grinning like a mad fool