So as I sit to write about this topic, I have to first admit that I learned to make buttonholes on my modern Bernina. It wasn’t until about 6 months ago that I actually learned how to make buttonholes manually. With that said, this is one thing that I would ask to check out when sewing machine shopping. Having a machine that makes buttonholes a breeze will save your sewing sanity. Also, it comes in particularly helpful when making the Beignet skirt.
My machine has what is called an automatic buttonhole foot and a featured called temporary altered stitch memory. Basically, what this means is that once I get a buttonhole that is the correct size, it will sew the same one over and over again. The buttonhole foot itself looks rather complex, but it really isn’t. There is a red sliding guide along one side and a red tick to mark the start. I use the sliding guide to set the size of buttonhole I want. Then I select the style of buttonhole that I would like. I have five options, of which I typically use one style: stitch #10.
To start the stitch, the machine will satin stitch down the left side. I watch as the guide I set moves closer to the beginning red tick.
When they match, I press reverse and the machine straights stitches in reverse back to the beginning, bartacks, satins down the right side and bartacks the end. That’s it! Can you see how much easier this can make things?
Now, about a manual buttonhole, they really aren’t so hard either. The older mechanical style Bernina’s have a dial that you turn as you go through the sequence of the buttonhole stitch. This dial will keep you on track and adjust your stitch width/length settings and needle position. The only hard part is that you have to measure out well and go slow so that your bartacks line up at beginning.
As if the automatic buttonhole wasn’t enough, I can sew a button on using my machine. I know that it is not hard to sew a button on by hand and I do enjoy hand sewing. But this is just so addictive! The foot is #18.
There is an adjustable metal bar in the middle of the foot that can be raised to increase the button’s shank. The stitch depends on which machine you have, but it is essentially as zig zag stitch with the feed dogs dropped (so it stitches in place). The spacing between holes on most buttons is the same no matter what size the button is. I always turn the hand wheel through the first few stitches to make sure that my needle doesn’t hit the button.
OK, so I promise that it is not my aim to sell you all on Bernina’s, but rather open up a discussion. I am sure that many sewing machines make this stitch easier to achieve. How do you do buttonholes on your machine? Do you like doing buttons?