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Message Board > Sewing Techniques and Tips > Sewing a Buttonhole "Manually" ( Moderated by MissCelie)

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Sewing a Buttonhole "Manually"
sewpatty
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sewpatty  Friend of PR
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Member since 1/9/10
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Date: 1/17/10 8:34 AM

What is the general technique (using sating stitch, etc) for making a buttonhole via machine that doesn't have an auto or 4-step buttonhole? I am looking for the general steps and settings one uses. If this is somewhere in the forums here already, please point me to that or to some other reference.

Thank you loads. Patty

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Machines:
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Annie- oh
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Annie- oh
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Subject: Sewing a Buttonhole Manually Date: 1/17/10 9:54 AM

Patty - I used a zigzag machine for years to make buttonholes, and still do, occasionally, when cussing at my 'automatic' hasn't helped unsnarl a mess:

Start with needle in left position at top of buttonhole, do a wide, very close (satin stitch) zigzag - #4 width on my old Singer. Do 3-5 zigzags.

Then, leave the needle in the right position of that zigzag, change the width of the zigzag (#2) go straight down the length of the buttonhole.

Needle in right positoin, same wide zigzags again several times, leave needle in left position, in fabric.

Lift presser foot, turn fabric 180 degrees so the top of button hole is now on the bottom nearest you.

Narrow zigzag to beginning,the line will be close to and parallel to the first narrow zigzag, needle on right, a wide zigzag. to meet the beginning zigzag. Backstitch or a few tiny stitches to tie off.

Getting a good satin stitch in the fabric is the hardest part, but it is an excellent buttonhole.


-- Edited on 1/17/10 10:06 AM --

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Miss Fairchild
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In reply to sewpatty


Date: 1/17/10 10:01 AM

First, mark on your fabric your buttonhole. Mark both sides, and the top and bottom. When marking both sides, leave a little space between the two, because you are going to insert the button here. Nothing more than 1/16 to 1/8 inch.

Starting from the end (top, if you look at it that way) set your zigzag stitch to a 4 and your stitch length to a small stitch that doesn't show fabric (you might want to test this on a scrap first). On the line you marked, stitch down to the next mark (the other end or the bottom). Raise the presser foot, but leave the needle down. Pivot the fabric. Lower the presser foot and make 6-8 stitches across the bottom, to the next mark. Leave the needle in and raise the presser foot. Pivot the fabric. Then stitch up the other side, on the line. And do the same steps to finish the top.

Use a buttonhole cutter/knife to open your buttonhole. These are really nice and sometimes come in a 1/2" to 5/8" width, which are common sizes of buttons.

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Wino
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In reply to Annie- oh


Date: 1/17/10 10:54 AM

Thanks for these super clear instructions. I want to try this the next time my sensor buttonhole foot isn't behaving.

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wino

sewpatty
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sewpatty  Friend of PR
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Subject: Sewing a Buttonhole Manually Date: 1/18/10 5:20 PM

Thank you for the input. I am anxious to try this. I have about given up on the machine automatic buttonhole.

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Machines:
Juki TL98Q Lockstitch
Juki Exceed F-600
Janome Coverpro 1000cpx Coverhem
White Superlock 1900 Serger
Juki 644D Serger
Featherweight 221K

Sharon M
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Date: 1/18/10 6:02 PM

Years ago, before I had a buttonhole maker, I simply avoided making buttonholes as I had no idea how to manually sew a decent looking one. Thanks for posting these instructions!

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Janie Viers
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Subject: Sewing a Buttonhole Manually Date: 1/19/10 8:48 AM

I like to start the manual buttonhole process by using a small straight stitch to outline the buttonhole I want to stitch. That way I don't make the buttonhole too long or too wide.

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JanieV

tgm and Kittys
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Subject: Sewing a Buttonhole Manually Date: 8/12/12 8:13 AM

buttonholethread... added for searches.

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JeanM

JeanM
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In reply to sewpatty <<


Date: 8/12/12 9:29 PM

There was a set of instructions in Threads magazine, several years ago, also. I wish I remember which issue it was in! I can't stand the built-in buttonhole on my machine - doesn't cover the fabric thoroughly, doesn't make a consistent sized buttonhole - if I need 6 the same size, I end up with 6 obviously different sized buttonholes, and doesn't look good to boot!

This is, more or less, what I do for a manual buttonhole - pretty much the same as Annie-Oh's above (Sorry for the double posting!):

I mark the buttonhole ends and center line; center line is slightly longer than the width of the button.

With stitch length at zero and stitch width at it's widest setting (on my machine, the wide setting is 6), make 3 or 4 stitches at the farther end marking.

Leaving the needle down on the right hand side of the buttonhole-to-be, raise presser foot, change stitch width setting to narrower - slightly below 3 on my machine, and the stitch length to just a bit above zero (so the stitches will cover the fabric); then stitch to the closer end marking.

Leaving the needle down, raise presser foot, and change stitch length to zero, stitch width back to widest setting. Make about 7 - 8 stitches, ending with the needle down on the left side of the buttonhole-to-be.

Set the stitch width to zero, and leave the length at zero. Make one stitch, leaving the needle down. Raise the presser foot and rotate the fabric 180 degrees. The un-stitched side will now be to the right; set the stitch width setting to narrower and the stitch length to just a bit above zero; then stitch to the closer end marking.

Leaving the needle down, set stitch width back to wide, and length back to zero, and make 3 or 4 stitches.

At this point, I think the original instructions said to leave long thread tales, pull them to the back, and knot. I usually return to straight stitch, using a short stitch length, and stitch once around the outside of the buttonhole.

I had to practice some - but it's a vast improvement over the machine's version! Someday I'd love to have a machine that will allow me to use my old Singer buttonhole attachment - that makes bea-u-ti-ful buttonholes!
-- Edited on 8/12/12 9:30 PM --

elizajo
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elizajo  Friend of PR
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Subject: Sewing a Buttonhole Manually Date: 8/13/12 11:12 AM

I draw out all of my buttonholes on a long strip of white tissue paper using a disappearing ink marker. This provides a template for spacing and length, along with stabilizing the stitches.

I had to sit down and practice making buttonholes many times before it became natural for me. Needle position at each corner of the buttonhole is important, along with consistent density of stitches.

------
Elizabeth

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