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Forum > Beginner's Forum > how to use a button hole attachment ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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how to use a button hole attachment
how to use a button hole attachment
SondraG
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SondraG
Beginner
Texas USA
Member since 7/14/08
Posts: 46
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Date: 1/2/11 4:10 PM

I am seeking a video or other tutorial for using a button hole attachment. I have the booklet for mine, but when I tried to to a test button hole, I wound up with a rat's nest of thread, so I clearly have missed a concept.

I have two options for button holes, so a video for either one would be lovely.

1. I have a 1980's era Kenmore machine with a button hole attachment that was probably intended for it. (Review of the Kenmore)
2. I have a straight stitch Singer-like ElectroGrand from the 1950's. I also have the button attachment that comes in a green egg. (ElectroGrand review)
-- Edited on 1/2/11 4:10 PM --

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Sondra

MissCelie
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MissCelie  Friend of PR
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In reply to SondraG


Date: 1/2/11 4:23 PM

Do you have a photo of the buttonhole attachment? I'm not clear if you mean a buttonholer or a button hole attachment foot.

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Cidell
www.missceliespants.com

lisalu
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lisalu
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Georgia USA
Member since 10/5/08
Posts: 2205
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In reply to SondraG


Date: 1/2/11 5:11 PM

I can tell you how to use the one in the oval green case for the vintage Singer. I have been using mine for 30 years and never had a problem with it. I'll go through the steps and you can tell me where you might be having a problem.

1. You need to either drop your feed dogs OR attach the feed cover plate that comes with the attachment. This is so the feed doesn't drag the fabric one way while the attachment is moving it in a different direction at the same time.

2. Insert your template into the attachment

3. Attach the buttonholer (assuming you know how to do this) and bring your top thread underneath the black rectangle that stabilizes the fabric

4. Set your stitch width (bight) on the attachment and your stitch length on your machine. Start out with a Medium bight and a 15 stitch for practice and adjust from there. You might try slightly increasing the upper tension, one or two numbers higher than usual.

5. Wind the knob on the top of the buttonholer until it is at the beginning position. The little silver guide finger should be right behind the needle.

6. Put your fabric in place, and with the presser foot up, lower the needle into the spot you have marked to begin your buttonhole. Make sure your threads are drawn back as you usually do when beginning to sew. (The directions tell you to draw up the bobbin thread. I never do this and never have a problem. But that is up to you - it can't hurt.) Make sure the fabric is straight and the mark for your buttonhole lines up in the middle of the black rectangle. Now lower the presser foot.

7. Slowly begin to sew. You don't have to guide the fabric or do anything except let it do its thing. Let it go around twice for a nice, sturdy buttonhole.

I can't think of what might be causing your problem if your machine is normally making a nice stitch. You could try oiling the buttonholer in case the parts aren't moving easily (I do this very rarely) and you might try adjusting the pressure on your fabric if you have it set very tightly or very loosely. The attachment needs to be able to grip the fabric but also needs to move freely. If you have the pressure adjusted for medium weight fabrics it is probably fine, but you could try adjusting it if you are still having a problem and see if it makes a difference.

Let me know which, if any, of these steps might be giving you trouble. I hope you can get it working because these attachments really do fantastic buttonholes when working properly.
-- Edited on 1/2/11 5:16 PM --

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Jim (Singer 301), Margaret (Singer 201-2), Betty (Singer 15-91), Bud (Singer 503), Kathy (Singer 221), Liz (Singer 221 Centennial Edition)
http://runningstitches-mkb.blogspot.com/

SondraG
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SondraG
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Texas USA
Member since 7/14/08
Posts: 46
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Date: 1/2/11 5:27 PM

Thanks for the comments so far. I have two buttonholers. One is for the straight stitch machine, and the other is for my zigzag Kenmore.

Kenmore buttonholer

Singer buttonholer
-- Edited on 1/2/11 5:29 PM --

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Sondra

SondraG
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SondraG
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Texas USA
Member since 7/14/08
Posts: 46
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In reply to lisalu


Date: 1/2/11 5:40 PM

Lisalu,

Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, I've gotten nowhere with the Singer buttonholer. I think the problem in that case is my ElectroGrand machine that isn't quite a Singer. The feed dogs won't drop completely, so that will interfere with the buttonholer wanting to take control. I have the metal plate, but it doesn't seem fit the ElectroGrand.

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Sondra

lisalu
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lisalu
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Georgia USA
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Date: 1/2/11 5:44 PM

Oh, I see. If you can't drop the feed dogs or apply the cover plate then that is probably the problem.

I saw your picture and the buttonholer looks like it is in good condition so it probably works fine on the right machine. If you have ever used one of these successfully, then you know they make the best buttonholes you ever saw and they are actually fun to use. Let me just say that if you come across a vintage straight stitch Singer - say a portable 99K - in a thrift store or craigslist for a good price then it might be worth snapping up to use with your attachment as a dedicated buttonholer. Seriously!

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Jim (Singer 301), Margaret (Singer 201-2), Betty (Singer 15-91), Bud (Singer 503), Kathy (Singer 221), Liz (Singer 221 Centennial Edition)
http://runningstitches-mkb.blogspot.com/

lulurose
lulurose
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Member since 11/4/09
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Date: 1/2/11 11:01 PM

I have both the kenmore and singer buttonholer, they work exactly the same way.

You might want to take your machines in..I have a machine that is identical your Electrogrand, only my name plate is different. The feed dogs should drop all the way down (see if your machine shop can fix it) and the plate does fit, maybe tinker with it a bit more.

As for the Kenmore machine I can't quite tell from the photo if you have a hole for the plate. A machine shop may be able to drill one for you.

Or any low shank (maybe high shank..I just use the low) machine with attachment holes in the base will work with these attachments. Goodwill is a great place to pick up an extra on the cheap. But they don't accept returns, take a scrap, thread and your buttonholer and ask them if you can test it first. They have never told me no.

Youtube has some great tutorials on using "vintage buttonholers". You want to get these working, They are so fun and EASY!

Good luck :0)

SondraG
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SondraG
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Texas USA
Member since 7/14/08
Posts: 46
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Date: 1/7/11 12:40 PM

I think I know what went wrong with my first try on the Kenmore buttonholer. The instructions said to set the stitch width to 1 or 2, but my sewing machine has no numbers on the zigzag width. When I used the narrowest zigzag, I get a mess. However, if I use a slightly wider zigzag, it whips out nice-looking button holes very quickly.

I also tried the Singer buttonholer on the Kenmore machine, with the machine set to a straight stitch. No luck. It didn't move the fabric at all.

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Sondra

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