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Message Board > Sewing Machines > Explain various types of buttonholes please ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Explain various types of buttonholes please
1-step vs 4 step
Scrappy Gram
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Date: 12/21/12 12:11 PM

I'm posting this under machines even though it might belong in the beginner forum. I'm not a beginner since I made all my clothes in high school, my wedding gown and toddlers clothes for my kids. All my buttonholes were bound or stitched by hand and I "hand-picked" my zippers. My mom's sewing machine was not great so I did a lot of finishing by hand.

I now own an embroidery shop and in what little free time I have, I'm a quilter. I have not followed the garment making process over the years.

I read many posts and machine reviews talking about "1-step" and "4-step" buttonholes.

I would love an explanation of these please.

Thanks,
Debbie in snowy northern NY

PattiAnnJ
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In reply to Scrappy Gram <<


Date: 12/21/12 12:26 PM

One step is selecting the one type of buttonhole.

Four step is selection the sides (2) and the ends (2) after each single step has been completed; up, across, down, across.

Here is a tutorial with pictures.

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“I don’t give them Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think it’s Hell.” — Harry Truman

"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

andye
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Date: 12/21/12 12:39 PM

A buttonhole is composed of four parts-- two bartacks, and two beads. A four step buttonhole requires the user to select the bead and bartack patterns as each part of the buttonhole is stitched out. A one step buttonhole switches from bead to bartack, to bead to bartack automatically, or in the case of manually measured buttonholes, with the press of a reverse button. It's convenience, really, but if you can rely on your buttonholer function, it takes the tedium out of constructing long rows of buttonholes.
-- Edited on 12/21/12 12:39 PM --

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Bernina B330
Feet: 1,2,3,3A,4,5,7,8,10,13,16,18,20, 29,32,35,37,50,64,70,71,82,85,86, 92

Padmé

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In reply to Scrappy Gram <<


Date: 12/21/12 1:22 PM

One step, you punch in a size on the sewing machine, like my computerized Viking and it will make that size. It allows you to pick from predetermined sizes.

You can mark and make your own size by choosing a button hole and selecting slow speed (tight areas and collar corner tabs), You make your buttonhole by having it begin and selecting your automatic reverse button to go back the other way and finish off the button.

Some machines will have a foot that you put a button in the back of the sliding foot, and bring down a bar that tells it when to reverse automatically. You just choose the button style from the ones the sewing machine has to offer you. Some machines will now open up and allow you to clamp the fabric like steak tongs or an alligator. Some just sit on top of the fabric and make the button hole that way.

Some will have you mark your size on the fabric, and then you select step one, and it does one part, then step 2, and it does that part, then step 3, and it does that part, then step 4 and it finishes or does the last 3 stitches to tie it off.

Some machines you had to zigzag down one way and the other and do a wider zz at the top and bottom. All machines you can do this with if you want a narrower width than the predetermined width the majority of machies will do.

I also think fabric, interfacing, thread, needle choices can change the look of the button hole. That's my take on it.

You can also use an old Singer or Grist type of attachment, but it's a lot like a mechanical version of a predetermind size thing.


-- Edited on 12/21/12 1:23 PM --

beauturbo
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In reply to Scrappy Gram <<


Date: 12/21/12 2:23 PM

All your buttonholes could be even way more "one step" as in you just digitize them them, keep them on file, slap the garment in/onto a hoop, press the button on your machine, and they all sew out in a row, no colors stops, or even stop codes between each one, and already all pre-spaced even.
-- Edited on 12/21/12 2:24 PM --

Skittl1321
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Date: 12/21/12 3:39 PM

My Bernina kind of has a hybrid one-step. The first button hole I have to press a button when it is the length I want it- so it is two button pushes total. But then it remembers it, so it makes the same buttonhole until I reset the memory.

I used to have a 4-step, you rotated a dial after the top horizontal, after the right side, after the bottom horizontal, and then did the left side, and I could never get the two sides to be even length.

SandiMacD
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Date: 12/22/12 5:00 AM

This is a great question. My Singer 301 had a cam Buttonhole. I picked the closest size and design to the button. It just stitched it. The work was in attaching the cam and making sure the fabric was placed correctly. Mom had a boatload of cams and huge ones for coats and 1950's buttons was not a problem.

Then I got a Bernina 430. It had a variety of buttonhole styles but offered no help explaining why I would choose one over the other or how to alter them to fit my larger buttons. My rural dealer and her customers were quilters not garment sewers, (they were happy with the machines default sizes) so I was on my own. I had to sew out tests everytime, mostly too small and I had to keep increasing the side length till it matched my buttons. It fell into the 2 step buttonhole process. I never figured out how to stitch out a wider bar tack top and bottom. I never got it to sew buttonholes big enough for coat buttons or decorative wide buttons. I never got the manual 4 step ones to match up because I couldn't figure out the memory function. It seemed to repeat (save into memory?) each test so in between each test I would have to turn it off and on again to clear it from memory. Then if I got it right and had to stop I could not turn off the machine or the buttonhole I worked so hard on would disappear. It probably had the option to create any size 4 step by selecting bar tack and satin stitch combinations but was way too complex for me to understand. I also couldn't get it to make buttonholes on kids jeans due to the seam bulk in the ends of the waistband- it always jammed with the buttonhole foot.

Next I got a Janome 350E and took a PR EMB class to learn how to embroider buttonholes. That solved the size limitation. The work all took place in hooping and aligning and stabilizing and making sure no nests or needle or thread problems- or the garment was ruined (embroidered buttonholes are impossible stitches to remove!)

Then I got a Babylock Ellisimo. For the first time I enjoyed making buttonholes!
They were very easy because I just put the button into the area behind the foot and push START and it did the rest - viola - not only was it 1 step but the end result actually fit the the button perfectly!! It also had a button size limit but I could also do larger, embroidered buttons on it.
The Ellisimo camera took all the work out hooping and aligning and it has never messed up threads or had needle problems so embroidery buttonholes were much easier than the Janome 350E and were never messed up. It also has a 4 step option and a better Memory Function than the Bernina 430 so I can use it to repeat the buttonhole over- it doesn't save it when I don't want it saved and if I do save it, it doesn't disappear when I turn off the machine. I haven't tried putting in a boy's waistband buttonhole yet but have plans to try after Chistmas.

I just bought a BL9 last week and it only makes 4 step buttonholes. I haven't tried it yet but I got it to take to classes so someday I will figure it out when I need it. From the Manual, I am guessing it doesn't have any limitations on the size of the buttonhole. The Bernina Manual only had a picture of the buttonhole icon (no help) but both BL manuals detail each step of how to adjust width and length so it seems possible at least.

Anyway, great thread, I am learning so much about the different machines and they are all a bit different when it comes to making buttonholes.
-- Edited on 12/22/12 7:49 AM --

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sewing brings joy and meaning to my life...

andye
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Date: 12/22/12 11:09 AM

Can you embroider buttonholes on heavy fabrics?

------
Bernina B330
Feet: 1,2,3,3A,4,5,7,8,10,13,16,18,20, 29,32,35,37,50,64,70,71,82,85,86, 92

Scrappy Gram
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In reply to SandiMacD <<


Date: 12/22/12 2:56 PM

Quote: SandiMacD
Then I got a Bernina 430. It had a variety of buttonhole styles but offered no help explaining why I would choose one over the other or how to alter them to fit my larger buttons. My rural dealer and her customers were quilters not garment sewers, (they were happy with the machines default sizes) so I was on my own. I had to sew out tests everytime, mostly too small and I had to keep increasing the side length till it matched my buttons. It fell into the 2 step buttonhole process. I never figured out how to stitch out a wider bar tack top and bottom. I never got it to sew buttonholes big enough for coat buttons or decorative wide buttons. I never got the manual 4 step ones to match up because I couldn't figure out the memory function. It seemed to repeat (save into memory?) each test so in between each test I would have to turn it off and on again to clear it from memory. Then if I got it right and had to stop I could not turn off the machine or the buttonhole I worked so hard on would disappear. It probably had the option to create any size 4 step by selecting bar tack and satin stitch combinations but was way too complex for me to understand. I also couldn't get it to make buttonholes on kids jeans due to the seam bulk in the ends of the waistband- it always jammed with the buttonhole foot.



Wow, makes my hand stitched buttonholes look like a piece of cake!

Thanks for the explanations - now I know my machine has what are consideered 1-step.

Debbie
beauturbo
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In reply to andye <<


Date: 12/22/12 5:19 PM

Not of any heavier of fabric that you could just embroider just any other kind of embroidery design on.

No matter how you did it, as would not really be much difference either way. Also if something is really heavy and big, just the weight of your fabric would be pulling on and messing up your hoop being able to move all by it's self, but I guess if you were standing there and holding and helping to support any extra fabric hanging out of there, it would also be just like when maybe you have to do that with any other kind of embroidery design putting it onto anything too.

Also same thing just happens anyway, with any kind of button hole gadget or foot or any machine, none of that works real good, if something real heavy in there, and pulling and tugging on it, while you are trying to sew it at the same time anyways. If doing button holes feed dogs up, sometimes some little metal plate is there to try to keep the pressure foot or gadget level on places on the seam or a facing near a button hole level, even though fabric layers might vary.

But on an embroidery machine, you got no pressure foot with feed dogs up or a ratcheting gadget moving the fabric quite the same, and I don't think it's quite as important that the whole top surface of the fabric then, (and maybe a facing seam right there, would have to be quite as level, but just try it on scraps and see what you think.

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