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Forum > Sewing Machines > More Buttonhole frustration! Janome 3160 QDC Keyhole ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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More Buttonhole frustration! Janome 3160 QDC Keyhole
jayl65
jayl65
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Date: 6/16/13 11:16 AM

As many of you know I've been looking a new machine for a while and have posted numerous times about my continuing saga. Well before starting a new movie project I decided that I had to do something about adding a keyhole button to my machine line up. I already travel with a Pfaff 2030 and Bernina Record 830. I had stopped in the Janome dealership as welll as Bernina, Babylock and Brother dealers and ask to see machines with keyholes. In the end, the Janome 3160 QDC looked like it would fit the bill being computerized with auto thread cutting and auto buttonholes. One of the sales ladies in the store had one for sale on Craigslist and although I did'nt realize it was her until I got to her house. She explained that she works as a saleslady in the store and the owner gave her permission to sell the machine as long as she didn't advertise in the store. She had purchased the machine as a travel machine and her studio had every TOL Janome made. All in pristine orderly condition. She had decided that she didn't need the 3160 for travel and had the sewing tech at the store check it out and everything was in like new condition. I felt comfortable since the same sewing tech is the guy who maintains my machines. I tested it out and sewing multiple buttonholes and it sewed great. Needless to say I bought it.

Since then I started the new job witch is why Ive had no time to be on Pattern Review lately. Anyway, this past week I was presented with a project that required keyhole buttonholes. I felt confident since I had my new to me Janome 3160 QDC. The project was to make 3 vest from linen fabric in 12 hours. I felt fine since that gave me 4 hours per vest. Needless to say the pressure was on since the actor is super high profile. I can't name anyone because of confidentiality contracts but I can say he stared in pirate movies and a certain wonderland and chocolate factory movie. So you can guess the seriousness of the task.

The first step was to pattern the vest. Next press all of the fabric. Fuse the vest front fabric with armo weft and cut them out. So far so good. Stay tape front and arms eye. Next, welt pockets. Do they ever get any easier to remember how to do? Assemble vest and finally buttonholes. I felt good having graded the front seams down to 1/4" I marked the buttonholes and set up the 3160 and prepared to sew the buttonholes.

The first one was great. I thought I might be on to something. Then the next one. Not so great! The first side sewed great and on the reverse the machine did'nt go all the way to beginning of the other side of the keyhole and started the keyhole in the place where the hole was suppose to be. I had to stop and pick out the buttonhole. This happened 7 times. The vest had 6 button holes each, times 3 vest. The only thing that saved me time wise is that we were waiting for the buckles for the back of the vest to be delivered from Los Angeles overnight. So in the end I got an extra hour and a half.

I was so outdone with the Janome. It sews perfectly on flat fabric. Mind you that the seam allowance was not that thick. Only two layers of fused linen graded. I can't trust it to sew a button hole that I don't have to pick out. So now what? I need a machine that can do this task without complaint and correctly.

I know I have discussed this before. But please any recommendations would be appreciated. After this show Im going over to Phoenix to Raicherts to see the Juki F600. I really need to test it out before I buy one. Ive tried the bernina 710. Any other ideas instead of my Singer 1591 and button hole cams. I cant always travel with it.

Im so tired for being stressed and fighting with machines trying to get them to do what they were designed to do. I realise that I sew under conditions not usual to the general sewing community but there has to be a machine that can sew button holes accurately.

Sorry for the rambling post. This is what happens after 12 hour days and little sleep.

Soolip
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Date: 6/16/13 12:01 PM

This can happen on any machine.

Try this. Fold some pieces of heavy interfacing and place them under the foot on both sides. They should not obstruct the opening, nor should they overlap the bulk of the seam on the front edge. The goal is to even the level of the foot. Use as many layers of interfacing as necessary to match the bulk of the front seam. You are not stitching over the interfacing, just using it to level the foot. Good luck!

Grace Sews
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Date: 6/16/13 12:21 PM

Janome makes a "buttonhole stabilizer plate" for automatic buttonhole foot R. I works on Elena's also. I found it to be of great value and wouldn't hesitate to add it to my collection especially if I needed to make buttonholes on a regular basis. Mine ran about $30.00ish depending on where you buy it. I bought mine locally and needed it so I paid full price and was fine with that and happy to have it in my hands. HTH
Grace

beauturbo
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In reply to jayl65 <<
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Date: 6/16/13 5:01 PM

I think you are forgetting you got at least 3 widely varying factors in there. On anything. What exact make and model machine it is, and what is is supposed to do. The exact machine, not counting how it compares to any others just like it,in exact make and model, anyplace, particular if not new anymore, and how the last person treated it, used it, and how well it's lubricated and cleaned in every little bit of it, since was brand new. And probably just as important as all the rest, or even way more, the operator factor in there, (you) as in what you are doing, and all your thread choices, needle choice, fabric and stabilizer or interfacing choices.

All those things make a huge difference, on any machine,at any moment, and I think no one anyplace, can be all on top of all of those, and got all the very best for all of that, real quick ever always. Just on all the operator stuff, it could take a day or two, to just get used to any machine, in just the button hole function of it, if you really wanted to push it and hone it and make it your own and actually sew out, the most lovely samples and play with all sorts of combinations of stuff, on anything, no matter what. You did none of that.

I think long time ago in some other post I suggested this, but if you don't want some real expensive commercial dedicated button hole machine, (which I think some real movies might warrant) in particular if sewing tons of button holes and on duplicate extra spare costumes for everyone, and don't want to spend a huge amount of money, and you want to make some button holes for some clothes in a movie, that might have a close up on them, and want maybe 18 or so kinds of button holes, plus one that looks more hand stitched, and has the thread linkage of both threads on the top of the fabric to make it look that way, if you want it to sometimes, I think you should check out an old and used Singer XL1000, XL5000, XL6000 or elna Xquisite machine. Since they are old now, and no longer sold new, I think you could find one for maybe $500 to $800 even.

Why would one of those be good for you, in your particular circumstance, just because the button holes in them, were copied from some computer controlled commercial Juki machines inside of them, just since Juki made those machines for both Singer and elna. Also on some of the button holes there, they can utilize the machines, computer controlled, sensor involved roller bar tension, that meters out thread in such a way, that it can be pulling up the bottom thread to the top side even more electronic at will, for more a "purl" or hand look done looking button hole.

I think one of those is actually better and way ahead of any brand new Juki F600 machine, for button holes. Why do I think that?

Because they were when new more like a $3000.00 to $6000.00 made Juki machines (even if for Singer and Elna back then) and so just since they were so very expensive to make and cost so much more than a today's kind of $1000.00 Juki F600 machine when brand new, they could afford to put some extra and more expensive Juki technology stuff into them, (that came from some more commercial Juki machines) that a only $1000.00 sold now Juki F series, just cannot have in it. And those things are the Juki roller bar electronicly metered tension device with no friction disks in it, that is more like a Juki commercial machine having "Active Tensioning" and even copied the same button holes. So that is a good thing for button holes there. Also since those machines happen to also be old machine hoop embroidery machines, even though you never have to use that part at all, but in the future, if you ever wanted to, you could with some digitizing software, (and your own skills of course) even design any kind of button hole you wanted that you could even be able to imagine, to match up to any costume in any size or shape, to sew in a hoop, if you had the skills to do that, and just make it up. match up to any clothes, from any time period, and even fake any more rough and hand sewn out looking ones, or even ones sewn out with a thicker thread or even very thin yarn in the bobbin maybe.

So while I think a Juki F600 is a very nice machine, and makes real nice buttonholes, I still think all those way older Juki made home machines just because they were made so much more costly, still have some variable buttonhole stuff in them, that Juki just can't even afford to put into the newer Juki machines sold for maybe 1/3 to 1/5 or 1/6th or less of the price of some of those older ones. Does not matter on some things, but for total creativity and being able to control just everything on a button hole, I think maybe it might for you, just for that one little thing.

Also, if you have no money, why not just hit up the place that wants all the costumes for money to get done what they want? Sometimes you have to put out money to make money, and maybe it does not have to be yours. Maybe tell them, if they bought you some kind of more dedicated button hole machine, it would show in the costumes you make, you could do them much faster for them, and it could even theirs, (in ownership) as in they pay, and you just sort of have it in your possession, or you could maybe lease it back from them (for very nominal amount) from them? Talk them into that, and that they need a real button hole machine. Can you do that? I think if you are a Corporation and you buy anything new that costs over $5000.00, that probably is a Capital piece of equipment at that point, and you can probably expense it off yearly even, for maybe even up to 5 years or so, maybe even try that.

But you are not putting the time in to play with or tweek any button holes for perfection either when you test things. I know you just want what you want, but all that operator testing and tweeking and all those variables just make such a huge difference on anything, any time. So, I think no matter how busy you are or what kind of movie deadline you got for anything, you are expecting stuff that is not going to happen with any machine, unless you put all your play and experimentation hours in there (not 5 min. or 20 min.) first.
-- Edited on 6/16/13 5:25 PM --

jayl65
jayl65
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Date: 6/16/13 6:03 PM

Thanks everyone for your replies. Soolip, Thanks for an elegant and simple fix. I honestly had not thought of it under the deadline I was under. I will try this out.

Gracesews, I will check out the stabilizer plate at the Janome dealership. It sounds like it would be worth a try and the small added expense. Especially if it solves the issue I was having.

Beauturbo, I have not heard of the the Juki made singers or elnas. I will certainly research them and see what I can find out. I understand what you are saying about learning a machines limits under the best of circumstances before pushing or rushing the machine. I wish I had the time for this. I can see doing this with my own machines and will certainly take more time with the 3160 in the future. This however is completely impossible in other circumstances.
I think there is a misconception that because I am working on a movie that somehow everything is funded and supplied well. In a typical shop the machines are either rented from a dealer in Los Angeles and trucked in or rented locally in whichever city the movie is being based in. In my case on this movie. I supplied the machines which is considered my Kit. All of these machines have to be portable. I am even using a portable blind hemmer and it drives me crazy but the movie would didn't want to pay machine rental. So Im left with my Kit. So in this case a commercial button hole machine is out. I have never worked on a movie with a buttonhole machine. Even so called real movies. Its a fast paced business and since everyone wears clothes they don't see that its that big of a deal. Especially the producers and directors. They just want what they want. I unfortunately have to give them what they want. So, I guess in that light I do want what I want. I want the machine to work so I don't hold up shooting and get fired or yelled at.

I only ask here because of the wide array of people who sew with different machines. I need advice as to which ones might work in my situation. I need one or two sewing machines and a serger and blind hemmer. That is about all I can manage to carry with me on these jobs. Never mind that I have to also carry an Industrial iron, steamer,Threads, buttons zippers tailoring guts and any other sewing supply I can think of to get me started. Pack all of it up to ship. Get on a plane and unpack it when it gets to the dark warehouse in the corner with no light that I have been assigned to. LOL, It seems like Im exaggerating but it is true. So after setting up a shop in one day. Trying to get a cutting table built and enough light and power to plug everything in. Only to be faced with fittings the second day and expected to produce then. Whew! I wish I did have time to test. Im not complaining I just want you to understand that Im not being a spoiled brat. On the contrary Im working my butt off to produce in very hard circumstances.

Even in Los Angeles they are expected to produce entire suits and gowns etc overnight. Their only saving grace is that they have shops already set up to do so. I would have killed for a clam shell press to fuse the interfacing to the linen this week. Instead I used an iron and it took a while. I could have sent it to a fuser in LA if I had the time.

Sorry for the rant. I will indeed keep looking and getting to know my Janome.

Eptreadle
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Date: 6/16/13 6:22 PM

I can really sympathize with you on this buttonhole problem. I cannot get my bernina 550 to consistently make a collarband buttonhole with the automatic sensor foot, and have had difficulty with those close to a faced top or side edge, in spite of using the bernina buttonhole leveler or compensating plates or varous combinations of stabilizer. The leveler and compensating plates seem to put too much space between the fabric and needle causing tension or thread snarl woes, or the foot simply refuses to budge or gets caught up, or just continues to stitch on past the programmed turning point. I have practiced on numerous samples. I have adjusted presser foot pressure both up and down. I have tried starting the buttonhole from the opposite direction, although you are limited to do this with a keyhole style. I will fuss some with Soolip's suggestion, although this didn't work on a collarband, I think it would work on a faced front edge.

I have come to the conclusion that some automatic buttonhole feet just do not work in certain situations. Mine works perfectly on flat, perfect instances. I can make a nice buttonhole on the collarband with the manual buttonhole foot, but it doesn't exactly match the other buttonholes and isn't quite as perfect. These are perfectionist issues, I realize, and these same tendencies make me cringe at the idea of just not including the buttonhole on the collarband, which is sometimes suggested.

I agree that today's modern sewing machines should be designed with an automatic buttonhole that works for these normal sewing situations---of course you should be able to easily make a set of buttonholes down the front of a vest! My old Pfaff 7550 easily sails over automatic buttonholes in all of these so-called problem areas, but the buttonhole quality is not as good as the bernina or other newer machines. After a bunch of samples, I came up with a combination of balancing adjustment, stitch width and length that looks pretty good on the Pfaff, but it still isn't the quality of the Bernina buttonhole. It irks me that a Pfaff from over a decade ago could get the buttonhole feed right, even if quality isn't as good, when the Bernina I bought a year ago can't handle this particular task. Ease of making the buttonhole feels like a better way sometimes, and the pfaff buttonhole quality is certainly very good, but once you've seen excellent quality it's hard to give that up. I have ordered a pfaff creative performance for which I have high buttonhole hopes.

So, no real help on a machine suggestion, but a sympathetic rant, at least. It's not just you that experiences this, and if you search the internet you will find that many others have the same exact problem, and no one has yet to provide an easy remedy. I'm not sewing for a living, just for me, but I have also picked out my ruined collarband buttonhole seven times on one shirt before giving up and going to the manual foot (which again won't help for keyholes) and I know how frustrating one measly buttonhole can be, so can totally understand your stress under a deadline!

beauturbo
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Date: 6/16/13 8:10 PM

Don't suppose you could get a sample of the fabric for color ahead of time, make a bunch of button holes of right size and shape and color sewn out with whatever you wanted them to look like, in natural fiber non-meltable thread on some perfectly stiff and stable nylon organza or such, run a soldering iron around the outside of them, turn them into appliques, do that that all at your leisure (as if you would have any) so they would be perfect looking, no matter what they toss at you right then, and then just when making some of the costumes, cut a slit in them with a razor blade and tack that button hole on top of there?

Only about half way kidding, as if people just want what they want, in such a rush when they need it, with no lead time before, and no time for you to fool around with and adjust anything, and tweek it for each particular thing each time, maybe they would never even notice that either ?

No I don't know how it works, I thought still some of the movie production companies might even still have a costume department with their own stuff in it. But maybe not?

How much do you think anyone just watching a movie that does not actually sew and make buttonholes is really going to see something about a button hole on a movie screen most times? Even on some reproduction kind of thing? I notice things like that sometimes, but I think it is only because I even sew actually. And like clothes from all different times. If I did not, I think it might just sort of pass me by, in the whole rest of the watching it experience possibly?

jayl65
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In reply to beauturbo <<


Date: 6/16/13 11:17 PM

Beau, you have me very interested in the Singer xl-6000. Please feel free to contact me directly to discuss it more if you would like.

The movie business is nothing like in the old days. Everything happens fast and everyone is contracted to do the work. There is never enough time but most times there is enough money to make up for it. The only problem with this solution is that it still stresses the cutter/fitter out. It doesn't matter that they will usually get you the supplies you need when your under such deadlines. You still end up in a hurry and stressed out.

Ive been researching the juki made singers this afternoon and the feature set really appeals to me. If you have one. I would love to hear about it.

sew2006
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In reply to jayl65 <<


Date: 6/18/13 12:07 PM

The Janome buttonhole stabilizer plate part #200428004 works with the buttonhole foot that came with your machine. You basically slide in your current buttonhole foot, place your fabric between the bottom plate and the buttonhole foot and attach the whole thing to you machine. Having the fabric sandwiched between the plate and buttonhole the machine moves this unit while the fabric is inside. When it came out I sewed a fleece cuff and used it to make a buttonhole. Perfect...did several just to make sure. Did the same thing without the plate on the same machine and it always messed it up.

If you look at the parts included with the XL-6000 they had a buttonhole foot with a compensating plate for the machine. This was Singers last TOL quality sewing and embroidery machine prior to being taken over by Kolberg. SVP (Singer, Viking and Pfaff) no longer supports this machine.

------
Janome10001, Babylock ESG3, Brother ULT 2001, White 634D serger, Pfaff 1472, Singer featherweight, Singer 14T957Dc, Bernina FunLock 009DCC coverlock, Brother PQ1500S, Janome CP900.

beauturbo
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In reply to sew2006 <<


Date: 6/18/13 4:00 PM

I second that thing about support, if you decide to get that machine, and will even go so far as to say, if you did, you might not really ever get any support from Singer now ever on it at all, (I think most people whom ever knew anything about it there, really have since died, gone onto other things, or retired) as it was discontined in maybe 2006 or so, or from any sewing machine dealer anyplace ever either. So do know that going in, if you decide to do that. But you seemed a pretty smart and capable lady to me, you are a Expert/Couture sewer, sounds like you have been doing it for a living most of your life, and thes all places you work at, often even just rent you equipment sometimes, and just dump and toss that at you a lot also, of anything, and I would guess that you are able to take that in stride, work with that, and figure all those out too, so because of all those factors in there, it might not even make much difference to you personally, or it could. Only you know yourself.

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