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Message Board > Sewing Machines > Mechanical Buttonhole Cams ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Mechanical Buttonhole Cams
Do These Make Better, More Reliable Buttonholes?
cecelia
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cecelia
Intermediate
CT USA
Member since 5/4/06
Posts: 76
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Date: 9/26/08 1:49 PM

I've just finished a lined jacket and am, or was, in the process of making buttonholes. I have a Babylock Espire with the buttonhole attachment that is attached as a presser foot. I've interfaced my fabric, used a new needle, cleaned the needle, didn't start on the edge, and have used stabilizer. Alas, 2 screwed up buttonholes, and I'm in practically in tears after all my work on the jacket . This has happened before, and I'm ready to either switch to bound buttonholes, handmade buttonholes, or my old Kenmore mechanical with the old fashioned cams. My machine will go so far and then starts "sewing in place." My ripped out buttonholes look terrible. Does anyone here use the old cams with success?

------
Cecelia (Christine)
"So what is the solution? Do as the duckling does. Go ahead, struggle through it...Do your art...Keep moving." Clarissa P. Estes

EveS
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EveS  Friend of PR
Intermediate
MI USA
Member since 11/26/06
Posts: 2701

Going to PR Weekend Austin!
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In reply to cecelia


Date: 9/26/08 2:27 PM

Oh, how I feel your pain. My Kenmore (which I love dearly) just couldn't hack the (auto-made) buttonholes in a wool coat. In fact, my insisting that it would eventually sent my machine to the dr. My fault. I ended up making manual buttonholes - i.e., short zz w/ a bartack at each end and it did fine. After researching this subject on the boards here, I learned that that's the nature of a lot of the auto-type buttonholers...they're just not great at bh's in heavier weights (incidentally, my machine makes lovely blouse-weight bh's). So while I can't speak of the BL, it very may well be a general issue.

My wonderful brother gifted me an old Singer 328 to serve as a backup machine. This thing will sew thru a 2x4, I think. It handles heavy-duty buttonholes with no problem whatsoever. Long story short...I'm sold on the vintage machines for this type of heavy duty sewing. If I were you, I'd dust off your "mature" friend and give her a go on some scrap fabric. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Eve

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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it - Chinese proverb

nancy2001
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nancy2001  Friend of PR
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AL USA
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Date: 9/26/08 2:49 PM

I would recommend that anyone planning to sew a machine made buttonhole first set up an exact mockup of the fabric and interfacing and then test at least half a dozen practice buttonholes. That way, you'll be able to discover whether or not your machine can handle the job without risking your jacket.

------
No sewing project is ever a complete success nor a total failure.

cecelia
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cecelia
Intermediate
CT USA
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Posts: 76
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Date: 9/26/08 2:57 PM

Thanks, Eve & Nancy, I think I'll do just that--bring up my old Kenmore (luckily, I kept it!) and sew a bunch of buttonholes with the same interfacing set-up, over and over. In the meantime, I need to cover up these "bungled buttonholes" with a "design element." Not sure what yet though. And yes, the BL does wonderful buttonholes on blouses! Just not jackets, argggg.

------
Cecelia (Christine)
"So what is the solution? Do as the duckling does. Go ahead, struggle through it...Do your art...Keep moving." Clarissa P. Estes

MissCelie
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MissCelie  Friend of PR
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In reply to cecelia


Date: 9/26/08 3:13 PM

Quote: cecelia
Does anyone here use the old cams with success?

I use the old school buttonholer with templates and it works like a dream for me in my thicker fabrics. Like Eve, I have an automatic buttonholer on my Kenmore, but it practically smokes when I do something too thick.

I wrote a review last year

------
Cidell
www.missceliespants.com

Sewandwrite
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Sewandwrite  Friend of PR
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MD USA
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Date: 9/26/08 3:23 PM

My Singer 15-91's ability to sew through anything that I can get under the presser foot and its cam-using buttonhole attachment is the main reason I'm keeping this machine! Talk about a one-step buttonhole...

Cecelia, good luck with your design element.

Betakin
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Betakin
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AZ USA
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Date: 9/26/08 8:16 PM

I don't care for the one step buttonholes even though I have 2 machines that do them in different styles. I prefer to use the PBB's different style BH's on my Viking and also my mechanical Pfaff makes beautiful buttonholes on any fabric but only one style.
I haven't even tried the one step BH's on one of my machines since I did try it on the other one. I just find the large one step BH foot to be a bit large (for me) to use and place properly but I know many people like them. The one step BH's makes the same size everytime but I don't like guess work in proper placement and I do struggle with that big foot.

cecelia
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cecelia
Intermediate
CT USA
Member since 5/4/06
Posts: 76
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Date: 9/27/08 2:35 PM

Thanks for everyone's help and your wonderful review, Cidell! I went to my Babylock dealer this morning with my problem, and he had 2 additional suggestions. The first was to lengthen the stitch, and the second was to use a "stretch" or "heirloom" buttonhole because they don't utilize the satin stitch, but instead, zigzag the buttonhole. Of course, his other suggestion was to trade in my Espire for the Ellegante which does have a buttonhole for thick fabrics, LOL. I'm off to dig out my Kenmore with the cams!

------
Cecelia (Christine)
"So what is the solution? Do as the duckling does. Go ahead, struggle through it...Do your art...Keep moving." Clarissa P. Estes

BeeBeeSew
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BeeBeeSew
Advanced Beginner
MD USA
Member since 12/13/07
Posts: 826
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Date: 9/28/08 9:00 AM

I'm a follower of the old fashioned button holes. I have a Pfaff Smart and the BH's are just awful. They don't start and stop in the same place. And they don't leave enough room between the sides to cut. I almost always end up cutting my stitches My old Singer makes beautiful ones every time. I usually do a few tests to get the look I want and then just run thru them. Never had to rip out a one. And you can make some interesting design elements with them by changing thread colors and depth and going around twice - especially good for heavy fabrics.

cecelia
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cecelia
Intermediate
CT USA
Member since 5/4/06
Posts: 76
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In reply to BeeBeeSew


Date: 9/28/08 3:47 PM

Out of curiosity, what kind of buttonhole does your Singer do? Does it use cams. or do you use a 4 step. or something else? Thanks! I took out my old Kenmore with the cams, but it's been a while, so it would need work before I could actually use it. On the other hand, I just practiced on my Industrial Singer, which has a 4 step, and it worked great. I tried the advice of the Babylock salesman, and the first 2 buttonholes which used zigzag instead of satin stitch came out fine--the last one wonky, and I had to rip it out. Very frustrating. My industrial Singer has now earned it's place in my sewing room!

------
Cecelia (Christine)
"So what is the solution? Do as the duckling does. Go ahead, struggle through it...Do your art...Keep moving." Clarissa P. Estes

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