Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Favorite Feet - The Buttonhole Foot and Button Fitting Foot

Here we go with another foot in this series of My Favorite Feet.  And yo, if you're going to rip this post from this blog and translate and retranslate like you did last time, at least get the English right.  Oh, and thanks for naming me as the author of your Engrish, that was fabulous.  I is literate, yanno. 

Anyhoo.  Here's all of 'em.  Behold!

I'll be discussing the Buttonhole Foot - the giant white one in the middle, and the Button Fitting Foot, the clear and blue one next to it.

Buttonholes aren't just for buttons.  I use them on drawstring bags for storing the felt food I sell.  And there's plenty of different kinds of button holes, phew! 

Image Copyright Brother USA - click to enlarge

At the top of the foot is an adjustable slot to insert a button.  Why?  So it automatically sizes the buttonhole for you to match the button.  What a country!!

Thread the upper thread through the hole in the foot, and pull it through, along with the bobbin thread.

However, I'm making a buttonhole for a drawstring, so no button needed.  Still, I need to adjust the empty area to make a hole large enough for a drawstring. 

First, I mark the area where the buttons go with an upside down T.  Use chalk or a disappearing ink pen.  

Since a drawstring entails a lot of stress, I'm using the horizontal buttonhole for areas subject to strain.  The stitch width defaults to 0.5 mm.  I decreased it to 0.2 mm for added strength (more stitches).

This was as low as it would go.

Line up the intersecting marks to the marks on the foot, and let 'er rip.

Ta Da!  Perfect buttonhole.  Don't cut the threads; tie them into an overhand knot to secure the stitching.

Use a seam ripper to carefully open the hole, taking care not to touch any of the sewn threads. 

I add some Fray Check to give it more strength.  I'm dribbly too, my bad.  

And...a perfect buttonhole for a drawstring!

Now what about the buttons?  I snagged this from an earlier post about hairbow boards.  Using the button fitting foot, you can sew buttons in a snap!

Using a seam gauge, measure the width between the holes in the button precisely, and set the machine.  You don't necessarily need a fancy machine to do a buttonhole.  You could probably do it with a standard foot and a zig zag stitch, but you'd have to be very careful!  Drop the feed dogs so the fabric and buttons don't go flying!

Now, get ready....

I like to drop the foot onto my mark, then carefully raise the foot to insert the button.  This is a lot easier than trying to drop the foot onto the button and the fabric mark at the same time.

Get set....

If you're sewing a 4-holed button, do the front holes first, then the rear holes.

But the most important part: Always turn the handcrank slowly to test the first couple stitches!!!  Never assume you're in line and slam on the foot pedal unless you like broken needles and scratched corneas.  It should go without saying that broken needles can a) fuck up your machine badly, and b) injure you severely.  Want a broken needle in your eye?  Yeah, me neither!

Moving on.  Clip the bobbin threads long enough so you can tie off on the backside of the fabric.  I use a plain old overhand square knot.

And voila, button attached!

And that's it for buttons!  You can use buttons for decorative use, and buttonholes for stuff other than buttons.  Neat-o. 

(Yay!  Now I can steal content from my own blog!!)


  1. Hey just wanted to thank you for a straight forward post about machine sewing buttons. I'm a knitter looking into buying a sewing machine simply to help with buttons and your post really helped me out since I'm a total sewing newb. I think I'll buy this brother machine at Costco after all! Thanks again!

  2. Fantastic! But I'll let you know, this foot isn't exclusive to this machine. That's a standard foot, for the most part, and any mid-grade (meaning anything beyond a beginner model with only 5 stitches: straight to zigzag) sewing machine model should have a foot like this. If it's not included in the original packaging, you can readily order them a la carte, so to speak. A lot of the beginner machines have a buttonhole feature whereby you adjust a knob on the machine and do it step by step with a zigzag foot...this isn't the same. And that's better than doing it the old fashioned way, but not much of an improvement. I have a machine like that stashed in storage, and I never use it.

    The feet in the main picture feature many feet that came with my machine, as well as I few that I obtained for specialty sewing, such as the gathering and binding feet.


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