One-step buttoholes in 29 seconds!


Not too long ago, I opened up to you guys about my aversion to zips and love affair with buttonholes. The thing that surprised me most about your comments is that so many of you feel the opposite, in that you struggle with and dislike sewing buttonholes. I'm quite baffled by this!

I don't mean to brag, but my middle-of-the-range machine (a Brother Innovis 10A) does one-step buttonholes quickly, effortlessly and consecutively. If you're in the market for a new machine, I would suggest you give a lot of thought to the buttonhole function. In the meantime, I thought I'd take this chance to just show you how a machine like mine executes buttonholes, as it might be useful as a comparison.

Turn the dial to one of the three different types of buttonholes available. Number 14 suits regular fabrics, whilst 15 and 16 are best for thicker ones and fabrics with a pile. Being a computerised machine it automatically picks optimal stitch settings for you based on regular fabrics, so you'll need to adjust manually if sewing with something less conventional.   


You then place your button in your buttonhole foot, making sure it's nice and secure, and attach to the presser.


Before you start sewing make sure you pull your buttonhole guide all the way down. This acts as the sensor, telling your machine when to turn around and ensuring your buttonhole is the right size for your chosen button.


All that's left to do now is line up your buttonhole foot on your marked fabric and hit that foot peddle!


Not a bad result in just 29 seconds eh? Obviously the exact timing depends on you and how fast you're comfortable going. Here's a sample of each buttonhole for you to feast your eyes upon - 16, 15 and 14.


However easy the above seems, many of you have said that despite managing perfect test buttonholes, when it comes to the real thing your machine plays up. I've been thinking about this and I actually remember having the exact same problem with my old Janome, which had a 2 or maybe even 4-step buttonhole setting. It turns out that my Janome didn't have a good 'memory', so I had to re-set everything each time I embarked on a new buttonhole. Although this was a tad more time-consuming, it did do the trick. 

So regardless of your machine and buttonhole setting, if you're experiencing issues between buttonholes,, just try switching your machine to a different setting and back again before each one. It might also help to raise and lower your buttonhole guide each time as well. Hopefully this simple solution will lead to flawless buttonholes for you too!

39 comments:

  1. I have my mother's old (but not that old) sewing machine that has an auto-buttonhole feature... I even remember using it as a kid! But when the machine came to me that buttonhole foot did not! And now we can't find one for it :(
    So I've been a avoiding buttonholes lately, except when I made Tilly' Picnic Blanket skirt and I free handed the buttonholes on my machine. I was so proud of those little holes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You free handed buttonholes on a machine?!? Wow!!! I wouldn't know where to begin...

      Delete
  2. Lovely article - thanks! I had a problem with my Pfaff not understanding (OK, it was me!) when I started a new buttonhole (it is also a 'one step' buttonholer). It was such a pain that I resorted to setting up my Singer Featherweight with an old Singer buttonholer - the one that takes cams - and doing the buttonholes on that. I know have got my Pfaff (OK, so I have learned) to do pretty good buttonholes, but I do prefer the old Singer ones - I can go round the buttonhole twice and the bit of fabric to cut is a little larger than the buttonholes on my Pfaff.

    But what is even easier than butonholes . . . . invisible zips! They are quick and easy and look great - go on, give them a go!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like you've now got two good options for buttonholes at least! And yes, I love the look of invisible zips...just need to master them ;o)

      Delete
  3. I love my one step buttonhole too! But I will say, whilst my Janome seems to function the same way as yours, I am not always happy with the size of the hole based on the button in the back of the foot. It generally seems too large. So I'd agree that it's imperative to do a test run and also completely "finish" the buttonhole by cutting open and trying for size. I often have to take out the button and adjust the foot by a few clicks down to get the size I like.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How interesting! I've never had that problem personally, but it sounds like you've found a clever way around it!

      Delete
  4. Wow, that is very cool! I don't hate buttonholes most of the time, I just do when there starts to be, like, 12 to do on a garment and the fabric just won't cooperate! My darling ranges dress was a nightmare! Next time I upgrade my sewing machine I'm going to make sure it has this 1-step feature.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My machine has a 4-step buttonhole (SIGH) but at least it has a memory function. I love buttonholes, but I hate to sew them. One of things I'll look for in my next machine will be a 1-step buttonhole function!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That surprises me, but well done for not shying away from buttonholes!

      Delete
  6. Ahh this looks like a dream! I have a 4 step and its so time consuming to make sure they all come out the same, practice makes perfect I suppose (until christms comes again :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, at least you know what to ask for for Xmas ;o)

      Delete
  7. Totes jel! My Janome and I are still learning how the one step function works... I'm used to the old four step function still...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure you'll figure it out and love it soon ;o)

      Delete
  8. I' e also got a 4-step and it really is the only thing I would change about my machine! I dream of automatic buttonholes!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fingers crossed for you one day!

      Delete
  9. I have the exact same machine and it gives me perfect buttonholes pretty much every time. If ever they look a bit dodgy, a quick rethread of the machine sorts it out. I love buttons! But I do like invisible zips too... One thing that confuses me though - I am unclear on which buttonhole option to use when. I've only ever used number 15 (I think). Any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh, we're machine twins!!! The manual suggests that 14 is the one to use for regular fabrics, 15 is good for thicker fabrics and 16 for fabrics with a furry pile. I reckon you can use any of them on regular fabric though, depending on what shape you fancy ;o)

      Delete
  10. i've just got a machine with a 1 step buttonhole and did my first 2 last night. on the first i used the foot pedal and it looked great. on the second i pressed the "go" button and just about fell off my chair at how fast it was. 2 spot on buttonholes in under 5 minutes (probably including the test one and working out how to fit the button in the foot (process looks the same as yours)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Woohoo! Good stuff isn't it?! I'm also blown away by how fast my go button goes...crazy speed!

      Delete
  11. I share your love for buttonholes (and aversion for zipper)! That's also because my sewing machine makes a 1-step buttonhole (even if I only have the normal one, number 14, the others would be sooo great). The only complaint I have so far is that it doesn't like heavy fabric... So anything wooly needs bound buttonholes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm, that's a shame...but bound buttonholes are beautiful I guess!

      Delete
  12. I also have a computerise Brother sewing machine, but my one step button hole function only ever worked once! I have to swap to my machine with a 4 step button hole function when I get to that bit of a make :/ I really have to force myself to do them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no, that's not good! Can you take it to a repair shop or something?!

      Delete
  13. Beautiful! I have a one step, and the buttonholes usually look quite nice when they are stitched, but then I have to cut them open. I haven't found the secret to a clean cut yet, and they end up with threads sticking out, or coming unstitched, or both. Just very rough and ugly. I suppose I should get one of those special chisels - is that what you use?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mine have never come undone (yet), but I know what you mean about the unsightly threads! I've only ever used a seam ripper to open mine up, but I suspect the chisel things are quite good! Must invest in one soon!

      Delete
  14. Very helpful post! I have a brother and a one-step buttonhole maker too. I was always scared of buttonholes because I had the same experience you mentioned--I'd do a test and it would be perfect, then it would all go to hell once I did it on my real garment. finally figured out that I had to raise and then lower my buttonhole guide in between buttons for it to work, just like you suggested.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Such a simple little fix, but it can take an age to figure out these quirks!

      Delete
  15. I've had a bit of an aversion to buttonholes and problems sewing them in the past but I tried a couple recently and they were perfect first time so I might be coming round to your way of thinking!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love the buttonhole setting on my machine (it's just like yours) - makes life so much easier!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Sewing the buttonhole on a test scrap often works out fine for me but the problem is often when sewing it on the garment. The machine often gets stuck sewing near thicker seamed edges. Putting a piece of folded cloth next to the seam helps to keep the foot flat when sewing near this ridge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh gosh, never had this problem myself! Sounds like you've found a good solution though!

      Delete
  18. My 525s touch wood is a good one stepper but I do a couple of tests on fabric always. Nothing more horrifying than coming to the end step and it going whack gah!

    ReplyDelete
  19. This video was so cool to see - thanks for sharing it with us! It's easy to forget how different everyone's machines are when you're only exposed to your own all the time. I don't have a fancy 1-step buttonhole feature like this, but my 4-step buttonhole works just fine. Once I figured out how to mark my fabric and navigate between the 4 steps, it was a piece of cake! I think hand sewing all the buttons on is much more time consuming, haha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So pleased you liked it! Sounds like you've got your 4-step buttonhole functioned nailed!

      Delete
  20. Thank you for this post! My issue comes because when managing thick fabrics or several layers and I think it's due to my machine power. It's a 1-step buttonhole and I guess that when it has problems to move those layers, my buttonholes come smaller or the end doesn't match the start :(

    ReplyDelete