When I got my new sewing machine, I was pretty excited because it claimed it could make buttonholes with one push of a button. On my old machine, I had to follow several steps in my manual, and they were difficult to follow. So, I used to avoid making buttonholes because they scared me.
I had experimented with buttonholes before and the fabric always seemed to stretch or bunch up — I swear they never turned out right. I was also worried that if I made a mistake and had to unpick a buttonhole, I might accidentally snag the fabric and ruin my entire sewing project. I got to the point where if there was no way around the buttonholes, I’d have my mom make them for me. That’s why I’m writing this article — I want to show you there is no reason to be afraid of making buttonholes. You just need practice and to learn a few helpful hints.
Steps for Making Beautiful Buttonholes
- Check to make sure there is enough thread in the bobbin and on the spool before starting because you don’t want to run out in the middle of a buttonhole.
- Put in a new needle so it is sharp and won’t snag the fabric.
- Attach your button hole foot and insert a button in the back to set the size.
- Make a sample buttonhole on a scrap of fabric, following the instructions in your manual, so you can adjust the stitch length and tension appropriately.
- Mark the position of all your buttonholes with a fabric marker so you can make all the buttonholes at once.
- Position your fabric on your sewing machine where you want to make a buttonhole. Remember, your sewing machine starts sewing backwards first.
- Follow the instructions in your manual to sew a buttonhole. All sewing machines are different. I have a basic Singer sewing machine and all I have to do is pull down a lever near the presser foot to engage the automatic buttonhole maker.
- Cut the buttonhole open with a seam ripper, starting at the edges and cutting towards the middle.
- Repeat these steps for all of the buttonholes you need to make.
Helpful Hints for Making Buttonholes
- Put interfacing behind each buttonhole to prevent stretching when making buttonholes on lightweight material.
- Use polyester thread or machine embroidery thread on lightweight fabrics instead of all-purpose thread.
- Loosen the upper tension to avoid bunching.
- Prevent tunneling and stitches sinking into the fabric with water soluble stabilizer
- Use a longer stitch length on heavy and bulky fabrics.
- Sew slowly to catch any problems early because it takes a long time to unpick a buttonhole.
Image credit kellyhogaboom via Flickr