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JLeslie's avatar

Can a sewing machine be used to make a buttonhole even if it does not have a buttonhole setting?

Asked by JLeslie (54494points) November 24th, 2012

What do I look for and how is it done?

I ask because I am thinking of buying a very inexpensive machine, but it does not have a buttonhole setting. On the off chance in the future I need to make a buttonhole will I be able to do it?

When I used to sew back 30 years ago my machine had cams to create buttonholes.

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7 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Remind yourself how easy it is to make buttonholes by hand, if the fabric isn’t too thick.That’s how I learned in Jr. High Home Ec,.

I used a little Singer for years; it went forward and backwards so I did the buttonholes by hand. I make clothes for my daughter and me, but did use only cotton fabric.

Unlikely that you can do it without the buttonhole foot, but I am just guessing.

Earthgirl's avatar

You can use the zigzag stitch to make a buttonhole. I tried to find a video and there was a horrible one where the girl did it all wrong and the buttonhole was all screwed up! This link explains how to do it correctly.
@gailcalled Doing it by had will make a much nicer buttonhole and it’s worth the time it takes if it’s a quality garment. I admire your patience!
If you take the trouble to do it by hand I advise using rayon thread. It looks so much nicer.

The usual rule about buttonhole size is 1/8 inch larger than the diameter of the button.The only time it would need to be longer is if you have a really thick button. Mark accurately!
It takes a little practice to do this well. You can always do a practice buttonhole to make sure you have your machine settings right before you start. Ripping a buttonhole is well nigh impossible!!
If you don’t think you’ll use it that often, go ahead and buy the inexpensive machine without the buttonhole setting, otherwise, I think it’s well worth having. The kind of buttonhole you get by using a zigzag stitch is not usually as good as a programmed buttonhole.

YARNLADY's avatar

You might be able to buy a buttonhole attachment to go on the machine that will do it automatically. Check with the seller.

linguaphile's avatar

I marked how long I needed the hole to be then used a zigzag stitch set at 1 (distance between stitches) and went back and forth a few times to create one line. Then below that, made another zigzagged line parallel to the first line.

Then went over that by hand to make it look nice and neat. If you don’t have a zigzag stitch, then yeah, I’d just do it by hand also.

rooeytoo's avatar

Sure you can do it, you just have to guide it manually instead of just sitting there watching it happen! As @YARNLADY said, often there is an attachment that actually does the job. I never had a machine that had a setting that made one without a specific foot. Sewing machines are outrageously expensive these days, of course, they seem to do everything except cut out the pattern for you, so I guess you are paying for the advanced technology!

Earthgirl's avatar

@JLeslie A good machine doesn’t have to be really expensive. I looked briefly and this one looks like a good deal to me! Automatic buttonhole and so much more!

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Yes, if it has a zigzag stitch you can sew a button hole. Without the setting or an attachment you’ll have to do it freehand, which I have done myself, so I know it’s possible.

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