Sewing Basics # 11 – Machine Buttonhole

I spent a long time avoiding sewing button holes. For some reason I’d built them up in my head to be really scary. I have since discovered they are easy as pie. I was required to sample some of the buttonhole stitches from my sewing machine for my college portfolio. So thought I’d share some photos for anyone else who may be a bit of a scaredy cat like I was….

Here’s my buttonhole machine foot….probably much like yours..

Slide open the bit on the left….

Pop the button in…

Slide it closed again…

Remove usual presser foot….(no time to paint my nails, sorry!)

Attach buttonhole foot like so….

Pull down buttonhole guide so it sits behind the first buttonhole spacer on the foot…

Hold top thread tail out to side, and sew…just hold the foot pedal down and the machine will do the rest and will stop automatically when the buttonhole is complete….

These are samples of the buttonholes on my machine. Using the one on the right as the example,stick a pin through JUST below the group of stitches at the top of the buttonhole. This is to protect these stitches from being cut when you cut the buttonhole open in the next step…(just ignore the bottom pin in the picture)

Inserting a seam ripper in the base of the button hole, gently and carefully cut the button hole open up to the pin you inserted in the top…

And there you have it. Snip the scruffy bits and finish the thread ends, and you have a functional basic buttonhole…

I hope to try my hand at some variations and hand sewn styles too at some point soon, so I’ll be sure to record my efforts stage by stage on here….

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  1. The Creative Miss W June 6, 2011

    Thank you for this super clear tutorial.My machine doesn’t seem to do this well despite me following the instructions (following instructions is rare for me) I’m going to go off and see if my button hole foot is similar to yours and have another go at it. hopefully it is. what you’re doing seems pretty simple.

  2. K.Line June 6, 2011

    It looks like you’ve got the exact same Brother machine that I do (unless they really do all look the same…) I’ve had a terrible time with button holes on that machine. So bad, I’m practically ready to bin it.

  3. Jane June 6, 2011

    Oh, what a really useful post. I wish I’d found something like this when I was having sleepless nights about buttonholes a year ago! x

  4. Sheri June 6, 2011

    Thanks, Portia! This is a big help! I have been afraid of doing buttonholes, though I’m actually a little afraid of trying to use a sewing machine. I have visions of the thing running off on me or sewing my finger. :-S

  5. Roobeedoo June 8, 2011

    Eh? There’s a special foot?! How could I not know this! I am always fiddling about trying to make holes that fit my buttons! Off to google “bernina buttonhole foot”! THANK YOU!

  6. Van June 8, 2011

    EEK, it’s all still crazy hard for me. I need super beginner sewing classes, but I still love seeing what you create 🙂 Inspires me to get back on it and learning how to sew a straight line!

  7. Elisalex June 20, 2011

    I have always avoided buttonholes like the plague… and never even knew buttonhole feet existed!! Genius! Thank you x


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