How To Do Buttons By Machine 5

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Sewing Bee Fabrics Tutorial
How To Sew Buttons on By Machine

How to use a button and buttonhole foot

Attaching a functioning button by machine really is simple. It just needs 2 little sewing machine feet, so start off by unclipping your current foot.

How to unclip aa presser foot on your sewing machine

To make the buttonhole, you can use this presser foot with either a 1 step or 4 step buttonhole setting. A 4 step buttonhole setting on a sewing machine should look something like this.

Button tutorial 4 step buttonhole setting sewing machine

First you need to decide how big you need your buttonhole to be for the button to fit through. To do that, place your button in the buttonhole presser foot (or if it is too big, next to the attachment) at the end which is closest to you. Note the markings on the side of the attachment are there to help you remember the size of your button. You don't have to only make buttonholes at a marked level. Don't forget that this is the standard way to measure for a flat button. Raised buttons marry need more room, so it's always best to practice on a scrap of fabric first to make sure the button will go through.

Button tutorial how to measure your buttonhole

A one step buttonhole does the whole buttonhole for you, but the 4 step buttonhole needs you to manually change stitches. So I will show you how to do that.

Set the attachment at the length of your button and select stitch 'a/c'. This will sew a side to side. You need this to be anchored in well or when you open your buttonhole it could break and the material could rip. So I would sew at least 6 times.

Button tutorial how to stitch your buttonhole

Next, select stitch 'd'. This sews a right sided zigzag stitch and brings you to the front of your buttonhole. Note that your stitch length will effect your zigzag. You will rarely find a satin stitch used on a buttonhole, but I would recommend a short stitch length.

Button tutorial 4 step buttonhole machine guide

Step 3 is a repeat of step 1, but this time you are just at the other end of the buttonhole.

Button tutorial sewing a buttonhole by machine

Finally, select stitch 'b'. This is a left sided zigzag that will bring you back to where you started.

Button tutorial zigzag stitch

I prefer to always sew a buttonhole twice over so I know it can withstand heavy usage.

Button tutorial with buttonhole presser foot

The only thing you have left to do is open up your buttonhole. Ideally using a seam ripper (or scissors) slide down the centre of the material being careful not to cut the end stitches.

Button tutorial How to open up a buttonhole

Your buttonhole is now complete, so let's move on to the button itself. To use the button attaching foot you must either lower or cover your feed dogs depending on your machine type. This is because you need to stitch on the spot so you don't want your machine pulling your fabric away from you. If you have covered your feed dogs, don't forget to pull your bobbin thread up through the opening in the cover.

Button tutorial how to cover feed dogs

Select a zigzag stitch then by hand, lower and raise the needle until you have the stitch width needed for the needle to go into each buttonhole. You may need to jiggle the angle of the button under the foot to get it lining up perfectly.

Button tutorial how to line the button up

Then start sewing. The amount of times you go through the button will depend on its use, but I would recommend again, a minimum 6 times into each button hole. If your button has to go through a thick fabric or lots of layers you may wish for your button to be freer from the fabric so that once it is pulled through, it sits comfortably on top. You are more likely to be able to do this by machine if you can lower your feed dogs as often the cover for feed dogs takes up too much space, so a spacing item wont fit. If you do have plenty of space under the button and presser foot, simply place something narrower than the width of the holes under the button between the holes (eg. A chopstick), to raise the button away from the fabric as you stitch. To reduce the chance of it slipping, lower the needle by hand for the first couple of stitches. I prefer to reinforce this by looping thread around the thread under the button a few times and tying a knot by hand immediately after removing the item, before it has time to slacken.

Your button is now ready for use!

Button tutorial finished button

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5 thoughts on “How To Do Buttons By Machine

  • Kathy

    Hi, when cutting through the buttonhole stitches you can put a pin across the end to prevent cutting through to the fabric.

  • Janet

    Hi Linda could you please help me out with Buttonholes when ever I try too make a item such as a jacket or blouse I can never get them to match up I do every thing to try and make them match up but they don’t.
    I have heard that there is a temporary adhesive too help with this problem.
    Or have you got any other easy ideas that might help me or any other sewer’s on Sewing Bee’s

    Many thanks Linda in-advance

    • Sewing Bee Fabrics Post author

      Hi Janet. The way I do them is to measure out where I want the buttonholes to go first and sew all of them. I then pin the 2 layers together the way I’d want it to sit buttoned up and stick a pin directly through the centre of the buttonhole. When I take the 2 layers apart, I put a little mark where the pin went through the bottom layer and line the button up on the centre of the mark. If I’m feeling confident, I mark all the buttons in one go, but if it’s something really important then I mark them one at a time and button up the completed ones instead of pinning the layers when I’m marking my centre point. Hope that helps!

  • Rachelle

    Thank you SO MUCH!! I have an older machine, Husky by Viking, and I could not figure out how to do this, even with the old manual! 🙂 Works great, even though my machine uses different letters for the stitches.

    • Sewing Bee Fabrics Post author

      That’s brilliant! I’m so glad it’s helped. You’ll have to have a play with other feet next. They are great fun once you learn how to use them 😀