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How to Sew a Machine Buttonhole

Learn how to sew machine buttonholes from founder Cynthia Mann in this Howcast video.


Hi, I'm Cynthia Mann and we're here today at Birch Fabrics in Paso Robles, California. This is also the home of Hi, I'm Melissa Lunden; I'm the resident seamstress here at Birch Fabrics. I teach sewing lessons here, prepare blog tutorials and sew samples of Birch's line of organic cotton. And I am here today to talk to you about sewing. Hi, we're going to talk about how to sew a machine buttonhole. And if you have a newer machine that comes with programmed settings like mine, it's so easy. And what you're going to do is check your manual and it's going to show you how to do it. The quick and dirty way is you're going to take your machine buttonhole foot, you're going to swap that out for the regular one that you have, then you are going to take your button that you have, and you're going to place it in the back piece that slides, and when you put your button in there, nice and firmly so it doesn't fall out, this tells the machine how wide your buttonhole needs to be. So then you put your presser foot in, lock it in, and drop this little lever down. This has a little symbol for a buttonhole and it needs to be positioned behind this little white tab. We're going to take this scrap piece of fabric, and you always want to do a test buttonhole before you do anything on your finished garment because it's a lot of stitching and taking it out is going to make a big mess. So what your machine is doing is creating two very narrow, very tight zigzag stitches. And then it's also sewing stitches across the top and bottom and that's how it creates the buttonhole. So what you're going to do once you're in the right position, press your foot and it's going to start going. So it's all finished. I'm going to lift up my needle. And then you can see my button hole. But you're not quite finished. What you are going to do is trim the extra threads, and then with a pair of scissors or an X-Acto knife, which is my preference, you're going to very slowly cut open the buttonhole between the 2 rows of stitches, being careful not to cut through the ends and then there's your buttonhole. And then the last step is to use a little Fray Check. It's a little chemical solution that helps keep your fabric from fraying and it will keep those little threads from fraying as you use your buttonhole. And you're all done.

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