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How to Use a Buttonholer Attachment on a Sewing Machine

Learn how to use a buttonholer attachment on a sewing machine from designer Jennifer Wiese in this Howcast tutorial.


Hi, I'm Jennifer from Workroom Social and I'm going to show you how to use a buttonhole foot. This is a buttonhole attachment and it's used to make buttonholes in fabric. My buttonhole attachment is an automatic one-step process, and what I'm going to do is the first thing I'm going to do is push this lever back. This attachment makes the buttonhole to the size of your button. You'll need a button to use this foot, and you'll just take your button and place it in this area and then you'll slide the foot back so that your button is firmly in place.

Once you have your button in place, it's time to attach your foot. You'll just slide the presser foot underneath and lower the shank so it snaps into place. Now, since we've attached the foot to the machine, but we have our thread here on top going through the needle, we need to pull this thread down underneath the foot, which is a little bit challenging with this big, clunky attachment. So I like to just get something a little pointy and you can just push the thread down and lift your presser foot up a little and catch the thread from the bottom. Now I have my thread here. So we have our top thread and our bobbin thread both going towards the back of the machine.

Now, when we're making the buttonhole, the buttonhole is going to go from front to back with your machine, so not side to side. You have to think about that as you're making your buttonholes. How do you want them aligned on your garment? I'm going to slide my fabric under here and I'm going to make a vertical buttonhole and I'm just going to put my presser foot down. Now if you are doing this on a garment, you want to make sure that you mark your buttonhole placement on your project before you get to this stage.

Before I start, I'm going to pull my buttonhole lever down, and it's going to come and hit the attachment right here at the back. Now it's time to select your stitch type and stitch length. On your sewing machine, you're going to just go to your buttonhole type, and it's usually indicated by a rectangle. Then you're going to go to your length and you're going to select the buttonhole length. Then you're just going to sew. So the buttonhole will adjust automatically to the size of the button that we put in here, so there's really nothing to worry about.

You can see what's happened here. First, the buttonholer starts with the bar tack end on one side, goes up one side of the buttonhole, it'll do the bar tack on the other side, and then down the other way.

Okay, so we are back to where we started. You can go ahead and pull your fabric out, clip all of your threads, and now you can see our buttonhole. Now before we can insert a button into the buttonhole, we have to cut the buttonhole open. You can use a seam ripper to get the buttonhole started. You can use it to open the whole thing. I really like these little thread snippers. So you can use that to just clip through the opening, or you can get a buttonhole chisel that you can use to stamp out the middle of the buttonhole. So there's our buttonhole.

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