Friday, May 23, 2014

Presser Foot Series: Automatic Buttonhole Foot

Today we're going to put the buttonhole on our diaper clutch using an automatic buttonhole foot. This process may be different if you do not have a Brother machine. Refer to your manual if you have a different brand.

This sewing foot looks nothing like most sewing feet. In fact, I was super intimidated by mine, and I never even tried it until I found a great video showing how to use it over at Simple Simon and Co. If you're more of a video person, check it out here (by the way, they're totally my sewing heroes!). They also have a video showing how to use a Bernina buttonhole foot. But if you're more of a written tutorial type of person, keep reading!

This little foot really does take all the work out of buttonholes for you. Whether you use a foot pedal or have a push button start/stop, the machine will sew the buttonhole and stop automatically when it's done.

First you want to choose your button. I decided to go with this vintage white rectangle one. Place it on your project where you want it to lie when it's inserted into the buttonhole. Use a disappearing fabric marker to mark the top and bottom of the button. If you're using a button with different sized sides like mine, make sure you're marking the buttonhole just a little taller than the short sides. Marking this is optional, but I find that it helps me in lining the fabric up with my buttonhole foot, especially since this buttonhole will lie perpendicular to the edge of my fabric.

Connect your dots, hopefully more neatly than me!

Now to set your size on the buttonhole foot. Pull the sliding section of your buttonhole foot all the way open.

Insert your button and push the sliding sides together around it. This determines the length of your buttonhole, so make sure to insert your button as it will be inserted into the buttonhole.

Now snap your foot onto your machine.

Choose your stitch. My machine has several buttonhole options, but I went with the standard square one here.

Now on a Brother you will need to pull down the buttonhole lever, located at the left rear of the machine.

Now line your fabric up. The machine will sew the buttonhole from front to back, so the very end of the mark you made needs to be centered in the middle of the three red marks on your foot. Here I was making a practice buttonhole on a piece of scrap fabric, always a good idea!

Here's our finished (practice) buttonhole. Now to open it up, you will rip right up the center, between the stitches, with your seam ripper.

One excellent trick I learned from Simple Simon and Co. is to place a pin right at the top of your buttonhole so that you don't accidentally cut too far with your seam ripper.

Test to make sure your button fits.

When you've had enough practice, go ahead and sew the buttonhole on your project.

Looks great! Tomorrow we'll learn how to use your machine to sew on the button.


  1. I need all of these, lol. I'm a wanna-be-seamstress and I know life would be easier if I had all these presser feet. Great tutorial! Thanks for linking up at Thursday STYLE!

  2. I have thi option on my machine, but I just forgot about it. I think I will give it a go and try it out on my newest sewing project. Thank for the post.
    Deborah @sew much to give