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How to Use the Singer Buttonholer Attachment




Beautiful, perfect and easy! ‘Sew’ easy in fact, it’s practically hands-free! Believe me, this buttonholer is still preferred by long-time sewists, even over the fancy, expensive machines with built-in buttonhole features. It’s amazing how the technology of yesterday still holds true all these decades later.

Part 2 of the video shows you how to make an eyelet hole - perfect for when you want to add a little hole to the Dresden Spool Pin Plate (free pattern).



Designed fit for the low, vertical shank Singer Sewing Machine (i.e. 15, 66, 99, 127, 128, 185, 192, 201, 221 & 222 Featherweight, 306, 319, 328, etc…).  As long as your machine is a low shank sewing machine (Singer, Elna, Pfaff, etc.), this attachment will work properly.






Old Singer Trivia ~ Did you know that in 1938 the original Singer Buttonholer Attachment was the most expensive Attachment Fashion Aid? Yes, it was! I’m sure you can imagine the delight amongst seamstresses to have the mechanics of making a buttonhole with their sewing machine versus the painstaking challenge of sewing one secure enough by hand. Priced at $8.70 in 1938 with the next most expensive Fashion Aid being the Singer Electric Scissors at $5.75 followed by the Hand Crank Pinker at $5.00 and the Pinking Attachment and Hemstitcher Picot Edger at $4.75 each. Believe it or not, the scarce attachments today were even less in price back then. That just goes to show how advanced the Buttonholer Attachment was to Singer ingenuity.

Prices changed considerably by 1954 when the old style Buttonholer fell to $4.75, but the ‘new’ style (the kind shown here with the cams) was priced at $9.75 – second to the Automatic ZigZagger which was priced at $14.95. Fascinating, isn’t it!?  The equivalency of $9.75 in 1954 is like $75.00 today!




Did you realize that not all Singer Buttonholer manuals are the same?  The earlier manuals for this style Buttonholer did not include the additional instructions for how to monogram or make an embroidered edge.  So, if for some reason you happen to have one of the original style manuals included with your Buttonholer, then you may download the updated version for free here:  Singer Buttonholer Attachment 160506 Instruction Manual.



When searching for the Singer Buttonholer to suit your Featherweight you want one that reads “Straight Needle” on the fork arm.  If you have a Singer 301, 401, 403, 500, 503, etc. then you need one that says “Slant Needle” on the fork arm.  Your Buttonholer should be complete with all 9 original cams (one is sometimes found in the mechanism), feed-dog cover plate, thumb screw, original case and instruction manual. Cams often got mixed up or lost, but the original sizes were as follows: 5/16″ straight, 3/8” straight, 1/2” straight, 5/8″ straight, 5/8” keyhole, 13/16″ straight, 15/16” straight, 1 1/16″ straight and 1 1/16″ keyhole.  We do carry complete Buttonholer Attachment Sets in our Featherweight Shop where we test, sample and guarantee each one for proper function.



BUTTONHOLES

Beautiful, perfect and easy! ‘Sew’ easy in fact, it’s practically hands-free! Believe me, this buttonholer is still preferred by long-time sewists, even over the fancy, expensive machines with built-in buttonhole features. It’s amazing how the technology of yesterday still holds true all these decades later.





MONOGRAMMING and EMBROIDERY

Now pay attention… you keep the buttonholer cloth clamp working on the right (always).  This can be a bit tricky to remember when you have been accustomed to making buttonholes that work on the right then loop around and go down the left. However, when the cloth clamp has reached the second line closest to you, STOP (making sure the needle is down in the cloth).  Now lift the presser bar while holding your work in place with one hand and withe the other hand turn the adjusting knob so that the Buttonholer starts back at the beginning of the right side again… continue and repeat as necessary.








You will also need to lift the presser bar (with the needle down, of course) every few stitches around a curve. I know, it sounds like a lot to learn: the curves, the right side of the cloth clamp, the needle down, your work in place… it’s like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time. But, do not worry… it’s worth the fun challenge! There certainly can be a sense of satisfaction when making something the ‘old-fashioned’ way. You can do monograms on a fancy embroidery machine, but to be able to do it with the engineering and design of yesterday… definitely satisfying.

You can see how I lifted the presser bar in the photo above, which raises the buttonholer from the cloth, then I turned my work just a bit so I could go around the curve of the ‘S’.




If you use heavier cording it adds dimension to monogramming.  You could make a monogrammed handkerchief or monogram a special quilt block.  Just be sure that with whatever you try using the embroidery technique that you secure the back of your fabric with stabilizer.











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