Mar 17, 2012
Readers, do you like vintage buttonholers? I do!
I received my latest just this week -- only $11 (with shipping) on eBay, which is SO much cheaper than a sewing machine, friends.
This buttonholer predates the kind with the templates, and you can do a few things with it you can't do with the later kind (more about that below). It came complete with instructions as well as a plate to cover the feed dogs (if your feed dogs don't drop).
The buttonhole attachment I use most frequently is this one, probably Singer's most popular, and very easy to find on sites like eBay and Etsy.
This buttonholer was originally sold with four templates and many people purchased an additional set of four separately, so if you're in the market for one of these, try to find one with as many templates as possible. The rare eyelet template, a perfect circle, is hard to find and goes for quite a chunk of change.
The attachment makes very nice buttonholes and you gotta love that space-age plastic box.
One of my Singer Featherweights came with this earlier all-metal buttonholer, which I've yet to use but I think is mechanically pretty much identical to my plastic one, just heavier. You can use either version on a Featherweight. You'll want to use the feed dog cover plate since Featherweight feed dogs don't drop (I don't think).
I wanted to try an even older buttonholer that predated the template kind. A long time ago I bought this "Famous" buttonholer, but it needed a lot of oiling, so I never used it. I love the look and feel of it; they built these things to last forever. I actually think this was built for an industrial machine since it doesn't fit the shank of my black Singers, though I could have sworn it fit some machine I owned once...maybe not.
I also own a Kenmore buttonholer that's only for zigzag machines. You control the stitch width or "bight" of the buttonhole by adjusting the zigzag function on the sewing machine itself. These are also easy to find; don't pay a lot for one.
The Singer I just bought is similar to the "Famous" kind. There are no templates, and with various screws you can adjust not only the length of the hole and width of the stitching (bight), but also the width of the hole itself. Isn't that fantastic?
I love this buttonhole attachment but have only just begun to experiment with it. I'll report back when I've have more to tell.
You can read more about the "Famous" Buttonholer at Yarndiva's excellent Sew Old-Sew New blog.
Brian at BrianSews made a very informative YouTube video demonstrating the use of a few different template buttonhole attachments. Take a look.
I know that many home sewers, even those who own modern machines with built-in buttonhole features, still love the old attachments and the quality of the buttonholes they make. Some keep an old straight stitch Singer on hand solely for the purpose of making buttonholes! These old attachments are super-dependable, can handle many different kinds of fabric with ease (more fragile fabrics may benefit from stabilizer, of course), and last forever.
How do you like to make your buttonholes?
(If you have more buttonhole attachment lore to share, please do.)
Happy Saturday, everybody!