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Jun 15, 2013

Peter Speaks Again -- a Vintage Singer Buttonholer Video!



Readers, today I put the finishing touches on my pale pink linen shirt, which included adding buttonholes to both front placket and collar.







While my Bernina 930 has a buttonhole function, it offers nowhere near the versatility of my vintage (1930's) Singer buttonholer which allows me to adjust the length of my buttonhole, the width of the stitch, the density of the stitch (denser stitches mean you don't see individual zigzags), and even the size of the hole itself.  My Singer buttonholer is roughly seventy-five years old and still works brilliantly.  I prefer it to the later version that came with metal templates.



I made a short video of me making buttonholes for my shirt and I hope you enjoy it.  If nothing else, you'll get to see me wearing my "reader" glasses for the very first time on video!   (You can also play this at YouTube by clicking here.)



(If you'd like to know more about how this template-free buttonholer works, you can also watch this video, which I made last year.)

I hope to make more shirts with this type of linen -- it's crisp, has an almost waxy finish, but is still slightly crumpled-looking.  Love it!





Happy Saturday, everybody, and don't forget to play the latest edition of NAME THAT PATTERN!

30 comments:

  1. I have that same button hole attachment for my vintage Singers (a 1905 model 66 and a 1956 model 99-K). Works like a charm! Bummed that it says your video is unavailable.

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    1. That's strange -- it's marked public! Maybe try a different browser.

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  2. The video shows as "Private" and unavailable.

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  3. Hi Peter. Can you tell me the name and model number of the buttonholer? I am very interested !!

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    1. Thank you! Will go check my attachment stash now :-) I absolutely adore your blog!

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  4. I have one of those but the instructions say you need a feeddog cover and the one it had is missing. Does it really or can you use it on a machine where the feeddogs lower?

    You ARE the expert you know!

    Bummer about the video being unavailable.

    Susan

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  5. I just watched the video on YouTube.Thanks Peter for showing us how the buttonholer works.

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  6. Mesmerising video, I'm hypnotised. I'd make buttonholes all day long with that feat of engineering (not so interested in sewing on all the buttons, though... I use the sticky tape trick too, which makes a big difference!).
    Petra

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  7. Peter, Thanks for the video...great to see how that attachment works.

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  8. Gorgeous fabric. Loved the buttonhole adventure video. Oh and btw, I received my madras from Mood. You are such an enabler.

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  9. Better buttonholes than a Bernina? Blasphemy! Of course if you had the automated repeatable buttonholes like the new 'ninas (2000 onwards) have you wouldn't say that ;)

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  10. I have the newer one with the metal templates for my 401a, which I like MUCH better than how I originally learned to do them--double wide zigzag at the top and bottom of two narrow zigzag strips. It take a couple of post-it notes, though, to remind me that I need to drop the feed dogs when I use it!

    As I typed that, I realized I might be sewing in the dark ages.

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  11. I just got my Singer Buttonholer from eBay, anxious to use it with my 15-91 Singer. You have such a kind voice, Peter.

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  12. Nice video Peter!
    I never hit those kind of speeds with my buttonholer - My 15K80 is hand cranked so we take it S L O W. I think the fully adjustable buttonholer persisted for longer here in the UK. It's certainly more commonly seen on Ebay than the template model.

    Hugs
    G

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  13. Just got an old Singer buttonholed this week. I ended up buying the same one I had years ago,which I didn't think would work on my Elna. Turns out to be fine. It's a template model. But now, Peter, you have really gotten to me. Yesterday my neighbor was having a moving sale and I bought Singer 15-91 in the table for $50. I think it is almost exactly like the one my mother had. I have no idea what her model was but this is sure close. I am going to spend some time cleaning and oiling it. I guess I've "joined the club".

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  14. Ok, so I spent my Saturday night making buttonholes! I had forgotten how nicely my Singer 503A makes them with the attachment. Did keyholes, eyelets and straight ones. Thanks Peter for inspiring me :=)

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  15. Hi Peter I have my Mom's old 1947 Singer (I'm older than this machine) and also a modern machine I mainly sew with. However button holes on the old Singer are the best and I use one similar to what you have. Mine has small button hole templates you insert in the button maker of various sizes. You can never go wrong with making the button holes this way. I tie off the threads and then clip them.

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  16. I second the enabler comment. I saw your buttonholes and immediately bought one on eBay. I love that you can adjust the spacing between the stitching.

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  17. does anyone know if these attachments can be used on other low shank machines? i have a viking 5610 and was considering purchasing one of these attachments.

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  18. Egads, luckily I already have a similar, slightly later attachment. I'm sure the prices just went up on Ebay.

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    1. I doubt it -- this is not a rare attachment by any means.

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  19. The buttonholes are perfection. You mentioned using thinner thread for the buttonholes than you used for the shirt itself. Was this for aesthetic reasons or it is because you think thinner thread makes better buttonholes? Did you say you used silk thread (I couldn't quite hear). Anyway, great job! The linen is just gorgeous.

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    1. The regular Coats & Clarks thread looked too coarse when I tested it for buttonholes; the thread I used is serger thread. Since it's thinner it makes a finer looking buttonhole (I'm using the densest setting so the stitches themselves are similar to satin stitches) but still strong.

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  20. Peter - have you tried the button hole attachment on your old Kenmore? I've heard those make a lovely button hole and was wondering how it compares to the Singer. I have not used the Singer button hole attachment, but I have used the zig-zagger and was not impressed.

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    1. I don't think I have. The attachment does all the work, though -- it creates the zigzag motion.

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  21. You inspired me to buy one of that style since I'm not thrilled with the others I have. It arrived today and I look forward to breaking it in. If you like it, I'm sure it's gonna be my favorite! Thanks in advance.

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    1. I used it today, and I LOVE it! Thanks for the video...it inspired me to get this model.

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  22. Over the years I've sewn with a Kenmore, Singer Featherweight, older Bernina and my new Bernina. The only way I make buttonholes to this day is with the Singer buttonhole attachment - it's the best. I don't have to do anything but watch. Must say that I do use regular thread and go around at least twice. Fray Check used too.
    What's the trick with the tape on the button?

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