We are going to cover two different things in this article, so let’s simply cut to the chase as there’s no need of an introduction anyway. You can’t not know what buttonholes are, and we will be explaining what appliques are later in this article, so let’s jump right to making buttonholes.
How to Sew a Buttonhole?
Sewing a buttonhole can get intimidating, as although it’s usually the last step of sewing anything, it can make all that hard work go out the window if you mess it up. And honestly, getting the length right can get a little tricky at times, especially if your sewing machine doesn’t have the magic feature that we will be getting to in a bit.
However, don’t let that intimidate you, as sewing a buttonhole is really not difficult. In fact, most times the machine does a lot of stuff and you’re left with very little to take care of.
So with that said I’ll tell you about two different ways that you can use to make your machine do most of the work for you.
First things first, the steps may vary a bit depending on your machine, but they should be similar enough to not lead to any confusion. Now, the first step is going to be to locate the top line of options, which are basically nothing but different buttonholes.
Once you’re aware of where to find these options, you would want to quickly move on to finding the Sensor option. It’s really an amazing feature, and if your machine is generous enough to offer you such a luxury, you should totally use it.
And why does it get so much love from me? Well, simple, what it does is just ask you for the button, and then goes on to sew a perfectly-sized buttonhole, all on its own. What else could you ask for?
To use this super cool function, you need to put the button that’s to be sewn into the back part of your machine’s buttonhole foot. Then put the buttonhole foot back into the machine, and lower the buttonhole lever.
Finally, switch the machine on and watch the magic! A buttonhole of just the right size being sewn right in front of you, but without you having to do anything!
However, if you’re not fortunate enough to have such a feature in your machine, don’t go on a rant against your machine or its brand, or blame the people who recommended it to you.
This is because the other option I’ll show you is fairly good as well, and it’s usually termed as “Auto setting.”
Now, what you do when going for this option is pull out the back of your machine’s buttonhole as much as it allows, but not touch the buttonhole lever. Instead, you carefully measure the size of your button, as you will want to sew a buttonhole that’s of exactly the same size as the button for this method to work.
Yes, I know you’re now missing the first option but believe me, once you get the hang of it you wouldn’t want to care about the Sensor feature that your machine doesn’t have. With that said use pins or a chalk to mark the measurement, so that you can sew a perfect buttonhole.
At this point you would also have the option of making some adjustments, like changing the width or tightening the stitches. Once you’re done with that you need to put the buttonhole foot back in place and keep lowering it till it’s resting on your fabric. Then go about sewing normally but at the same time make sure that you’re sewing the length that you want the buttonhole to be of.
After sewing to that length, sew in the reverse mode and you will find that the sewing automatically goes back to the point it started from, creating a buttonhole of the size that you wanted in the process. If you take care of the sewing part the rest will be taken care of by this Auto setting method.
Now without wasting anymore time let’s get to the appliques.
How to Make Appliques?
If you’re wondering why I decided to have buttonholes and appliques in the same lesson, it’s because they use the same stitch. If you don’t already know, the stitch used while making a buttonhole is usually an applique or a Satin stitch, which is basically a zigzag stitch that’s sewn very closely with a sewing machine for zig zag stitching.
Before we proceed, though, here’s a piece of warning for you: appliques are significantly more challenging than your usual sewing tasks. If you’re a beginner, you will find your patience turning out to be your biggest strength here.
Now that you know what you’re up against, let’s describe an applique. An applique is basically putting a piece of fabric on another, larger fabric (and sewing it on, of course). It’s usually attached to the other fabric using a tight zigzag stitch.
If you want to make your life easier while learning and doing appliqueing, get yourself some sort of fusing stuff that will help you stick the thing to the fabric first. It’s not only going to make it easier, but also make the end result smoother and more attractive.
After fusing the pieces well, you need to set your machine to sewing very tight zigzag stitches. Then place the fabric under the pressure foot in a way that the edge of the fabric to be appliqued is almost right under the pressure foot.
Then begin sewing, and sew all the way through the edge of the fabric being appliqued. When the fabric that’s going to be used for appliqueing is on the thicker side, you will also need something to guide you as well as to pull the fabric along.
You can do this using your left hand, too, while using your right hand to pull it through.
And boom – you’re done! Of course the first few times you try this you will end up with something far from perfect, but it all counts!
You will soon be able to make perfect appliqued things before you know it, and that would be the day when you would feel that all that hard work really did pay off.
Head back to CHAPTER 4: Sewing 101 for Aspiring Home Sewists!