Buttonholes are usually the last step in finishing a garment. You want them to be perfect, and with BERNINA buttonhole feet, it’s easy to make a single buttonhole and even easier to make duplicates, all exactly alike. But when you have special situations that make creating buttonholes challenging, BERNINA has a few accessories to help. Before we get to those, let’s take a look at the four BERNINA buttonhole Feet. Click here for a video about using each of these presser feet.
Standard Buttonhole Foot #3/3C
This foot is available in two versions, Buttonhole foot #3 for models with a maximum 5.5 mm stitch width and #3C for models with a maximum stitch width of 9 mm. Use these feet for making manual buttonholes. You’ll find them useful when you need a single buttonhole, or when you need to make one in a tight space such as a collar stand.
Automatic Buttonhole Foot #3A
Used for programmed buttonholes, Foot #3A makes it easy to accurately duplicate a buttonhole, which is great for blouses, jackets, or anywhere you need multiple buttonholes of the same size. Make the first (or test) buttonhole as desired. The machine will memorize it and when you move to another position and sew, the buttonhole will be duplicated. The setting will stay until you program a different size or turn the machine off.
Buttonhole Foot with Slide #3B
Foot #3B also makes duplicate buttonholes, but you must manually create them. Move the red slide on the side of the foot to the desired length of the buttonhole. Start the buttonhole and stitch until the red mark at the beginning reaches the position of the slide. Complete the buttonhole. To make duplicates, simply stitch more buttonholes using the same setting for the red slide.
BERNINA has three accessories to help make beautiful buttonholes. The first two buttonhole accessories, the Leveler and the Compensation Plate are made to help feed the fabric under the Automatic Buttonhole Foot #3A and Buttonhole Foot with Slide #3B. The third accessory, the Buttonhole Cutter is for precisely cutting the buttonhole open when the stitching is complete.
When making buttonholes where the fabric has varying thicknesses, such as over seam allowances along the front of a jacket, the Buttonhole Leveler helps with the feeding of the foot. This tool is available in two sizes–one for machines with 5.5 mm stitch width, the other for models with 9 mm stitch width. Perfect for making buttonholes on uneven surfaces, the Buttonhole Leveler forms a “bridge” over the fabric, evening out the surface and allowing smooth movement of the sole over the fabric, resulting in perfectly stitched buttonholes. Place the leveler under Foot #3A and stitch as usual to make the buttonhole.
Buttonhole Compensation Plate
Also available in two sizes, the Buttonhole Compensation Plate is recommended when sewing buttonholes in bulky fabrics, such as fleece and coating. This accessory is also good for making buttonholes in uneven layers, such as along the front openings of winter coats. It can only be used with Automatic Buttonhole Foot #3A.
Mark buttonhole positions on the fabric. Slide the fabric between the plates, aligning the starting end of the buttonhole with the three notches in the upper plate. Insert Automatic Buttonhole Foot #3A into the accessory, hooking the back of the foot into the notches at the back of the attachment, and then rotating the front end of the foot into place.
Attach the foot – with the attached plates – to the machine. Note: If the fabric isn’t thick enough for you to place the fabric firmly between the plates, the Buttonhole Leveler is a better choice for the application.
For additional information on the BERNINA Buttonhole Compensation Plate, click here.
The third accessory for making buttonholes is a Buttonhole Cutter. This useful tool helps ensure that the buttonholes are cleanly cut without accidentally cutting into your project. The blade of the cutter is beveled so that it fits into the opening without resting on the buttonhole itself. Place the buttonhole over the wooden block and align the blade of the Buttonhole Cutter with the buttonhole opening. Press down firmly on the cutter until the blade cuts through the fabric and into the block. Repeat, if necessary, for large buttonholes.
More Buttonhole Info
For more information on buttonholes and how to make them, see these previous WeAllSew posts.
Read more about making buttonholes and using the BERNINA buttonhole accessories in the Big Book of Feet. You’ll find it at your local BERNINA store.