Buttonhole Foot #3/3C: For More Than Buttonholes

The BERNINA Buttonhole Foot #3/3C is a perfect choice if you need to make a single buttonhole. It’s also great if your buttonholes need to be longer than Buttonhole Foot with Slide #3A will sew.  This foot has two variations: #3 for models with a 5.5 mm width and #3C for models with a 9 mm width.Buttonhole Feet 3-3C


Even though it is called a buttonhole foot, Foot #3/3C is also great for a few non-buttonhole techniques. Click here to see a step-by-step video on making buttonholes with this foot, and then keep reading to see what else you can do with it!

single buttonhole

Fine Edge Finish

This edge finish technique was developed long before overlockers came into our sewing spaces. The finished look resembles a serger-rolled edge but is much more delicate. It’s great for lightweight and some medium-weight fabrics. Use it for blouse hems, christening gowns and napkin edges.

finished edge

Place the cut edge of a single layer of fabric right side up between the center and the right toe of the foot. Select a zigzag stitch and adjust the settings: W=3 mm and L=0.3-0.5 mm. Start stitching and the needle goes into the fabric on the left and into the air on the right, rolling the edge as you sew.

Foot 3C in action


Shirring is a type of gathering technique that involves multiple rows of stitching that creates great fullness and texture on fabric. The technique shown here uses Foot #3/3C and elastic thread to gather the fabric. It can be used for dress bodices, tops, cuffs/sleeve finish, and expandable yokes at the waistline of shirts and pants.elastic shirring

Shirring with Foot #3/3C uses a length of elastic thread twice as long as the fabric. Fold it in half and slip it onto the middle toe if the foot and place one thread in each groove on the sole. Select the Gathering Stitch (#12 on current BERNINA machines) and adjust the width to stitch to sew over the elastic thread without stitching into it. The length should be set between 1.5mm-2mm. Place the fabric wrong side up and stitch multiple rows across the fabric, using the presser foot for spacing. As you add rows of stitching, hold the fabric in front and behind the needle, flattening it out so you can stitch across it.

The fabric gathers as you sew. To get fuller/tighter gathers after stitching, pull the elastic thread tails until the gathers are to your liking. The photo below shows the wrong side of the fabric where the elastic is stitched.

wrong side of the shirred fabric

Double Couching

The two grooves on the sole of Foot #3/3C are perfect for couching two cords at once. Each cord fits into one groove and should be able to move easily under the foot as you sew. Use a side-to-side stitch such as zigzag or feather stitch (shown in the photo). Set the width as wide as the side-by-side cords. Adjust the length as desired: shorter to see more of the thread/stitch and longer to see more of the cord/yarn.

couching two yarns at once

For more information about BERNINA presser feet and the techniques you can do with them, see The Big Book of Feet at your local BERNINA Dealer.

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