what about buttonholers?

The newest video is all about buttonholers. Indeed...

These things are around, you've read about them, maybe you own one already. Do you know the differences between the two types, what, there's more than one? I've read quite a bit about these attachments but I've yet to see a video comparison and an exploration of the features of each. If a picture is worth a 1000 words than a video is worth it's weight in gold.... right, yes....

I could have talked much longer about these attachments and gone through more samples using each one. Consider this an introduction, if it leaves questions unanswered than by all means let me know and I will consider another twenty minutes of buttonholer exploration. I don't want to bore everyone but I also don't want to leave important bits out.

Part 1

Part 2

18 comments :: what about buttonholers?

  1. VERY interesting. I have a Singer and a Greist also. I can't put the Singer on my Viking because, like you pointed out, the lever hits the top of the attachment and it can't go down all the way. My Necchi and Greist buttonholer work really well together. I also have an old Pfaff and I'm hoping the Singer will fit that one so I can experiment with it. One of my friends is using it right now. My Singer is different than yours though. I wonder if it isn't a Greist branded as a Singer because the template opening is at the bottom. It is the same shape as the Greist and has the same adjustment knobs as the Greist and is not like your Singer attachment. Hmmmmm, I'll have to investigate that. Thanks for the video!!!

  2. Hey Dawn,
    One sure fire way to know what's what is if you need to use your buttonholer with your machine set for zigzag or straight stitch. If it's zigzag it's the newer Singer, straight stitch then it's got Greist innards regardless of what it's branded. My high shank Kenmore holer won't fit my high shank Necchi Supernova. Nancy ordered the low shank zigzag singer off ebay and it won't fit her low shank Viking. Now she's on the search for a low shank machine just to fit her buttonholer. Sometimes if I'm working on more then a few button down shirts I'll pull out an old Kenmore and leave the attachment on it so I have the convenience of a dedicated buttonhole station.

  3. Could the part name you were looking for be "needle bar"? I love moments like that - makes it so much more real. Thanks for another great video Brian!
    (P.S. I didn't say it earlier, but I do kind of miss the rack of clothes behind you)

  4. I can edit out little flounders like that but it ends up being rather sterile. I agree, more real is better. Oh the fabric wall.... I will the next filming with the wall-o-fabric and see how it looks. You're now the second request after all!

    Nancy is very excited about Tuesday's filming at our sewing circle. Since I'm leaving town Thursday I HAVE to get the footage edited and uploaded by Wednesday night!

  5. This was very timely for me--I got up this morning with the intention of tackling the buttonholes on my wool jersey cardigan. Scary. Ripping out buttonhole stitches would be no fun on that fabric. I will be testing my one functioning buttonholer (made by Greist) on my Singer 128 vibrating shuttle handcrank. I bought a Kenmore for my Necchi BU, but I can't seem to get it to attach firmly to the needlebar.

  6. My "Singer" must be a Greist then. It works exactly the same way and looks the same except for the color. The templates are all the same size and can be used in either attachment. The only difference is that one is a high shank and one is low.

  7. I recently got both buttonholers on ebay. I was excited about all the templates the singer came with, but disappointed at the non-satin stitch it forms. Mine also leaves larger spaces when it does the reverse stitching. I feel like I've been hoodwinked! I definitely am glad I'm not the only one this happened to though. So do you actually use that one? If so, how do you get it to create a good buttonhole?

  8. Thanks a lot! I have seen these buttonholer attachments in pictures but never "live" and I had been wondering how those gadgets worked. Great overview.

  9. Brian, I posted on my results with the buttonholers: http://asewinglife.blogspot.com/2009/09/director-of-buttonhole-operations.html

    The thing I'd love to know is how to measure a buttonholer to tell if it is low, slant or high shank. Lots of the sellers of vintage buttonholers on eBay don't know which shank their item accommodates, and the manual or box doesn't seem to say. Thanks again!

  10. I'm so glad I did this video! Sew Shy, I'm actually glad to hear you've had the same experience with your zigzag Singer and the non-satin stitch issue. Didn't they test this thing out before they manufactured it? Another issue I have is the little finger that holds the fabric down as the needle comes up comes up WITH the needle making it's function worthless. On the Greist the finger holds the fabric down as the needle withdraws. If the fabric pulls up with the needle then it's likely you'll get skipped stitches.

    To get the Zigzag holer to make a decent hole I go around at least twice, I may slightly shift the fabric on the second go around, and experiment with layering wider/narrow zigzag stitches. Also open up your attachment and look for that adjustment screw, yours might be adjusted for thick fabric which elongates the stitch on thin projects.. I specifically got the zigzag holer for jeans waistbands. If I'm doing shirts or lightweight materials the Greist is the best option.

    As far as knowing shank style for an attachment, that's tricky. If an ebay sell doesn't know and it's not listed on the box a good photo is your best bet. Unfortunately most ebay sellers don't have detailed enough photos of the attachments.

  11. I'll try your suggestions Brian. Thanks - you're awesome!

  12. Interesting video (although geeky, but that says as much about me as you :).

    The cloth backdrop and weak lighting gives the whole thing a terrorist video flavor. The tank top adds to the mix.

  13. Gosh this cloth backdrop is really getting a lot of attention! I'll think about some backdrop changes. Yes lighting.... I have noticed I like my videos to have a certain feel, especially with the particular camera I'm using. I can certainly make them brighter but then lighter areas in the frame get blown out. I'd rather have more contrast and detail then washed out with hot spots on my forehead and arms.

    In the newest video with Nancy I noticed that the light on the wall is quite noticeable. I like it a lot! No it's not the perfect video lighting you see on professional productions but it IS perfectly interesting!

    Either way I love comments that make me think, thank you.

    The Buttonholer Terrorist

    September 24, 2009 at 11:02 AM

  14. Also, if you've read down far enough to read this.... You too are a sewing GEEK!

    Stand proud, you're in good company.

  15. AHhahah! You're too funny. :-)

  16. My buttonholer for my slant shank 403 was doing great and then I had to change the bobbin, now the buttonhole is being stitched but not making that nice zigzag stitch...I don't know what happened...I had very nice buttonholes here

  17. Those are awesome videos! I have both the Greist ( for zig zag machines ) and the Singer Professional but haven't used them. The buttonholer I do use is a Kenmore one which has to be used with a special throat plate. The benefit to that is that the buttonholer is not driven by the needle bar, so it thicker fabrics should not be as much of an issue. I'm looking forward to exploring the rest of your blog!

  18. Great videos Brian! I just got a White (Greist) buttonholer from my grandmother. It used to belong to my great grandmother and hasn't been used since she had it. It probably hasn't even been used since the 70's at least... maybe longer. Thanks for the videos on how they work. Now I just need to figure out what type of machine it fits on.

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