I often steer clear of fastenings on my patterns as I know they can scare people. But I was working on this pattern hack for my very popular Cocoon Jacket realised how easy it would be, with the addition of a few buttons, to turn it into a super cosy coat. I found some gorgeous oversize buttons at Fabworks Mill Shop which looked so perfect with the polar bear fabric I had that I just couldn’t resist.
My Bernina is relatively new and this is the first time I have used the automatic buttonhole function on it. If you feel a bit nervous about tackling button holes, don’t let that put you off. This is a great function that allows to make perfect, evenly sized button holes that fit your buttons beautifully. If you have an automatic buttonhole function and foot on your machine that remains untouched, now is the time to get it out. It is unbelievably easy to use and has spectacular results. My machine is a Bernina 350 which come with the buttonhole foot 3A.
Here are my tips for first-time buttonholers:
First of all, make sure you do a test buttonhole (do not start straight on to your beautiful new garment.) Your test needs to be on a similar weight fabric to your garment.
Start by threading your bobbin cotton through the finger in the bobbin case.
Measure the buttons you are going to use and add 2mm, then mark this on the buttonhole measure on your foot with the red slider. So if your button is 20mm, you set your slider to 22mm. If your buttons are very thick then just add a bit extra, maybe another millimetre or two.
Set your machine to the buttonhole function and sew in a straight line until the red line of the moving part is level with the pointer. Stop sewing and press the reverse button. This brings up “auto” on the screen which means that the length of the buttonhole is now programmed into your machine.
Now just put your foot down and start sewing. Stop when the button hole is finished – you will know when this is because the machine itself stops. Now’s the time to test the button fits through the hole and make any adjustments needed.
Buttons for women go on the left of the garment and buttonholes on the right. Mark with a ruler and tailors chalk where you want your buttonholes to go.
I couldn’t believe it when I found out that there is actually also a button sewing function as well – perfect for lazy sewists like me! (Use foot 1 or 18 and select the button sew on programme). I didn’t find out until after I had spent hours sewing mine on by hand!
If you need more support I have found this video tutorial on Youtube from Bernina that talks you through it step by step. I can’t believe how easy it is and will be buttoning every single garment I make from now on!
For more information about the furry funnel neck coat that I am making, have a look at the post on my own blog, Sew Different, which talks you through the pattern hack and tells you about the fabric I have used.
Stay warm, keep sewing and have a great Christmas!