In Sewing

The Cursed Auto Buttonholer

If you would have asked me last week how I felt about the automatic buttonhole setting for modern sewing machines, I would have said they’re a modern marvel, a real time saver, and a blessing for seamstresses everywhere. If you ask me right now how I feel about them, I will tell you I hope they burn slowly in a fiery purgatory along with all the other sewing related things that have wronged me over the years. (Say hi to my first four sloper muslins, Butterick B5708, and the Colette Peony for me, Mr. Buttonhole Foot.)


So with that said, allow me to share with you a mostly finished, but still seriously unfinished, sewing project (complete with cat hair).


Did I mention it was 25 degrees outside when Wil and I took these photos? The lighting in my sewing room was crap so I was forced to try and get some shots outside in the frigid air. And honestly, freezing outside sounded more appealing than ripping out three buttonholes and then attempting six by hand. I’ve never had a problem with the auto buttonholes on my sewing machine so I have no idea why it decided to just stop working. Maybe it was divine intervention from the Vintage Sewing Gods telling me I need to start doing them by hand and stop being such a baby about it. The WWII woman does not fear buttonholes!


Here you can see where all was well initially until the stitches just conked out and stopped looping correctly. After this happened three times, I gave up trying and decided to rip them out. Yes this twill fabric is a little thicker, but I’ve sewn buttonholes through this exact fabric (and thicker) with no problems in the past.


(This is my “I hate buttonholes right now” face.)

I considered foregoing the side buttons all together and using those heavy duty hook closures instead, but the buttons would look so cute! Tasha has a great tutorial for hand-worked buttonholes that I really need to sit down and work through so I can finish this jumper!


Other than the buttonhole fiasco, this 1943 DuBarry Jumper came together easily and is one of my favorite sewing projects! I especially like the skirt so I’ll definitely be sharing more photos as soon as I get brave and tackle that button closure!


Lucille says “Don’t be sad, Mom. Step away from the sewing machine and come pet me instead.”

I’d love to make this jumper a second time in some nice wool fabric, but again, those buttonholes are kind of ruining it for me right now. I could really use a break from any garment sewing with buttons, which is too bad because my next sewing project in queue has a whole lot of them haha! I’m foreseeing an Archer with snaps…

What’s your stance on automatic machine-made buttonholes?