How to Make Buttonholes on a Sewing Machine: (3 Ways)

Last Updated on February 13, 2023

How to make buttonholes on a sewing machine for beginners: When sewing a product, it is sometimes necessary to make buttonholes. You can do this manually, but high-quality and neat loops are obtained only on a beginner sewing machine.

make buttonholes on a sewing machine

In addition, a lot of time is saved, and the finished thing, as a result, will look neat and have a presentable appearance. There are 3 ways to sew buttonholes on a sewing machine.

How to Make a Buttonhole on a Sewing Machine? 3 Ways

Depending on the technical capabilities, and the class of the machine, the process of making loops can be carried out in the following modes :

Make Buttonholes on a Sewing Machine
  1. Automatic – it is performed by modern models of sewing machines. Such a model completely performs the process of making a buttonhole by itself and makes the necessary switching and bartacking.
  2. Semi-automatic – similar to the automatic method, but you will have to enable and switch each operation manually in this case. The advantage is that the whole process can be controlled and stopped at any stage to correct all the shortcomings.
  3. Manual – for this method, it is enough that the machine sews with a zigzag stitch. The foot is used ordinary, so marking the loops on the fabric is necessary. All switching, settings, and adjustments are made manually, so the process is quite laborious. In manual mode, the loops are embroidered by machines of the brand, Veritas, as well as budget options for modern sewing machines.

1. How to Make Loops in Automatic Mode?

First, you must install a special foot with which balayage will be performed. Place a button in the foot, and pull down the drive switch lever. It is located in the area of ​​the front cover at the top. If the button has a leg, it should be replaced with a flat one with the same diameter.

Make Buttonholes on a Sewing Machine

Putting the fabric under the foot, you must press the foot on the machine’s pedal. It will automatically bait the buttonhole and complete all bartacks. At the end of the work, the machine will stop itself.

2. How to Sew in Semi-automatic Mode?

First, you need to insert a special foot into the machine, with which a loop is swept out. The process will be carried out in four stages:

Make Buttonholes on a Sewing Machine
  • Set the first buttonhole operation on the lever and sew a fine zigzag stitch forward. After that, stop the sewing machine, and raise the needle.
  • Switch the lever to the second mode to make a cross bartack. Dip the needle into the fabric and sew a few stitches.
  • Set the third embroidery position with the regulator. Sew a zigzag stitch in reverse, parallel to the first stitch. Stop the machine and remove the needle from the fabric.
  • Turn the lever to the fourth operation mark and complete the buttonhole by performing a cross bartack.

3. In Manual Mode

For sewing a buttonhole manually, the machine must have the function of sewing a zigzag stitch. All operations are performed with a regular foot. First, mark the length of the loop on the fabric with chalk or a piece of soap, or make basting with contrasting threads.

Make Buttonholes on a Sewing Machine
  • The zigzag stitch is manually adjusted.
  • The stitch length should be 0.5 – 1 mm.
  • The step width between stitches is 0.2 cm for the sides of the buttonhole and 0.5 cm for the bartack.
  • The bartack should be sewn with a stitch frequency of 0. You should set the thread tension to 1–5.

Buttonhole buttonholes are sewn manually in several stages:

  1. Thread the needle with a threader of the appropriate color. Insert it into the fabric at the beginning of the intended buttonhole.
  2. Lower the presser foot and sew four stitches of back-tacking with a zigzag stitch.
  3. Raise the needle and reduce the width and length of the zigzag.
  4. Sew one side forward to the border mark.
  5. Pull the needle out of the fabric.
  6. Increase the stitch length and decrease the stride width using the manual controls.
  7. Sew five stitches in a zigzag stitch to form a bartack.
  8. Raise the presser foot and without removing the needle, unfold the fabric.
  9. Adjust the pitch and size of the stitches by decreasing them.
  10. Zigzag stitch the second side of the buttonhole.

Finally, remove the fabric from under the foot and use a special ripper to make a slot in the finished loop. As a limiter, you can use pins by sticking them into the edges. It will help you cut the button neatly and to size without damaging the stitching threads.

Important! Before sewing buttonholes on a product, you should practice on a similar piece of fabric, having completed the machine settings previously.

Can Modern Sewing Machines Sew Buttonholes?

Yes, all most every modern sewing machine can sew buttonholes. Modern sewing machines usually have a buttonhole foot that holds the button and fits into the hole properly. In addition, a modern sewing machine’s buttonhole foot can make multiple holes and maintain the same size for each buttonhole. 

What Kind of Stitch is Used for Buttonholes?

In addition to its more common names, the buttonhole stitch is sometimes called the button stitch and the close stitch. When using a sewing machine to construct a buttonhole, it is common practice to use two parallel rows of stitching in a small zigzag stitch and then complete the ends with a wider zigzag stitch.

How Do You Cut a Buttonhole?

Buttonholes can be cut using buttonhole scissors or buttonhole cutters. With their help, you may cut the buttonholes without worrying about the stitches. To ensure that each buttonhole is the same length, most pairs of buttonhole scissors have an adjustment screw.

Why Won’t My Sewing Machine Sew a Buttonhole?

The absence of a buttonhole foot can be a reason for the inability to sew the buttonhole on your sewing machine. Quite a few older sewing machines lack this feature. If so, then you’ll need to use a manual presser foot to create the buttonhole.

Sewing Machine Sew a Buttonhole

However, a modern sewing machine will likely have an automatic buttonhole function. The buttonhole foot is longer and wider than any other presser feet that come with standard sewing machines. Due to its greater size, you may face the challenge of stitching a buttonhole in the buttonhole foot while keeping it perfectly flat.

In addition, over time, debris accumulates in our sewing machine’s needle plate, which can also create difficulties in sewing buttonholes. In this case, examine the buttonhole foot plate and ensure the machine’s buttonhole lever is all set. 

Making a Buttonhole on a Sewing Machine – Reliably and Accurately

Buttonholes on a sewing machine can be sewn automatically, semi-automatically, and manually. The choice of mode depends on the technical capabilities of the machine. 

Modern, more expensive models can baste buttonholes automatically, but this method is unsuitable for beginners, requiring some experience and skill. 

In manual mode, loops are performed on budget models of sewing machines, but this method is very laborious and inconvenient. Optimal for beginners will be a semi-automatic method for making a loop.


It is not impossible to perform a neat welt loop by hand. It is more convenient and easier to use a sewing machine, provided that there is an appropriate function in its settings, and a buttonhole foot .

Today, all modern models are equipped with this option, therefore, with a little practice, you can perform neat buttonholes on fabrics of different thicknesses and densities. It is better to start mastering the skill on dense material.

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