What is a Semi Automatic Buttonhole in a Sewing Machine?

Last Updated on October 19, 2022

Semi Automatic Buttonhole: Those who used to sew clothes face problems in processing the fastener. The button closure is most popular now, but here the main difficulty begins with the marking of buttonholes. In this case, you should use one of the two functions of the sewing machine: “automatic buttonhole” and “semi-automatic.”

What is a Semi Automatic Buttonhole in a Sewing Machine?

Semi Automatic Buttonhole

So, while sewing any item of clothing, one of the most challenging tasks is to sweep button holes, the appearance of which is influenced by many factors, among them:

  • Stitch Density
  • Symmetry
  • Sweeping Width
  • Quality of fixing and cutting through

Nevertheless, now it is not difficult to make a buttonhole. Some buttonhole sewing machines have the function of “hole-automatic,” and some – are “semi-automatic.”

“Automatic” allows you to make the desired stitch without particular difficulties. So, you need to insert the button behind the foot of the sewing machine

After that, pull the reverse lever; if you forget to do this, you will have to turn off the sewing machine and dissolve the already made holes, spoiling the fabric. 

The next step is to place the needle at the hole’s beginning and press the pedal. The line size is calculated automatically during tagging.

When choosing a sewing machine, you should pay attention to the foot. The attachment should be strong so that during operation, it does not shift and does not quickly become unusable. 

The material used is metal, plastic, or other materials. It often doesn’t play a big role. Buying a spare foot is difficult: the height or other parameter is often unsuitable.

The situation is different with the “semi-automatic.” To mark the button, you will have to go through several stages:

  1. Put a foot to mark the buttons.
  2. Place the needle in the place where the hole will start.
  3. Enable the “Semi-automatic – mode 1” setting.
  4. Press the pedal, and the machine will make the first stitch.
  5. Go through the other three settings.

When changing the settings, the user performs different actions: 

First, stitch forward to secure at one end of the hole. Then stitch back to secure at the other end. 

Before doing this, you should take measurements, marking the fabric’s beginning and end of the buttonhole. All these actions are performed by a sewing machine with the “automatic” function at one time independently.

Can I Use Regular Chalk Instead of Tailor’s Chalk?

Read the answer.

As you can see, sweeping with a “semi-automatic” is difficult; you need to switch four different modes. However, it is pretty rare to do this. In addition, this allows you to control the stitch density, which is almost impossible in automatic mode.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Automatic Button Hole Performance Mode

The advantage of automatic mode is the speed and ease of hole performance. However, not everything is so simple. If you look closely at what you have done, you can easily see that the machine has unevenly applied the stitches on different sides of the button. 

This is a problem with any sewing machine, except for those sewing machine are computerized and embroidery machines. This phenomenon is because the speed of the sewing machine moving the fabric back is less than the speed with which it does it forward. 

Other reasons involved in this are the foot’s condition, the fabric’s quality, its thickness, etc.

Sewing machines, in most cases, are equipped with a reverse stitch regulator (1). With its help, it is possible to equalize the difference in the speed of the machine forward and backward. It may seem that such precision is unnecessary, but sometimes it can ruin the whole look of clothing. 

Therefore, when buying, it is advisable to pay attention to whether this regulator is included in the configuration or not. The ideal option is to try out the machine by making one loop.

Automatic vs Semi-automatic Buttonhole – Which is Better?

So, if you have to make many button loops, buying a sewing machine with an “automatic” makes sense, but it is worth remembering that such a device will cost much more. 

In most cases, you only need to make such a loop once or twice a month, so the “semi-automatic” is a good choice, given the price.

#TSS Team

You can achieve a better result only with electronic machines that make up to 10 types of such holes, for example, with a peephole or rounded edges. In addition, it is possible to enter the necessary loop characteristics into the computer, and the machine will do them with incredible speed.

The best result, according to professionals, can be achieved with the help of a loop machine, which independently cuts the hole while not touching the stitches. 

#TSS Team

So, as an option, they sometimes offer to buy such a device and a regular sewing machine. It will cost about the same as an electronic sewing machine. Another option is to sweep in the sewing project using a piece of good fabric.


Ultimately, it all comes down to the fact that the choice of the desired machine depends on the buyer’s needs. If he needs to make a lot of such loops: more than 20-30 per day and of good quality, then it is advisable to buy a machine with an “automatic.” Otherwise, “semi-automatic” will be the best choice. You can save a lot of money.


  1. Feed reverse and stitch regulating attachment for sewing machines – (Google Patents)

Ask any Question Here!